- Johnny Bravo
- Chain Lightning
- Ring of Fire
- Sub Zero
- Truck Stop
- Furious George
- Florida United
Tier 1: GOAT, Doublewide, Revolver, Johnny Bravo, Machine, Sockeye, Ironside
It says a lot about the club season when seven teams are included in the first tier. Any of these teams could make the semifinals and it wouldn’t qualify as a shock. Many have traded head to head wins, but one team has played the best Ultimate so far this season. After winning the Pro Flight Finale, GOAT followed it up with a strong performance at Northeast Regionals, taking down Ironside in the final 15-12. Add in a 6-1 performance at the Chesapeake invite, they look like the strongest team with the best resume heading into the Championships. Though GOAT is only ranked fourth by the USA Ultimate formula, that factors in Terminus, an early season tournament where GOAT was nowhere near full strength due to the AUDL season and Worlds approaching for the top players on the squad. Both Revolver and Doublewide have compelling cases to be the two seed, Revolver is ranked #1 by USA Ultimate, won the US Open, and went 4-2 at the Pro Flight Finale. But they fell in the quarterfinals to Doublewide, who didn’t have the best Saturday at the Pro Flight Finale, but followed it up with a finals run on Sunday. Doublewide is ranked 5th by USA Ultimate, dragged down by their poor performance with a partial roster at the US Open. Since then they’ve won Colorado Cup and finished 2nd at the Pro Flight Finale, along with taking Regionals over Johnny Bravo. Machine is in the midst of their best season in years. After only a so-so Terminus when many players were in the middle of the AUDL season playing for the Windy City Wildfire, Machine won Heavyweights and went 4-2 at the Pro Flight Finale, making the semifinals. There they beat Sockeye twice, and Chain Lightning. That earned them a #2 ranking from USA Ultimate, but Johnny Bravo has looked even better. While Bravo wasn’t eligible to play in the Pro Flight Finale, they beat Sockeye at the West Coast Cup, and traded wins with Doublewide at the Coloarado Cup. The only regular season games Bravo has lost since July have been to Revolver and Doublewide. Sockeye may have lost to Ironside badly at the Pro Flight Finale, but their performance this whole season has been greater. Other than the Ironside loss, they haven’t lost to a team ranked below them here since July. Meanwhile Ironside lost to Sub Zero twice at Chesapeake, and both Southeast Contenders Ring of Fire and Chain Lightning at the Pro Flight Finale. They had a good Saturday going 2-1, but in bracket play they went 0-3, finishing last. They’ve made the semifinals every year of their existence, so there’s a very good chance they break seed in Frisco, but their season hasn’t warranted a high seed.
Tier 2: PoNY, Chain Lightning, Ring of Fire, Sub Zero, Truck Stop
PoNY won Terminus back in July, and followed it up with 3rd place finishes at Colorado Cup and Chesapeake Invite. While they have the annoying habit of losing to Truck Stop, at Chesapeake they beat both Ring of Fire and Chain Lightning. They’re ranked#7 by USA Ultimate, but were unable to beat the #8 team, Ironside, at Regionals. Chain Lightning won the Southeast Region in thrilling fashion 16-15 over Ring of Fire, and have some other impressive wins this season as well. They beat GOAT on Saturday at the Pro Flight Finale, and Ironside on Sunday. But they only finished 7th, after finishing a disappointing 6th at Chesapeake. They’re an up and down team, but their loss to PoNY at Chesapeake makes it tough to put them any higher than ninth. Ring of Fire has to be seeded beneath Chain, so despite wins over GOAT and Ironside at the Pro Flight Finale, they fall to 10th. Only ranked #10 by USA Ultimate, they’ve had a disappointing season so far after their run to the semifinals last year in Sarasota. They didn’t beat any other semifinals teams at the US Open, and went 2-5 at Chesapeake, finishing eighth. The team that won that tournament is ranked right beneath them, Sub Zero. While Sub Zero had a great tournament at Chesapeake, beating PoNY, Truck Stop, and Ironside twice, they followed it up with a terrible performance at Heavyweights. There they not only lost to Machine, but also to Streetgang, Madison Club, and High Five. If they’d finished just second at Heavyweights they’d have a compelling case to be ranked as high as seventh, but as it is they fall to eleventh. Behind them is Truck Stop, who won Mid Atlantic Regionals fairly easily with their former foe Southpaw no longer in existence. They’ve only beat one Championship qualifying team since July, and lost to that team later in the tournament. That said, they’re still clearly a step above the next tier.
Tier 3: Furious George, Florida United, Madcow, Condors
Furious is extremely difficult to rank, though USAU has them all the way down at #31. . They went to Terminus with a skeleton squad, only beating Madison Club. They split a very strange four game series with Voodoo to reach the 10 game minimum required to compete in the series. But they soundly defeated Voodoo at Sectionals, 13-7 and 13-6. And at Regionals they beat a strong Rhino team twice as well, 15-12 and 15-11. Rhino finished ahead of Florida United, Madcow, and Condors at Colorado Cup. The final three teams are a puzzle as well, with Florida United (ranked #12 by USAU) having beat Madcow (#23), but lost to the Condors (#19), while Madcow beat the Condors. Given how much higher Florida United is in the USAU rankings, along with having defeated Voodoo twice in Colorado (Voodoo went 1-1 against the Condors with a positive point differential), they’ve earned a higher seed than the bottom two. Given that Madcow beat Condors in Colorado, and also defeated a strong High Five team to make it this far, they get placed ahead of Santa Barbara. The Condors have looked strong when playing in the friendly confines of California, but it remains to be seen if they can replicate that level of play out of state. If they do, they’ll certainly break seed in Frisco.
That would set up the following pools:
Pool A: GOAT, PoNY, Truck Stop, Furious George
Pool B: Doublewide, Ironside, Sub Zero, Florida United
Pool C: Revolver, Sockeye, Ringof Fire, Madcow
Pool D: Johnny Bravo, Machine, Chain Lightning, Condors
Feature photo by Christina Schmidt – UltiPhotos.com