USAFL Top 20 Poll IV: Upsets Upheave Pack

Thanks to the Memorial Day holiday, our last poll was published on a Friday as opposed to the usual Wednesday.

And so it is by that happenstance that 24 hours after that poll came out back on May 29th, that three teams pulled off significant upsets, proving our expert panel wrong. 

Those results – Chicago over Minnesota, Nashville over Columbus on the road, and Philadelphia over Baltimore Washington – created a giant upheaval in the middle of the poll.  With three exceptions, every position from 5th on down to 18th changed hands.  At the top, however, it remained the same as it has for the last three polls, with the top four teams remaining the same.

Last Rank Club (1st Place Votes) Points
1 1 Orange County Bombers (5) 176
2 2 New York Magpies (2) 166
3 3 Austin Crows (2) 162
4 4 Denver Bulldogs 154
6 5 Calgary Kangaroos 141
7 6 Los Angeles Dragons 133
5 7 Minnesota Freeze 113
8 8 Golden Gate Roos 109
10 9 Dallas Magpies 107
12 10 Nashville Kangaroos 102
11 11 Houston Lonestars 89
13 12 Chicago Swans 86
9 13 Columbus Jackaroos 84
15 14 Sacramento Suns 52
17 15 Philadelphia Hawks 49
16 16 Boston Demons 36
18 17 Quebec Saints 33
14 18 Baltimore-Washington Eagles 30
19 19 Ft. Lauderdale Fighting Squids 27
20 20 Des Moines Roosters 14

Also receiving votes: North Carolina Tigers 12, Ohio Valley River Rats 6, Tulsa Buffaloes 5, San Diego Lions 2, Portland Steelheads 1, Seattle Grizzlies 1.

Orange County, despite not playing a full game yet this season, remained at the top of the heap.  New York picked up their first victory since their loss to Ft. Lauderdale, a four point win over Dallas on June 6th, which helped them procure two first place votes.  More on the Dallas Magpies in a moment.   

Austin, who defeated the Lonestars by 40 points back on May 30th, remained in a solid third, also picking up two top nods.  Denver, whose full team and reserve squads each beat Tulsa somewhere on top of a mountain (Crested Butte, Colorado to be exact), held onto 4th.

After that, it was mass chaos.

Meeting in the middle ground of Madison, Wisconsin, the Swannies held on to a 50-39 victory over Minnesota, which ended up dropping them two spots down to #7.  Calgary and Los Angeles slid up to 5th and 6th, respectively, as a result.  Golden Gate stayed in 8th.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Dallas Magpies fought one of the hardest road encounters in recent memory, going all the way to Yonkers and coming up just four points short of catching the National champions.  They were rewarded by moving up one spot to #9, and are continuing to make their case that they are still a Division I club.

Columbus, who were teetering on borderline D1 status, had unruly guests in the Nashville Kangaroos, who slipped and squeaked by the Jacks by eight points in a wet affair.  The loss would send Columbus flying, as they fell four spots all the way down to 13th.

Two weeks later, the Kangas would beat upstart Chicago, and when the dust settled, Nasvhille was in the top ten.  Houston remained in 11th despite their game effort in the loss to Houston.  That left a net gain of one place to Chicago as their reward for their upset win over Minnesota.

Like the Jackaroos, Baltimore/Washington would fall four places, slipping from 14th to 18th as a result of their 24 point loss in Philadelphia.  That allowed idle Sacramento to step up into the Eagles’ spot at #14.  The Hawks, who continue to stun those who underestimate them, go up two spots to fifteenth.  Boston remained in 16th.  Quebec would also slide up one spot to fill in the gap left by BWE.

Ft. Lauderdale and Des Moines stayed put to round out the top twenty.  North Carolina, who picked up their first win over Atlanta, fell just two points short of cracking the poll the first time.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR – NEXT POLL: July 8th

With Independence Day looming, this next poll period will contain just two weekends of games across the country.  But oh, what a jam packed two weekends they are.

The Bombers will put their #1 ranking to the test against arch rival Los Angeles on June 20th, as the #6 Dragons look for an upset in the first of four meetings this season between the neighbors.

June 27th will two major tournaments unfold, each containing five of the league’s top eleven teams.  The Texas Cup, which was rescheduled from late May due to the rains in Africa… I mean, Austin… features #3 Austin, #10 Dallas, and #11 Houston doing battle at Onion Creek Park, home of this year’s Nationals.

But the big stage will be in Davis, California, just west of the capital in Sacramento, where the Western Regional 18’s tournament will take place.  Orange County, L.A., and #8 Golden Gate will feature in the tournament’s “A” Division.  They’ll each also be playing the Hong Kong Dragons, which should provide a good test of all three squads.  “B” Division play will see the hosts from 15th ranked Sacramento take on the unranked Portland Steelheads and Seattle Grizzlies.

Lastly, while Americans are celebrating the birth of their nation by blowing up a small part of it (with fireworks, of course), the Calgary Kangaroos will spend July 4th hosting the Stampede Cup against teams from Vancouver and Edmonton.

That’s a lot of footy, but most importantly, a lot of good footy.  I’ll be in Sacramento for the Western Regionals next weekend.  If you’re going, I’ll see you there.  If not, join us online for live updates here, on facebook.com/usafl, and @USAFL1997.

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