Well, ladies and gentlemen, it all comes down to this. Labor Day in Santa Cruz this weekend is the last sanctioned tournament that can affect this year’s wildcard bids. By next week we’ll know exactly how many bids each Open region has to the Club Championships and we can start figuring out which teams are going to fit into those much desired dancing shoes.
Obviously Chesapeake and Heavyweights affected the rankings greatly from last week, the largest difference being that now all teams in contention have enough games to be ranked. That’s important because it shows us exactly what these teams need to earn or keep a bid within the final weekend. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ll be glued to a computer Saturday for Boost Mobile v. Furious George and Madison Club v. Southpaw.
Of the top nine teams, only top ranked Ironside won’t be in attendance at Labor Day. That means there’s lots of quality win points available for teams like Boost Mobile, Madcow or Madison Club if they can pull some upsets. Just ask GOAT how much difference a few big wins make.
Highest-ranked teams in each region (these are the teams that hold the place for their respective region’s automatic bid) –
1. Ironside (NE) 2. Johnny Bravo (SC) 3. Revolver (SW) 4. Rhino (NW) 5. Chain Lightning (SE) 6. Machine (GL) 12. Madison Club (NC) 14. Southpaw (MA)
Sanctioned Tournaments this Weekend:
Labor Day Ultimate Championships: Santa Cruz, CA – Johnny Bravo, Revolver, Chain Lightning, Machine, Ring of Fire, Rhino, Doublewide, Furious George, Sockeye, Southpaw, Boost Mobile, Madison Club, Madcow
Overall rank: Team, Region, Rankings Point Total
*7. Ring of Fire, SE 1621 – Between their semis showing at Chesapeake and the extreme unlikelyhood of Ring doing poorly enough at Labor Day to fall all the way out, I think its safe to say that North Carolina will guarantee the Southeast at least two bids. Ring gets another shot at Johnny Bravo, one of only three teams to beat them this season, on Saturday of Labor Day.
*8. Sockeye, NW 1616 – Seattle stays at number eight this week and is still firmly entrenched as a wildcard team. As long as they avoid getting blown out by Boost Mobile and/or Madcow on Saturday they should stay there. The pool play matchup with rival Furious George should be a fun one ahead of Northwest Regionals.
*9. Doublewide, SC 1594 – Every other team in Texas’s pool at Labor Day is currently leading their respective region and ranked in the top fourteen. That is to say, strength of schedule favors Doublewide’s Pool B. Only a complete meltdown would keep Texas from earning the South Central a second bid.
*10. GOAT, NE 1551 – What a difference a week and a win against Chain makes. Toronto went from life support to supporting their own cause. It is fairly unlikely that six teams will leapfrog GOAT after this weekend’s play, so they can probably begin looking forward to a likely game-to-go matchup with PoNY at regionals. When a team plays well in a big tournament, it is rewarded for its performance; This new system seems to be working quite well.
*11. Furious George, NW 1512 – Now things begin to get interesting. Furious has a chance to help their cause by playing well against second ranked Bravo or sixth ranked Machine. They could also hurt themselves with loses to Boost Mobile or Madcow, both of whom need wins to re-enter wildcard position. A solid performance by Vancouver should wrap up the third bid for the Northwest.
*13. Condors, SW 1470 – From a wildcard standpoint the Condors needed to beat PoNY last weekend, and they did. Playing Ironside tough (their nine points were as many as any other team scored on Boston at Chesapeake) also greatly helped their cause. Santa Barbara will watch the Labor Day results from home and hope to stay in wildcard position. It is likely that they will.
*15. Truck Stop, MA 1447 – You could certainly understand if Truck Stop is disappointed with their Chesapeake performance. The pool play loss to Madcow wasn’t in the plans, and Southpaw performed well enough to take the top spot in the Mid-Atlantic region, albeit by only one point. Despite those letdowns Truck did beat Southpaw head to head, and is currently in line to get the MA a second bid. There will be a lot of gentlemen in the greater DC area hitting refresh on their laptops this weekend.
*16. Sub Zero, NC 1442 – In the final wildcard position is Minnesota’s Sub Zero, who has a forty point lead on PoNY heading into the final weekend. If Sub holds onto this spot, they may very well have their 13-11 consolation win over Truck Stop to thank for the narrow margin– that, and their own 13-11 win over PoNY at ECC. Sub will watch Labor Day results from home and root against Boost and Madcow.
17. PoNY, NE 1402 – The rankings are still close enough that PoNY shouldn’t necessarily give up hope yet. Several factors, however, are working against NY. There are no teams attending Labor Day that PoNY has beaten this season, making it unlikely that they’ll get much of a bump based on someone’s performance in Santa Cruz. Also the three teams ahead of them are idle this week, meaning no one is going to play their way out of a spot.
19. Boost Mobile, SW 1375 – Let’s talk numbers. GOAT rose 160 points after their 5-2 weekend at Chesapeake in which they took down Chain and played Ironside close. Boost is only 67 points behind Sub for the final wildcard spot, so we know that it’s possible. What they’ll need is a close game against Bravo, and a few wins from the Ring, Machine, Sockeye and Furious games. They’ll likely see a good team from Pool B in Sunday crossover as well.
22. Madcow, GL 1294 – Madcow is the final team that can realistically play their way into a wildcard this weekend. It’ll take everything I just said Boost needs and then some however. Ohio has to make up 148 points on Sub Zero, which would be quite the weekend. Anything short of a semis appearance probably won’t be enough to push them over the threshold. Still, never say never.
*- Current wildcard regions.
If the season ended today bids would be:
GL – 1
SC – 2
SW – 2
NW – 3
NE – 2
SE – 2
MA – 2
NC – 2