Club Open Power Rankings

With the AUDL and MLU seasons both now over, players and spectators alike have turned  their attention to the club season. With the Triple Crown Tour in full effect this year, high level Club Tournaments started earlier this season. Already the US Open, Terminus, and Colorado Cup have helped shape the stage for the rest of the year. At this point, teams have played enough games that the USAU Rankings start to make more sense, and a hierarchy begins to take shape. Now that enough games have been played, it’s time to rank the Top 25 teams in the Open Division.

While my method of ranking teams is informed by numbers and game results, it’s also important to remember context. Context is how many players a team brought to a tournament, who was missing, how the team traditionally performs during the regular season, how they did last year at Nationals, among other factors. While factoring in context is subjective, and therefore flawed, when looking forward it is absolutely necessary. As with my past power rankings from the MLU and AUDL seasons, my rankings both project and reflect. The ultimate goal for every team is to either improve on or repeat past success in the Club Series, and ultimately that’s how we judge teams. Regular season performance or even winning the US Open don’t matter as much (no matter how much USA Ultimate tries to make it) except when factoring in strength bids. So my rankings are projecting end of season performance. But the best way to do that is to look at how they’re doing this year.

To do that I looked at the data most available and most important, wins and point differential against the best teams in the country. I looked at a teams performance against teams in the Select Flight (teams like High Five, Dark or Light, and HiP were added to this group), teams in the Elite Flight (a.k.a. made nationals last year), in the Pro Flight (made quarters or better last year), and the four teams that made the semifinals last year (Doublewide, Revolver, Ironside, Ring of Fire). With that, here’s the data for the top 25 teams.

(if you’re viewing in Firefox you may not be able to see the table)

1. Revolver

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Southwest: 1

Best win: 16-15 win over Ironside

Worst loss: 14-15 loss to Ironside

What would make the season a success?: Winning the championship.

Revolver has made the championship game each of the last four years, winning it all in 2010 & 2011. But with so many players departing this year, some began to question whether or not they would be able to stay at the top of the game. After winning the US Open Revolver proved they’re still the team to beat. Even without players like Bart Watson, Robbie Cahill, Mark Sherwood, Adam Simon, Martin Cochran, and Jonathan Levy, who helped bring those two championships to San Francisco, Revolver was able to beat a full strength Ironside team that had little roster turnover in the championship game. En route to the final they also beat last year’s champions in Doublewide (though Doublewide wasn’t at full strength for the Open) and a full strength Ring of Fire squad that was playing on its home turf. No team has a better point differential against 2012 National teams than Revolver, especially impressive since they have only played against the top finishers from last year. Clearly Revolver is still one of the top teams in the country. And with Martin Cochran rejoining the team they look poised for a strong finish. They’ll get their first look at Sockeye and Johnny Bravo this coming weekend at the West Coast Cup.

2. Ironside

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Northeast: 1

Best win: 15-14 win over Revolver

Worst loss: 15-16 to Revolver

What would make the season a success: Winning the championship.

More than ever the window seems to be wide open for Boston to take home the title this year. Last year they lost in the Semifinals to Doublewide, a team that isn’t returning many of the players that helped  win them the championship. Revolver lost a lot of its championship talent and its coach. Over the last four seasons Ironside is  4-4 against Revolver. They are 131-3 against everyone else. Ironside has two tournaments left before the series, the Chesapeake Invite and the Pro Flight Finale. At Chesapeake their main competition will be Chain Lightning, Ring of Fire, and GOAT, along with the surprising PoNY. Last year Chesapeake featured those same teams though, and no team came within three points of Ironside. One thing is almost certain though, Ironside will make the semifinals this year at the Club Championships. They have every year since they first came into being in 2008. No other team has made semis each of the past five seasons.

3. Doublewide

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South Central: 1

Best win: 15-12 win over Ring of Fire

Worst loss: 8-13 loss to Johnny Bravo

What would make the seasons a success: Winning the championship

Doublewide faces a difficult path to the championship, but for a defending champion accomplishing anything less would be a letdown. Yes, Doublewide did struggle with at the US Open, losing badly to Revolver and Ironside, dragging down their point differential against Elite Flight teams. But, they didn’t bring a full squad to the Open. They didn’t even bring a full squad to Colorado Cup, which they won without Kurt Gibson, Michael Natenberg, Jerrod Wolfe, Jake Anderson, and Kevin Richardson. They still managed to win the tournament, albeit in a weather shortened final over Johnny Bravo, 10-9.

Of course Doublewide isn’t the same championship team as last year. While losing Brodie has garnered the most headlines, truthfully Brodie didn’t get much playing time on Doublewide last year as he recovered from an injury. Losing players like Tim Gehret (Sockeye), Cole Sullivan and Chris Gibson (Florida United) hurts a lot more. In the championship against Revolver Tim Gehret was the only Doublewide handler other than Kurt Gibson that could be relied on to complete throws into the wind at a high clip. And Cole Sullivan was a big target for Doublewide handlers, that was also capable of ripping giant backhand hucks. To make up for these losses Doublewide recruited the top players from the back to back Pittsburgh College National Champion team, Alex Thorne and Tyler Degirolamo. They’ve made an impact right away, with those two and Kiran Thomas (an important 2012 addition that is staying on with the team) carrying the team at the US Open.

Much of this teams potential will be decided by Kurt Gibson’s health. They’re undoubtedly a quarterfinals team without him, and possibly even a semifinals team. But they can’t win the championship without him. Their championship window is still open. Whether or not they can get everybody on the same page in time remains to be seen.

4. Sockeye

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Northwest: 1

Best win: 13-8 win over GOAT

Worst loss: 8-13 loss to PoNY

What would make the season a success: Making Semifinals

Don’t look now but Sockeye hasn’t made the semifinals at Nationals since 2010. 2 years may not seem like a long time to go without making it that far in the series, but the last time Sockeye didn’t make semis in back to back years was 2000-2001. Usually the team that decides to release their roster before everyone else, this year Sockeye has gone in the opposite direction, keeping their roster a secret, at least as much as they can. We know they’re picking up Adam Simon, Tim Gehret, and Mario O’Brien. Any questions about Sockeye’s handlers should be answered by those additions. But, they’ve already suffered some injuries, with Matt Rehder and Seth Wiggins (who played with the Rainmakers) going down.

What’s surprising is how successful Sockeye was at Terminus, given that they only brought 14 players. Beating Machine, Truck Stop, and GOAT is no small task, especially with such a small turnout. No team has a better winning percentage against 2012 Nationals teams than Sockeye, though Chain Lightning is tied. Sockeye did lose to PoNY on their last Saturday game, by which point their legs were likely beginning to fail them. Still, for half the roster to go 5-1 against Elite Flight teams shows what this team is capable of. Like Revolver Sockeye has the West Coast Cup and the Pro Flight Finale left on its schedule. Sockeye should be able to take care of Bravo and Rhino this weekend, and their game against Revolver is the game to watch.

5. Chain Lightning

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Southeast: 1

Best game: 13-9 win over Johnny Bravo

Worst game: 12-13 loss to PoNY

What would make the season a success: Winning the Region, Making Semifinals at Nationals

Chain has only made it to the finals once, when they won it all back in 2009. Chain is losing Nick Lance, Robert Runner, and Sam CK this year, but they’ve dealt with a lot of additions and subtractions over the years. This year Chain had a successful Terminus in their backyard, though they ended up losing in the final to PoNY, 12-13.

Chain made quarterfinals last season and gave Ironside a serious run for their money, eventually losing 13-15. Chain has made quarterfinals each of the last seven seasons, and will almost surely be back in the quarters again this year. Getting to the next step is the challenge for this season.

They’ve got Chesapeake and the Pro Flight Finale left. They haven’t faced Ring of Fire yet this season, but their Regional rival will be at both of those tournaments as well. Chain-Ring will be the game to watch should they face off, since the two teams look to be very evenly matched this year.

6. Ring of Fire

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Southeast: 2

Best win: 13-14 loss to Ironside (ok, it’s a loss, but still)

Worst loss: 12-15 loss to a shorthanded Doublewide

What would make the season a success: Winning the Region, Making semifinals at Nationals

Last year Ring of Fire played Sockeye in the quarterfinals. While most teams wouldn’t be thrilled to see Sockeye in that scenario, I’m sure that Ring was just relieved that it wasn’t facing Ironside. From 2008-2010, RIng of Fire played Ironside in the quarterfinals, and every year they lost. In 2011 they fell to Chain, before finally breaking through last year. It was their first semifinal appearance since 2003. Ring has always prided itself on being a “faceless army” type team, and though they’re bringing in some talent from UNC Darkside this year that isn’t changing.

Ring does have the worst point differential against Nationals teams among the top 11, but that’s because so far they have only faced the top three teams. With largely the same team as last year, repeating last seasons success would be a major accomplishment. Ring already showed they may be capable of even more, when they nearly upset Ironside in the semifinals of the US Open, losing 13-14. Making the finals of Chesapeake would show they’re on target to repeat last years success.

7. Johnny Bravo

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South Central: 2

Biggest game: 13-8 over Doublewide

Worst game: 11-13 to Boost Mobile

What would make the season a success: Making semifinals

Johnny Bravo is a team that has frequently had to deal with high expectations. Last season provides a great example of this. They only had three losses coming into Nationals, two of them to Sockeye. They were the fifth overall seed. They made it to the power pools, only to lose to Revolver and Ring of Fire, placing them in the pre-quarters, where they lost to Chain Lightning. This year they’ve added some big names, with Bart Watson (Revolver), Nick Lance (Chain Lightning) Eric Johnson (Sub Zero) and Matty Zemel (Sockeye) stepping into the fold.

They’ve gotten off to a solid, though not spectacular start this season. After last season’s first two undefeated tournaments translated to a pre-quarters loss, they’re undoubtedly aware that early season success is not as important as peaking at the right time. While their 13-8, 9-10 split with Doublewide at Colorado Cup is a big step in the right direction, especially given the 9-10 loss was stopped early on account of weather, it’s also important to remember this was a home tournament for Bravo. Last season they were 18-0 in Colorado, and 14-9 outside of Colorado. Bravo hasn’t made quarters since 2009 and hasn’t made semis since 2008.  If they can beat Sockeye or Revolver at the West Coast Cup this weekend, it will show that Bravo is headed in the right direction with a good shot at making the semifinals. Unlike each team ranked ahead of them Bravo is not in the Pro Flight, so after the West Coast Cup they won’t get another shot at Revolver or Sockeye til Nationals.

8. GOAT

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Northeast: 2

Best win: 13-8 over Truck Stop

Worst loss: 8-13 to PoNY

What would make the season a success: Making quarterfinals

One might question why GOAT is ranked ahead of PoNY, a team they lost to by five. But, these rankings are not only reflective but also projective. If PoNY finishes ahead of GOAT in the series I’d be surprised. Plus, GOAT beat Truck Stop by 5. Truck Stop is 2-1 against PoNY, with the one loss being weather abbreviated.

After making quarterfinals the last two season, both times losing to Doublewide, one might think taking the next step would be the obvious way to make the season a success for Toronto. But with the teams ahead of them shooting for the semis, and several teams behind them looking to the quarters, not every team is going home happy. And in some ways Toronto has to already be happy with the season they’ve had. GOAT players primarily composed the AUDL Toronto Rush team that went undefeated in the regular season, then took home the championship with a 16-14 win over Madison. Many teams (Revolver, Ironside, Sockeye, Madison Club, Rhino, Furious George, Truck Stop) are dealing with coming off a pro season, but only Boston could rival Toronto’s success. And Ironside did have many players on that Whitecaps team, but none of their captains. Getting back to quarters would be a good way to extend the success GOAT has had lately.

9. Truck Stop

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Mid-Atlantic: 2

Best win: 13-9 over PoNY

Worst Loss: 8-13 loss to GOAT

What would make the season a success: Making quarterfinals

Truck lost an abbreviated game to PoNY at Colorado Cup, after beating them earlier in the tournament. No team likes to face the same team twice in a tournament, since it’s exceptionally hard to beat an evenly matched team twice in the same weekend. While there was originally some talk of a large contingent of former Southpaw players commuting to practice to play with Truck, the only ex Southpaw players DC picked up were Ryan Thompson, Trey Katzenbach, and Ben Fang. Truck is also adding 2012 NexGen and German National team player Phillip Haas to the roster. Those are all solid additions, but if Truck hopes to make it back to quarters they’re going to have to improve from within.

Sitting at #9 puts them right on the cusp of that goal, and so far this season they actually have a better record and point differential than GOAT, the team sitting just ahead of them. Chesapeake is the last tournament on their schedule, making semifinals there would be a good sign that Truck can make quarters at the Championships this year. One good piece of news this year is that with the dissolution of Southpaw, and an exodus of Oakland’s best players to Doublewide, Truck Stop shouldn’t have to go through the kind of gauntlet it usually does to make it to Nationals.

10. PoNY

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Northeast: 3

Best win: 13-8 over Sockeye

Worst loss: 9-13 to Truck Stop

What would make the season a success: Making quarterfinals

PoNY got off to a very hot start by winning Terminus, only dropping one game to Truck Stop along the way. They had a couple close calls at Colorado Cup, winning 13-11 over Florida United and only 13-12 over a struggling Madison Club team. Combine that with another loss to Truck Stop and a loss to Doublewide and their second tournament wasn’t nearly the tournament their first was. However, like all the teams above them they’ve certainly done enough to earn a strength bid for their region.

PoNY is doing what it can to make certain this year at Nationals goes better than last year, when they finished 0-7. Don’t expect a repeat performance this time.

11. Machine

Machine_Twitter_Logo_bigger

Great Lakes: 1

Best win: 13-8 over Rhino

Worst loss: 9-13 to Chain Lightning

What would make their season a success: Making quarterfinals.

The good news is that so far this season, though Machine is just 3-3, they have only lost to teams ranked in the top seven. However they also haven’t beat any teams ahead of them. It could be that Machine was suffering from an AUDL focus at Terminus, many of their players play for the Wildfire who were in the middle of a playoff run, and other AUDL heavy teams (Toronto, Madison) also had disappointing weekends. The last two tournaments before the series for Machine are Chicago Heavyweights and the Pro Flight Finale. They should be able to win Heavyweights. Their main competition will be Sub Zero, Madison Club, High Five, and Prairie Fire. With Madison struggling as much as they have this season, it looks like it will be Machine’s tournament to win.

12. Boost Mobile

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Southwest: 2

Best win: 13-11 over Johnny Bravo

Worst loss: 12-13 to the Condors

What would make the season a success: Getting back to Nationals

Boost lost a few players to Revolver this season, and after a Cal States loss to the Condors it looked like they might be in for a rough season. But they bounced back with a successful Terminus, beating Johnny Bravo, Sub Zero, and Rhino. Boost doesn’t have any tournaments before Sectionals, so they can’t do anything other than hope the rankings correct enough to give them a strength bid. They’re currently sitting at #21. There’s a good chance they do, but after this weekend it’s clear the Condors won’t be earning one, so Boost had better hope things break their way, otherwise they could end up stuck in a one bid region with Revolver, not a recipe for success.

13. Furious George

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Northwest: 2

Best win: 13-11 over Madison Club

Worst loss: 7-11 to Rhino

What would make the season a success: Making Nationals

Furious brought a skeleton roster to Terminus, even more so than Sockeye. Unsurprisingly, it showed in their results. Their only win of the weekend was against a Madison team that was almost as shorthanded. The problem for Furious is their roster was invalidated. Their results didn’t count in the rankings. It’s not like their results were great to begin with, but whatever hopes Furious might have had for a strength bid (if any) are now gone. And given that Rhino is by no means guaranteed a strength bid either, it could make things very difficult for Furious come Regionals time. If Rhino doesn’t get wins at the West Coast Cup, there might only be one bid in the Northwest. Given the loss of Marc Seraglia, John Norris, and Andy Collins, it might be more difficult for Furious to give Sockeye the kind of game they are accustomed to. It’d be foolish to write Furious off, but they’re basically hoping the rankings correct enough to give Rhino a strength bid. Rhino, ranked 33rd as of August 7th, would be more likely to get that strength bid if their biggest win of Terminus hadn’t been invalidated because their opponent’s roster issues.

And while Furious has one of the biggest reputations in Ultimate, it has been a while since they’ve experienced success at the National stage. They haven’t made quarterfinals since 2006, which was also the last time they made it to the championship game. With the uphill road just to get to Nationals, don’t expect that to change this year.

14. Rhino

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Northwest: 3

Best win: 11-7 over Furious George

Worst loss: 8-13 to Boost Mobile

What would make the season a success: Getting back to Nationals

Rhino’s roster grabbed some headlines this year, but not for the right reasons. Gone are Seth Wiggins, Mario O’Brien, Chase Sparling-Beckley, and Cody Bjorklund. Still, there is a lot of talent in Portland, enough to make a run to the Championships. The question is whether Rhino can earn the Northwest a strength bid. As of August 7 they were ranked 33rd. While they didn’t have a bad Colorado Cup, their best wins were over Prairie Fire. Their final tournament is the West Coast Cup, where they’ll be facing Johnny Bravo, Revolver, and Sockeye. They’ll most likely need a win to get themselves in the strength bid conversation, or at the very least a lot of close losses. Otherwise they’ll have to take out Sockeye to get back to Nationals, a task that they’re ill equipped for this year.

15. Sub Zero

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Central: 1

Best win: 13-12 over Madison Club

Worst loss: 9-10 to Rhino

What would make a successful season: Making pre-quarters at Nationals

While Sub Zero didn’t have a good Terminus by any stretch, they also could have done  a lot worse. They only lost one game by more than three points, and close losses to strong teams isn’t too terrible an outcome. But with Chesapeake and Chicago coming up, they’ll still need to step up their game. Right now Sub Zero is ranked 26th in the USAU formula. That’s well within striking distance for a team with two tournaments to go. If they can beat teams like High Five, Streetgang, Garuda, Oakland and Madcow at those tournaments should they play them, it won’t matter whether or not they beat in region teams like Madison Club and Prairie Fire. Of course, Sub Zero may not even need a strength bid anyhow. If they can beat Mad Club and Prairie Fire they go to the Championships regardless. But the Central could still possibly take a strength bid, and for that to happen Sub needs to finish strong.

Of course, once they get to Nationals they can’t just be happy with the season. Sub has made Nationals the last two seasons after enduring an uncharacteristic two season drought from 2008-2009. In 2011 they won their Region, beating Machine. Then Eric Johnson got injured at Nationals and they fell apart, only beating Tanasi. In 2012 they started out great by beating Sockeye, but couldn’t keep up that level of play. This team is definitely capable of making pre-quarters, if they can put it together.

16. Prairie Fire

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Central: 2

Best Win: 13-9 over Madison Club

Worst Loss: 5-10 to Rhino

What would make the season a success: Finishing second in the Region, hopefully high enough for a bid to Nationals.

Prairie Fire had a strong showing at Colorado Cup, finishing 6th out of 16, with all of its losses coming from teams that made Nationals in 2012. Not only that, but they also beat regional rival Madison Club, 13-9. They’re one of just two select teams to have taken down an Elite Flight team so far this season.  If they can repeat that success they should be able to finish at least 2nd in the region. Whether 2nd in the Central region ends up being enough for a bid to the championships remains to be seen, but it could be enough. If not Prairie Fire would have to go through Sub Zero, which is a tall order for a team that has never advanced beyond Regionals.

17. Madison Club

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Central: 3

Best win: 13-10 over Madcow

Worst loss: 9-13 to Prairie Fire

What would make the season a success: Getting to Nationals

Madison only brought 16 players to Terminus, and none of their U23 players, and ended up going winless on the weekend. They followed that up with something of an uninspired Colorado Cup performance, finishing 7th out of 16. They were the lowest finisher from the 2012 Nationals field, and the only one to drop a game to a team that didn’t qualify. Madison could be experiencing the same kind of post AUDL hangover that the Spinners went through last season. After their Colorado Cup performance they need to do very well at Chicago to get a strength bid. Otherwise they’ll have to beat Sub Zero at Regionals, something they haven’t done since 2010.

18. High Five

Great Lakes: 2

Best win: 11-10 over Madcow

Worst Loss: 13-15 to Ulysse

What would make the season a success: Getting to Nationals

High Five is the new elite team out of Michigan that has sprung up post Overhaul dissolution. They’re currently ranked very high by the USAU formula, which will come down to earth after this weeks results factor in (Madcow didn’t do so hot at Colorado) and their own performance at Chesapeake and Chicago. But they still have a very good chance to get a second bid for the Great Lakes region. If they do they’ll have to fend off Madcow, a game that should be very close. Their point differential against Select Flight teams is higher than other teams ranked near them, largely because High Five hasn’t played the top select flight teams in the country, other than Madcow. Teams that were at Colorado Cup played most of the best select flight teams in the nation. We still don’t know very much about High Five.  But, we do know that Michigan used to regularly send a team to Club Open Nationals (Big Ass Truck) so their performance shouldn’t be a surprise.

19. Condors

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Southwest: 3

Best win: 13-12 over Boost Mobile

Worst Loss: 10-11 to Chicago Club

What would make the season a success: Finishing 2nd in the Southwest, hopefully good enough for a bid to Nationals

The Condors started off the season very well, winning both Cal States and San Diego Slammer. Despite losing to Inception at San Diego, they still beat teams like Boost Mobile, Voodoo, Space City Ignite, and Streetgang twice. Then the wheels came off at Colorado Cup. While they started with a big win over Florida United, that would be the high point for the tournament. They lost to Voodoo 8-13, and ended up fourth in their pool. They started consolation play by losing to Madcow, then lost to Chicago Club. Before Colorado Cup the Condors had a path available for a strength bid. Any chance of them earning a strength bid is now gone. They’ll have to hope that Boost moves up to the top 16 even without playing any games to get the Southwest that second bid.

20. Florida United

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Southeast: 3

Best win: 13-8 over Madcow

Worst Loss: 11-13 to Condors

What would make the season a success: Getting a strength bid, making it to Nationals.

Florida United picked up Cole Sullivan, Chris Gibson, and Alton Gaines coming into the season, hoping to build on last years success for the team. Unfortunately a couple of the top UCF players that were key contributors to last years squad didn’t return this year. Still, adding these former national champions has undoubtedly been a net positive for the squad. At Colorado Cup they didn’t live up to some of the expectations. They dropped games to the Condors, PoNY, and Prairie Fire. Coming into the weekend they had the Southeast positioned for a third bid, and despite the losses still might be able to get one. Their losses were only by two points, and their wins tended to be by large margins. But it was the last scheduled tournament for Florida United until the series. If it isn’t they’d have to beat Chain Lightning or Ring of Fire, not something likely to happen for this second year team.

21. Oakland

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Mid-Atlantic: 2

Best win: 15-10 over Garuda

Worst loss: Undefeated so far

What would make the season a success: Getting two wins at Chesapeake Invite, Finishing 2nd in the Mid Atlantic Region

Oakland won the Chesapeake Open, so they’ll be playing at the Invite this weekend. This is another team that made noise in roster news the way you don’t want to do, by losing their two best players. They’re currently ranked 18th by the USAU formula, though that ranking is probably going to come down after this weekend. Still, a solid win over a strong Garuda team is a reminder that this wasn’t a two man team. If Oakland can have a decent showing at the Invite and take care of all the teams in the region not named Truck Stop they’ll have had a very successful year. If it’s enough for a bid to Nationals, that’d just be icing on the cake.

22. HiP

South Central

Best win: 13-11 over Plex

Worst loss: Undefeated so far

What would make the season a success: Finishing third in the South Central Region.

HiP has the best chance of any team in USA Ultimate to go undefeated during the regular season. The only other team that I could see going undefeated at this point is Southern Hospitality. They’re both good teams. But not teams attending tournaments with elite talent. HiP is led by Texas A&M standout Matt Bennett, who’s known for a wide array of throws. The team managed to win Texas 2Finger against a Plex team that is supposedly stronger than ever this year. The next tournament HiP is attending is Battle for the Bible Belt in Little Rock, which will feature some lower level Regionals caliber teams but nothing more than that. Currently ranked 25th by the USAU formula, they will be helped by Plex’s strong showing at Colorado Cup. Whether or not they can increase their standing by dismantling lower level teams is a question I leave to the statisticians that I wish covered Ultimate. It should also be noted that HiP did beat Space City Ignite this past weekend, though it was at an unsanctioned tournament.

23. Plex

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South Central: 4

Best win: 13-11 over Cash Crop

Worst Loss: 11-13 to HiP

What would make the season a success: Being semi competitive in the game to go at Regionals

Plex had a strong showing at Colorado Cup, making quarterfinals and eventually finishing eighth. Though Plex only went 2-5, each of their losses was to 2012 Nationals teams. Last season Plex made the game to go in the South Central Region, losing to Johnny Bravo 7-15. Without another tournament currently on their schedule Plex has not done enough to get the region a third bid. As of August 7, they were ranked 41st by the USAU formula. After a fairly strong Colorado Cup they will no doubt move up, but that’s too much ground to recover. If they make the game to go and are able to put up 10 or 11 against Bravo (or Doublewide) they could end the season with their heads held high. Another way they could end the season on a positive note is if the Ultimate Invite Championships return this season. Skip Sewell ran them last season and said they’d be coming back, and teams that attended were generally happy with the experience. If the tournament does return it’d be in Plex’s backyard, so they would most likely be the favorite with a full squad turnout.

24. Madcow

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Great Lakes: 3

Best win: 13-8 over Condors

Worst loss: 13-14 to Cash Crop

What would make their season a success: A return to Nationals

If High Five does enough to hold onto a second bid for the Great Lakes Region, you can bet that Madcow will have their sights set on stealing it. Though Madcow went into Colorado Cup with a projected strength bid, their weekend was not successful enough to hold onto it. They could potentially get it back by performing well at Chesapeake, but given how much Madcow struggled at Colorado Cup and the higher level teams present at Chesapeake, I don’t see that happening. They were able to get back at Cash Crop for their Saturday loss, winning 9-4 in the abbreviated final round on Sunday. This is a team that might be able to put it together, but they currently have the worst point differential against 2012 National teams among the Top 25, not a good omen. That is a small sample size, just two games, but it included a loss to a Madison Club team that looked beatable.

25. Voodoo

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Northwest: 4

Best win: 13-8 over Condors

Worst loss: 6-13 to Florida United

What would make the season a success: Breaking seed at Regionals

Voodoo has been a great feeder team for Sockeye the last few years. More and more Sockeye players have Voodoo experience. This is a great way to recruit players, great for Sockeye, and great for Seattle Ultimate, but it’s got to be frustrating for longtime Voodoo players. Still, Voodoo has a strong combination of talent. Several more experienced players that got time playing for the Seattle Rainmakers this season, along with a couple rising stars in Khalif El-Salaam and Jesse Bolton, who both just finished their freshman year of college.

In a year where Rhino and Furious are not as strong as their 2011 or 2012 editions, the time for Voodoo to upset one of them at Regionals is now. They played Rhino extremely close in an exhibition earlier this season, losing 13-15, but lost to them 4-13 in Colorado.

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One comment

  1. […] the Open Division let’s take my top 25, Ultiworld’s top 25, and the USAU Formula top 25. With those three as the sources of data, […]

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