Welcome back to Wildcard Wednesdays, folks. As I discussed last hump day, for the next six weeks I’ll be looking at the teams with the inside track on earning Open wildcard births for their regions under the new 2012 in-season strength wildcards. If you missed last week, click here for the explanation of the new formula and process.
As of this article going to print, the USAU Top-25 Rankings, upon which bids will be based, have just been released. The rankings reature only 41 teams who have completed at least five sanctioned games. After this weekend’s tournaments we should have better rankings next week upon which to base analysis. For now I’ll use the information we do know about the teams and sanctioned tournaments that have been played so far.
After this weekend’s Emerald City Classic, this picture will begin to clear up. For now I’ll let you know who’s in the mix, what they’ve done so far, and what they have coming up. Enjoy.
Highest Ranked Teams in each Region*- Madcow (GL), Truck Stop (MA), Ironside (NE), Madison Club (NC), Sockeye (NW), Johnny Bravo (SC), Chain Lightning (SE), Revolver (SW)
Sanctioned Tournaments this Weekend:
Emerald City Classic– Voodoo, Truck Stop, Sockeye, Rhino, Revolver, PoNY, Furious George, Ironside, GOAT, Sub Zero, Machine, Doublewide
Machine- Chicago is playing in their first sanctioned action at ECC this weekend, where they’ll see potential wildcard foes GOAT, PoNY, Rhino, Voodoo and Furious. They’ll also attend Heavyweights and Labor Day.
Southpaw- No sanctioned games yet forPhiladelphia, who are scheduled to play Chesapeake Invite and Labor Day.
Oakland- Pittsburgh has no sanctioned games, though did just play in New York Invite where they lost to PoNY. They’ll be at Chesapeake Invite and will likely need a few other sanctioned games to reach the required ten.
GOAT- Toronto played the US Open unsanctioned, so ECC will be their first ranked action. They’ll see Machine, Furious, Voodoo and Rhino among others. GOAT is also attending Chesapeake Invite.
PoNY-New York had a few sanctioned wins from Boston Invite, but ECC will be their first real action. They face Machine, Rhino, Voodoo and Furious and will play at Chesapeake.
Sub Zero- The snowmen are in their first sanctioned tournament at ECC where they’ll play Voodoo, Furious and Rhino as well as Truck Stop, Sockeye and Doublewide. Sub will be at Chesapeake too.
Prairie Fire- Kansas City has a 4-1 record in sanctioned games from Colorado Cup with the one loss to Madison Club. They’ll attend Heavyweights to round out their ten games.
Furious George- ECC is the first sanctioned games for Vancouver who plays GOAT, Sub Zero and PoNY. Furious, who like Revolver is attempting the Worlds double peak, will also play at Labor Day.
Rhino- The rumor mill has Chase Sparling-Beckley playing in Portland this season. He’s currently coaching at the Junior Worlds training camp, but we’ll get a look at Rhino at ECC where they play GOAT, Machine and Sub Zero. Rhino has no sanctioned games yet, but they will be at Labor Day as well.
Voodoo- Seattle’s other team may be at a disadvantage in the rankings. After they play in ECC against GOAT, PoNY, Machine and Sub Zero, they’ll attend Heavyweights instead of Labor Day or Chesapeake. Losing the opportunity to play and potentially beat highly ranked teams could prove costly to the NW when the final rankings come out.
Doublewide-Texas was not a sanctioned team at the US Open, so those results won’t affect their ranking. At ECC they’ll get shots at Revolver and Ironside, as well as games against Sub Zero, PoNY, Sockeye and Voodoo. Doublewide will also play at Labor Day.
Ring of Fire-North Carolina’s sanctioned results from the U.S. Open have them at 2-3, but those loses were to Chain (twice) and Bravo, both currently in the top five of RRI. The win over Truck Stop will help boost their ranking. Ring will attend Chesapeake Invite and Labor Day.
Cash Crop- The other North Carolina team already has a 10-1 record in sanctioned games including an undefeated Chesapeake Open that earned them a trip to the Invite. A few more wins in Poolsville could see them highly ranked.
Tanasi- Unlike Crop, Tanasi already had their ticket to the Invite punched. Their sanctioned Terminus results however leave something to be desired. They were 2-3 with the loses to Chain (twice) and Truck Stop all by five or more points. These spreads will matter in the rankings. They’ll have to improve at Chesapeake.
Boost Mobile- The Bay Area crew is 5-0 with their SoCal Slammer win. They’ll play at Chesapeake and Labor Day the last two weekends of the regular season.
Condors- Santa Barbara has a 4-1 record in sanctioned games and will play at the Chesapeake Invite. Their only loss is to Boost Mobile.
Streetgang- San Diego is 5-5 after so-so performances at SoCal Slammer and Colorado Cup. Their win over Madison Club is good, but they’ll need more big wins at Chesapeake Invite to have any shot at earning a wildcard.
*Based on RRI and educated guess of sanctioned results. Highest ranked teams in each region do not factor into the wildcard discussion.