USAFL Top 20 Poll II: Bombers Assume Top Spot

Treats from Oz

Well folks, it took all of three weeks for the poll to be thrown into a tizzy.  But it happened, and we have a new number one team.

The New York Magpies' loss to the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids at the Eastern Regional tournament was enough to make five of the nine panelists give their #1 vote to someone else.  And, when the dust settled, the Orange County Bombers emerged on top of the second USAFL Top 20 Poll.

Though the Magpies had gained the favor of the most panelists, the ones that didn't vote for them scattered their votes between the Bombers and Austin Crows, who remain, even at this early juncture of the season, highly fancied to lift the cup when the host Nationals in just five-and-a-half months' time.  Despite a number of factors in the loss to the Squids, it was enough to cast enough doubt to land the Magpies just 2 points behind OC.

Last Rank  Club (1st Place Votes) Points
2 1 Orange County Bombers (3) 171
1 2 New York Magpies (4) 169
3 3 Austin Crows (2) 161
4 4 Denver Bulldogs 148
5 5 Minnesota Freeze 133
7 6 Los Angeles Dragons 124
6 7 Golden Gate Roos 122
n/a 8 Calgary Kangaroos 109
8 t-9 Columbus Jackaroos 102
9 t-9 Houston Lonestars 102
10 11 Dallas Magpies 98
t-11 t-12 Chiacgo Swans 70
13 t-12 Nashville Kangaroos 70
t-11 14 Baltimore/Washington Eagles 68
t-14 15 Boston Demons 50
t-14 16 Sacramento Suns 46
16 17 Philadelphia Hawks 37
n/a 18 Quebec Saints 34
20 19 Ft. Lauderdale Fighting Squids 26
17 20 Des Moines Roosters 16

Also Receiving: Ohio Valley River Rats 13 (18th last poll), Portland Steelhads 6 (19th), Tulsa Buffalos 3, Atlanta Kookaburras 2, Seattle Grizzlies 2, North Carolina Tigers 1, San Diego Lions 1.

The rest of the top five remained intact: Austin, despite picking up two 1st place votes, remained in a strong third place, while Denver and Minnesota held onto fourth and fifth place.  After that, there was a great deal of jostling down the rest of the poll as the panelists considered the Squids' upset victory as well as the inclusion of two Canadian squads, Calgary and Quebec, to the ballot.  The Kangaroos plopped into the poll in 8th, and its effect was felt on both sides.  Los Angeles and Golden Gate flip-flopped into 6th and 7th, respectively, while Columbus, Houston, and Dallas, all winners over unranked clubs (Cleveland, Baton Rouge, and Tulsa), all fell down the ladder.  The Jackaroos and Lonestars finished tied for 9th, while the Magpies slipped out of the top ten and into 11th.

From here, the Squids' victory over the Magpies saw the panelists reconsider spots 11-through-20, and in the end, most of the teams fell down the poll.  Nashville and Chicago ended up in a joint-12th place, while Baltimore/Washington dropped three whole spots into 14th.  This may be a result of the confidence in Fort Lauderdale as the better squad even at this early in the season, especially with the Eagles track record over New York.  Meanwhile, Boston and Sacramento, tied for 14th last poll, fell to 15th and 16th, with Philadelphia going down one place to 17th.  The Quebec Saints were voted into 18th in their poll debut.

As for the Squids, well, their big win over the big bad Magpies gained them only one spot, as the addition the Canadian Clubs nullified a big move.  They did gain a lot of notice and respect from the panel, however, something that should serve them well come Nationals time.  Des Moines stayed in the Top 20 despite falling three spots, while Portland and Ohio Valley became the first two clubs to be bumped out of the seedings.

NEXT POLL: MAY 27th -- WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

The weeks leading up to Memorial Day will see a lot of local metro footy take place across the country, but the Quebec tournament and Texas Cup will be the big focus in this voting round. #3 Austin welcomes in #11 Dallas and #9 Houston, with each match having significant implications on where they will be come the next round of polling.  Boston heads to Montreal to tangle with Quebec in a battle of Division 2 sides, while Columbus also heads north of the border to face the Toronto Central Blues in another solid matchup.

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