USAFL Top 20 Poll VI: Here Come the Crows...

Here come the Austin Crows.

Three games in the wind and rain of Wisconsin saw them huff, and puff, and blow down the competition.  They pushed and clawed their way past New York – on the field and on the ladder -- into the #2 spot on the Top 20 poll, but would fall just one point short of overtaking top-ranked Orange County.

And so the Bombers will be the #1 team in the land for another three weeks despite the Crows getting two more 1st place votes from our expert panel.  With the Crows moving up, the Magpies’ loss to Austin in the Central Regional Final saw the National Champs slide back to #3, with Denver and Calgary now quite literally nipping at their heels.

Last Rank Club (1st Place Votes) Points
1 1 Orange County Bombers (3) 174
3 2 Austin Crows (5) 173
2 3 New York Magpies (1) 160
4 4 Denver Bulldogs 150
5 5 Calgary Kangaroos 142
6 6 Los Angeles Dragons 138
7 7 Dallas Magpies 125
8 8 Minnesota Freeze 117
9 9 Golden Gate Roos 114
11 10 Houston Lonestars 97
10 11 Nashville Kangaroos 93
13 12 Columbus Jackaroos 81
12 13 Chicago Swans 78
14 14 Sacramento Suns 60
15 15 Boston Demons 53
17 16 Quebec Saints 38
16 17 Philadelphia Hawks 35
18 18 Ft. Lauderdale Fighting Squids 30
19 t19 Baltimore/Washington Eagles 10
20 t19 Des Moines Roosters 10

Also Receiving Votes: North Carolina Tigers 8, Tulsa Buffaloes 8, Ohio Valley River Rats 6.

Despite not topping the poll just yet, Austin’s showing in Racine installed them as favorites for the flag at Nationals, which they themselves will host.  If Kenrick Tyrell, Chris Merritt and the rest can play at home the way they have on the road, they should do the job.  Of course, Orange County will have plenty to say about that, as will the other Division I sides, but for now, Tyrell’s former club is still at the top of the heap.

New York’s slide to number three comes primarily as a result of the loss to Austin in that regional final, which totally belies the fact that they also won four games over the last three weeks.  Wins over Houston, Minnesota, Baltimore/Washington, and Philadelphia were completely overshadowed by that forty-minute encounter.  With one, maybe two games left against struggling Eastern regional opponents, the ‘Pies look to be in the 3-hole for the duration of the season.

Spots four-through-nine stood pat: #4 Denver played magnificently at the CRT despite also being beaten by Austin; Los Angeles gained on #5 Calgary but could not overtake them; Dallas remained seventh, but played strongly in the CRT Division 2 to take home that title; and Minnesota and Golden Gate remained 8th and 9th, with the Freeze also playing well despite finishing 4th overall at Centrals.

After that, well… sheer madness.  With the exception of 14th ranked Sacramento, 15th ranked Boston, and #18 Ft. Lauderdale, every position from 10-20 changed hands.

Houston, who swapped from the Central Region Division 2 up to D1, overtook idle Nashville for the 10th spot despite being defeated by New York and Minnesota, a testament to the effort of David Bryant’s team.  Nashville will have a chance to retake their place in the top ten when they host Baton Rouge and Ohio Valley at home on August 8th.

Columbus moved up to #12, overtaking the Chicago Swans after the two clubs had different fortunes in Racine.  The Jacks played good footy over the weekend to defeat Indy/Milwaukee and Tulsa before going down to Dallas.  Chicago, meanwhile, let an early lead slip against Austin before being run over by the Crows in pool play, then bowing out to the Bulldogs.  Both teams are about even in form, and will face off in “Cbus” on August 8th.

After Sacramento and Boston remained where they were, the Quebec Saints found themselves at #16 after Philadelphia fell one spot.  The Hawks, who have struggled to put a full team together during the summer, played gallantly against a determined New York side, but were thrashed by 88-points at home to the ‘Pies.  They’ll be at DC on 8/15, for a chance to maybe gain some confidence as they seek to return to the D-3 final.  Ft. Lauderdale held serve at #18, just five points behind Philly. 

Speaking of the BWEagles, they found themselves remaining at #19 despite falling to North Carolina at home and New York on the road in consecutive weeks.  But, they have company: the Des Moines Roosters, who struggled in their two CRT games despite playing well, caught up to Baltimore/Washington and gained a tie for the last position. 

The Tigers, having only beaten the Eagles in DC for the second time in history, were unlucky to come just two points short of a Top 20 spot; same for Tulsa, who did well in Racine.  Ohio Valley, despite getting attention at the lower end of the spectrum from the panel, again remained shut out.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR – Next Poll: August 19th

It’s Parallel Cup Week, but there will be plenty of action ahead in the USAFL as the season passes the halfway point and heads towards the final turn.  

On August 8th, Tulsa will try to overtake Des Moines, as they head to Kansas City and join the Power in a three-way battle. Nashville hosts Ohio Valley and Baton Rouge in a Central region carnival, while Boston heads to Chicago in a battle of possible Division II foes.  The following weekend, the Swans turn around and head out to face the Jackaroos.

Enjoy the Parallel Cup and the matches this week, fans.  Just under three months now to Austin, and plenty of excitement ahead.

 

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