Painting the Playoff Picture
East Coast Derby Extravaganza provided many games last weekend and showcased the true talents of more of the top European teams.
It’s evident that Crime City, Tiger Bay and Helsinki should be knocking on the door of D2 playoffs, but will have to wait until next year. Blue Ridge has played consistent this year and continued to do so at ECDX, while Brandywine may have climbed the ranks prematurely. While many teams have secured their spot for the second year of D2 playoffs, the instability of the middle, and high competition makes the top and bottom edges of D2 a little blurred.
Crime City started their US swing last weekend with an unassuming 73-point loss to the rising WFTDA #92 Roc City. Roc City are currently ranked 62 on FTS and are likely to hit the 60s in the WFTDA rankings, making the loss all the more respectable as an opening tour game for the Swedes.
Mid-week things hotted up when they took on and beat #111 Assault City and #78 Garden State, and then continued their winning streak over #98 Charlotte at ECDX on Saturday, but their 36 point victory over #69 Providence will be a big rankings win for them. Flat Track Stats puts them at #60 now, but they will have to look to next year for that playoff invite thanks to the number of European games in the system keeping them pinned well below that in the WFTDA rankings for now.
Tiger Bay also performed well with a 2-2 sanctioned showing for the week-long tour, alongside a very narrow loss to Gotham’s Wall Street Traitors. Strong performances against DC and Suburbia indicate they should be sitting much closer to the D2 playoff bubble, especially followed up by solid wins over Providence and Garden State at ECDX.
The Helsinki All-Star Ninja Turtles also went 2-2 with a big win over the falling Long Island team and also over WFTDA #42 Brandywine. They did lose to WFTDA #90 Charlottesville–but Charlottesville’s FTS ranking of 48 suggests they they’re tragically under-ranked in the WFTDA system. Their final game against top D2 contender Blue Ridge was a strong performance with only a 67 point loss.
Blue Ridge took 3rd place at Division 2 Championships last fall and have steadily made a move to the top ever since. Their 11-2 record in 2014 shows they have consistency, despite roster changes, and that they could make a good run for first place in D2 playoffs assuming no-one in the top 40 declines a playoff invite as they look certain now to be a D2 top seed.
They also took on Brandywine who made a jump to the division border early this year, but may have done so on the backs of some falling teams. They went as high as WFTDA #40 at the end of March, after a 113 point win against Cincinnati, who was WFTDA #38 at the time. Helsinki stopped by on their way to ECDX and beat them by 16 points, so the Euro-effect will also hurt Brandywine a bit–in fact, it will probably have hurt them enough to put them out of the first round of playoff invites.
Green Mt. Derby Dames have been hanging around close by in the upper 60s, but their performance at ECDX showed that they likely won’t threaten the lower end of the bracket. A close win over WFTDA #76 Burning River and a loss to WFTDA #92 Roc City will bring them to the lower 60s by the end of June.
Providence has been on the rise this year, but with losses against Tiger Bay and Crime City over the weekend, they will have to make up some rankings points for next season. Burning River made it to Kalamazoo last year, and managed to end one place over their seed at 8th, but seem to have been fizzling out this season; their weekend went 0-2 in Feasterville.
SoCal is the only D3 league currently sitting in D1 territory. They’ve had a phenomenal winning year, besides the three big losses against Windy, Angel, and Bay Area at Golden Bowl. Like Blue Ridge, they are walking a fine line between the two divisions, but their two wins over the weekend look to have had the opposite effect of Blue Ridges and secured them a #10 seeding at a D1 playoff.
SoCal’s upward momentum looks likely to displace #39 Sacred City into D2, especially with their big win over Santa Cruz last year aging out. #58 Sin City will see D2 action again, but will come in on the lower end of the bracket unlike their 1st seed placement last year despite a coming rise this month.
Bleeding Heartland visited Nashville over the weekend looking to improve on their 178-point home loss in May. Home team must have been the advantage for Nashville who kept Bleeding Heartland to only 46 points to their 403. The Flatliners saw D1 playoff action last season, but have now fallen out of the bottom of D2.
Another team with a rough 2014 season, Cincinnati, went on the road to WFTDA #46 Killamazoo returning K-zoo’s road trip from earlier in May. Cincinnati had a 48-point deeper deficit this time around, 279-137. They too will not see playoffs this year. Killamazoo on the other hand have played a pretty consistent season and will likely make D2 as a mid-range seed.
Brewcity has been playing all of the derby and added another win to their record with a 19-point game over Chicago Outfit. WFTDA #45 Outfit rose 20 places last month after finding their footing with roster changes, and have been playing lots of games this year as well. Their win over Blue Ridge last year will age out–both they and Brewcity are likely to find themselves in the middle of the D2 playoff seedings.
Sac City, who took 4th at last year’s D2 Championships, recently slipped 15 spots after hanging around the cusp this year. They have had some hard losses, like an 18-point loss to Auld Reekie at the Big O. Despite a big win over the weekend against San Fernando Valley, they will likely enter this year’s playoff as a bottom seed.
Queen City showed their competitiveness with a two-point loss to Tri-City and a three-point win over Killamazoo this year, proving their D2 strength. Their 130-point loss to Ohio over the weekend earned them credit and exceeded their expectations, securing them a high seeding for D2 playoffs.
The only question mark in D2 as we close up the month of June is Demolition City. Unlike Brewcity or the Outfit’s strategy of playing as many games as possible to help even out their ranking, Demolition City had only played one sanctioned bout in 2014. Last night they fulfilled their second required game, with a trip to Naptown, and Saturday the will get their third by hosting St. Chux. An unsanctioned 50 point win over Nashville in February, combined with an early win on Cincinnati appeared to indicate a strong year for them, but last night’s 221-88 loss to Naptown may prove otherwise. If they want to make D2 playoffs, they will need a big win on Saturday.
Big Easy are a possibility too, as they have been rising slowly and could sneak in to playoffs at the very bottom. They have a good performance at Spring Roll with two close losses to Twin City and Tri-City. This weekend they will play Gainesville, who recently tipped over the century mark in ranking, and should be able to handle them. They are also taking on Houston on Sunday, a very late-scheduled game that will fulfill the Texas team’s game requirements for playoffs at the eleventh hour.
These games may be just enough to bring them to the edge of the bubble: and with Ft. Myers not being eligible that’s another spot closer.