So we are getting closer and closer to the 2015 WFTDA Playoffs and the action continues to be hot on the track. This past weekend we had a total of 49 sanctioned bouts, with 25 of them occurring at Brewcity’s Midwest BrewHaha. In addition to that I was lucky enough to catch a Gotham bout (as if you didnt already know, but Bonnie Thunders is pretty good, lol) and a little Quadzilla apex jumping action (he was at least 3 feet off the ground). Whenever one finds yourself in a bit of a derby funk, watching some great quality derby is a great way to get out of it. But Im going to start with one trend that I noticed that goes outside the numbers and focuses a bit on safety. Something needs to be done with the consistency of clockwise blocks being enforced.
Now I know that the rules were changed during this year to focus more on the impact of one of those blocks, but when I was watching a large number of really good officials consistently calling it differently I recognized that it still needs work. I also saw that this is actually probably one of the more dangerous hits, especially for jammers. Numerous times I saw a jammer being stopped by a wall only to get blocked backwards and no call occur. My biggest concern is that most of the time because the jammer began the hit leaning forward that their feet would end up trapped under them as they were blocked backwards. Im sure as WFTDA and the officials continue to work on things it will be called more consistently, but i just hope that nobody ends up with an injury due to this.
I know I dont normally get into those kind of things, and its out of my system now. Now onto the rankings. Initially lets take a look at the teams that took place at BrewHaHa.
|Team||# of Bouts||Tourney Record||Average WFTDA Score||Change in Weekly Rankings|
As you can see by the above chart, BrewHaHa was very good for a lot of teams. Gotham showed their complete dominance again, in fact their WFTDA Score for their bout against Minnesota was the highest of the year earning them over 1,050 points. The next biggest statement was clearly Arch Rival. All year they have been putting together a really good campaign, but this clearly put them on the map as a real contender to make it to Champs this year. Ann Arbor was probably the next biggest surprise, aided greatly by their destruction of NEO, and they are now in a position to possibly make D2 Playoffs. A week ago I did not have them even in the conversation, but if they have a few more good bouts yet in them they could sneak one of those final spots.
One of the coolest stats to come out of this is the fact that both Madison and North Star lost 3 bouts, and still moved up in the weekly rankings. This shows just how much every point matters, and how bouts in June are worth more than bouts earlier in the season. North Star actually played Brewcity for the second time this playoff season, and just looking at the bout values is a bit eye opening. On August 2nd, 2014 Brewcity was ranked 49th and had a WFTDA weight of 1.72. When North Star played them again on June 6th Brewcity’s ranking was lower (61st) but their WFTDA weight was all the way at 2.01. Before the bouts even started, the June 6th bout was just worth more despite Brewcity’s ranking being 12 spots lower. Had the score been the same for both bouts North Star would have scored 43 more WFTDA points on June 6th compared to August 2nd. If you are a team looking to really maximize your ranking this has to be considered when developing a playoff season schedule. And honestly, unless you are in the Top 20 you really need to be considering this.
Now lets look at the big picture. Im going with a little bit of a new format so I hope you like it. And for our purposes I have removed SoCal from the Playoff picture as they will not be competing this year. However there are other teams (none in the Top 60) who have not currently met the WFTDA requirements that I will still show in the Top 100.
As you can see below the #1 Seeds look to be pretty well set at this point as the Bay Area to Denver gap is pretty large and would take a lot to make up at this point. The #2s also look to be pretty solid, but if any of them falter too much the next couple weeks they could find themselves as a #3, but really the difference between a #2 and #3 in the big picture isnt all that much. The real question is who is going to be that last #3 seed. London, Atlanta and Rocky Mtn are all within striking distance of each other and whoever gets that final #3 seed has a much better chance of making Champs than if they end up a #4 seed.
Other than Charm City I would say the rest of the #4s and #5s are safe and can look forward to facing each other in the first round of playoffs. And as we saw with the battle for the final #3, the final #5 is very much up in the air. The current #6 and #7 seeds are full of wild cards. Des Moines United, Glasgow, Stockholm and Sun State (I am least sure of Sun State’s score due to the unknown ranking scores coming from their Paradise City bouts) all have less than 5 bouts which means one more bout with a score very different than their current could really swing their average much more than the other teams around them. I think all of the #8 and #9 seeds are safe for making D1 Playoffs, they may mix up a little bit but these look to be safe teams. The #10 seeds are very interesting.
First we have Oly and nobody knows what the heck is going on there. Then we have Ohio, who as you see above did not perform at a D1 Playoff team level at BrewHaHa. And those are the safer of the #10 seeds. Anyone ranked between 39-44 (heck even Sacred at #46 or Boulder County at #48) could take those last two #10 spots at D1. Its going to be great to watch how this all plays out down the stretch.
D2 is its usual cluster of very equal teams. This is the reason I actually prefer D2 playoffs over D1 playoffs. Just look at the 20 teams i currently have listed as going this year. From Columbia at #41 to Emerald City at #55 you could basically throw a blanket over them and they could all move up or down a seed on any given weekend. I also think #56 Jet City can start their D2 Playoff planning and they will most likely be a #8 seed. Now the last 4 spots, OH BOY!!! I wouldnt say any of the 4 teams in that final group are safe, but I think the Brewcity, Brandywine and Sin City will all make it in. The real battle is for that last spot. Calgary, Ann Arbor and OK Victory are all separated by about 1.3 points. That number is well within my margin for error based on how I use the WFTDA released rankings and not the official WFTDA calculator. If there was a year that WFTDA could expand to 70 teams (eliminate Champs and just do 7 seeded tournaments, i.e 1-10, 11-20, etc) this would be the year. Could you imagine and opening D1 playoff of Jacksonville vs. Philly with the winner moving on to Gotham instead of Stockholm vs. Rideau Valley winner? Im just saying I’d prefer 7 tournaments with all teams separated by 10 spots instead of the current format. But again I digressed. Below please find the teams that are in, and the rest of the Top 100 as well.
|Rank||Team||Score||# of Bouts||Change from last rankings|
|Current D1 #1 Seeds|
|Current D1 #2 Seeds|
|Current D1 #3 Seeds|
|Current D1 #4 Seeds|
|Current D1 #5 Seeds|
|Current D1 #6 Seeds|
|Current D1 #7 Seeds|
|Current D1 #8 Seeds|
|Current D1 #9 Seeds|
|Current D1 #10 Seeds|
|Current D2 #1 & #2 Seeds|
|Current D2 #3 & #4 Seeds|
|Current D2 #5 & #6 Seeds|
|Current D2 #7 & #8 Seeds|
|Current D2 #9 & #10 Seeds|
|Outside Looking In|