Crows Within One Point of Roos for #1

Treats from Oz

Labor Day is here, and the race for Racine – see what I did there? – is now in high gear.

The month of August provided us with a lot of footy across the country, and the Austin Crows’ determination to get back to the top of Mount USAFL kicked up another notch with two more huge wins in Texas Cup play.

The wins were able to help them close the gap on Golden Gate down to a single vote.  But in the end, Golden Gate remained at the top of the USAFL Top 20 poll for a third consecutive month.

There were some big shifts down the poll, with three teams shifting three spots each, and three more went up or down two spots.

Our nine panelists were almost exactly divided as to who is the best team in the USA after seventeen weekends of football.  In spite of the two victories, five of the nine experts still think it’s the Roos, despite them not playing any USAFL games in the month of August.  They will finish with three tough games: at Denver then at home against LA and Sacramento.  Austin, meanwhile, kicked a whopping 32.14.206 in wins against Houston and Dallas last weekend.  They’ll host Denver before wrapping up the year on the 22nd hosting the Lonestars and Magpies in the final leg of the Texas Cup, which they have all but salted away.

The LA Dragons were the unanimous #3 team in the poll, and nailed down the position with three wins; at home against Dallas and Denver on August 11 and a big road win at Orange County last weekend.  Donald Lee and the Dragons are still very much a threat to take out the D1 flag, especially if Pat Nicholls keeps kicking goals at the pace he has.  The trip to Golden Gate, a Grand Final rematch from last year, will be a fantastic lead in to Nationals.

Denver and Dallas swapped spots in August, with Denver moving up to fourth and the Magpies dropping to fifth.  Dallas’ heavy defeats to LA and Denver in SoCal on the 11th, as well as to Austin set them back a bit, but they’ll remain a threat come next month.  Denver fought LA tough on the road, and beat Oklahoma at home.  Denver plays two possible D1 opponents to finish the season; at home against Golden Gate, and then on the road against Austin.

Idle New York stayed rooted in sixth; they’ll finish off the EAFL campaign at home against Boston and DC, needing a sweep to win regional premiership.  They’ll finish in Philly against the Hawks and Baltimore.

In one of those quirky vote switcheroos, the Calgary Kangaroos jumped two spots over still-unbeaten Portland, who stayed in eighth.  The Steelheads, now 8-0 after a Stumptown Throwdown sweep, have one last collision against rivals Seattle on the 15th.  They are just about a shoe-in for a top seed in D2, and look to add another trophy to the case.

All of that shifting came at the expense of the Orange County Bombers, who lost to San Diego and Los Angeles, and dropped three spots down to tenth.  Houston remained in eleventh, while the Lions jumped up three rungs into 12th.  They’ll have the 3rd leg of the SoCal Cup, Arizona Hawks, and OC rounding out the year as they prepare for another run, possibly in D2.

Minnesota held 13th after a 1-2 showing at Stumptown, their only win a victory over Sacramento.  A home-and-home with Des Moines rounds out the year for the Freeze.  The defending D3 champs from Seattle dropped down two spots in spite of a 2-1 record in Portland last weekend, but are still looking dangerous in 14th.

Whatever happens to Philadelphia in Baltimore next week and at home on the 22nd against New York and Baltimore at home, it will be their best regular season in more than a decade.  They rose two spots in August after wins against the Dockers and Eagles at home, and are now in their highest position ever: fifteen.

Chicago held firm in sixteenth with their league leading nine wins.  Sacramento dropped three spots after going 0-3 at Stumptown, and will end up at Golden Gate in the NorCal Cup on the 22nd.  Columbus and Boston remained in 18th and 19th, while Ohio Valley snuck in at number 20 with their win over Indianapolis on August 18th.

Three rounds remain in the season, and though the rankings here won’t directly impact where they are seeded at Nationals, it will give the seeding committee a good idea where the clubs compare against each other.

So buckle in, friends, we’re in for fun ride as we head towards to Racine.

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