Saturday, September 1, 2007

Power Rankings -- Week 1

This year I shall be doing "Power Rankings" for all the teams each week to see how strong I feel each team is week in and week out. The primary criteria for this will of course be a team's record, and the other criteria will be a team's upcoming chances in potential matches, any internal problems they might be having, and several small intangibles of the type that I talked about in my preseason article.

Here is how I think things stand after the first week.

1st: San Francisco Mechanics (1 – 0). Who else? The defending champions won in fairly convincing style against Carolina, and with the team I felt would give them the biggest challenge for the best regular season record, New York, suffering an alarming setback in Week 1, they seem to be the clear front runners now. Their only minor worry may be that the other two Game of the Week judges seem to be conspiring against them, managing to award their only loss in Week 1 as Game of the Week.

2nd: Boston Blitz (1 – 0). Boston, despite using a lineup which probably isn’t one of their strongest (given they could have replaced Perelshteyn or Sammour-Hasbun on Board Two and still have had the lineup be legal), defeated a tough Seattle team who was likely using one of their best lineups. Like San Francisco, with their biggest potential competitor New York losing in Week 1, I now see them being front runners to take their division and even the best overall record.

3rd: Dallas Destiny (1 – 0). I liked Dallas’s chances before the season, and recent developments have made me like them even more. Aside from their solid win, having gotten Boskovic back on the regular roster, it seems likely they can have a lineup with an IM on Board Three nearly whenever they should want it which should make them quite a force. At the same time, defeating Tennessee is one thing, and in the next two weeks they will be facing San Francisco and Queens which should prove to be quite a test for them.

4th: Baltimore Kingfishers (1 – 0). The 2005 Champions just might be quite a bit stronger than I gave them credit for before the season. Despite using a lineup with neither of their GMs, they managed to defeat a very tough New York team that was using one of their best lineups. A huge step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen still if the Kingfishers can perform consistently like this as they were unable to do in 2006 or whether this win was simply another example of how Baltimore always owns New York. Only time shall tell.

5th: New York Knights (0 – 1). It might be surprising that I still rate a team which lost Week 1 so highly, but it’s too soon to panic after just one match, and I still see them as being one of the best teams in the league. On the other hand, given how tough the East Division is in general, the margin of error for any team is only so large, and another setback could put a severe dent in their future chances. Of course, New York did put themselves in a similar hole last season starting 1 – 2, and still managed to reach the USCL Finals so I definitely wouldn’t be counting them out just yet.

6th: Queens Pioneers (0.5 – 0.5). Despite being a bit out rated in their first match, Queens managed to tie (and were really the team which was in a position to win the match if either did) which hopefully is a good harbinger for the rest of their season. They do have a couple of severe tests coming up though facing Boston and then Dallas in the next two weeks.

7th: Philadelphia Inventors (1 – 0). Though Philadelphia must be very relieved to have started off on the right foot with a victory (especially after their 0 – 4 start last season), realistically they defeated an “injury – ridden” Miami team, and are likely to be facing much stiffer opposition in the near future having New York and Boston as their next two opponents.

8th: New Jersey Knockouts (0.5 – 0.5). New Jersey managed a narrow escape in their first match despite being the favorites in most people’s eyes, and will probably need to step it up a notch if they want to be one of the best teams in the East.

9th: Seattle Sluggers (0 – 1). Seattle, a team which has always seemed to hold high expectations for themselves, like New York suffered a disappointing defeat in Week 1. While in most activities it’s easy to play well when winning, it will be interesting to see if they, like New York, can recover after suffering this early setback (especially considering their 4 – 0 start last season).

10th: Miami Sharks (0 – 1). Miami, though a very strong team on paper, unfortunately suffered some severe internal problems in Week 1, which effectively wound up them not playing any of their top three players in the match (top two, now that Perea has left the team). They did put up a fairly valiant fight, but for their sake they really need such problems to be confined to the first week as the league as a whole is just too strong for any team to be able to afford to be plagued by such internal difficulties.

11th: Carolina Cobras (0 – 1). Carolina unfortunately suffered some setbacks in Week 1 both in losing and having to use a weaker lineup then they should generally have to. One bright spot was Milman’s victory as it seemed like the top two boards would likely be Carolina’s Achilles heal this season. If he can keep performing like that, along with having Zaikov and Jones play in their more traditional spots on boards three and four, Carolina could easily become a dangerous team.

12th: Tennessee Tempo (0 – 1). Tennessee, like many of their matches last season, seemed to have a very legitimate chance to score in their first match, but faltered at the wrong moment. If they could begin to finish matches the way they appear to start them, they could quickly become a competitive team, but until that happens they’re likely going to stay in this position.


Anonymous said...

bravo arun, way to stand by your convictions. one week ago new york was going to race through the east division and win the championship. now they lose one match (without their best player) and suddenly they are fifth place?

don't dream of taking any credit for predicting them at the beginning of the season when they win the championship.

Anonymous said...

Ok, the anonymous blogger obviously has no clue what are the power rankings, to best understand them i would suggest to look at it from the perspective of proffesional sports like NBA or NHL. Power rankings represent how hot the team is currently and is not a prediction of who is going to win it all, it changes after each game or each week, depending on how often they are published. I think Arun wrote a great article on his first ever uscl power rankings, nice job.

Ilya Krasik- Boston Blitz member

Arun Sharma said...

Thanks for the feedback Ilya! It's good to know that at least one person out there semi-appreciates what I might be doing here. Thanks also Mr. Anonymous, I'm always glad to get feedback of any kind (positive or negative), but in the future if you're going to comment here, I would ask you to at least be courteous enough to sign your name to your post as I don't think I'm alone in the group of people who like to know who exactly they are replying to. I'm not going to require that mind you, as one of the main reasons Greg decided to have these posts in a blog instead of on the USCL site this season was so that people could comment and make the whole process more interactive. Neither of us wants to discourage anyone from posting their opinion here by disabling anonymous posting, but I still think it's more courteous to do so than not.

As for the actual content and your comments, Ilya basically spelled it out exactly what power rankings are, and if you still disagree, well I'll just tell you the same thing I told Seattle's manager: these are just my opinions and obviously not everyone will share them. If you want to take some differing opinion we happen to have as some kind of personal insult or attack, of course I can't stop you from doing so, but I really think it'd be more effective if you and your team were to prove me wrong over the board rather than with words.

Anonymous said...

Arun's 1st power rankings, i think, are based on a mixture of pre- season expectations as well as 1st rd performance; as we get further into the season, the power rankings will be more reflective of the performance alone.
So for example, it is irrelevent wheather NY has Nakamura or King Kong for that matter if neither of them plays well, or if they play well but the Knights still struggle that will be reflected in the rankings. I wholeheartedly agree with Arun, dont argue with predictions, just wait for your team to prove them wrong... or right:)

Ilya Krasik -- Boston Blitz