Top 20 Poll - Austin Starts 2019 at the Top

The weather is getting warmer, the sun is getting brighter and my calendar is getting fuller.  We’re into the swing of the USAFL season and its time for the triumphant return of the USAFL Top 20 Poll.

This is the fifth year that we’re doing this thing and for those of you not familiar with it, here’s how it works:

Every month or so, nine USAFL experts come together kind of like the Lords of Westeros and submit their top twenty USAFL men’s teams, ranked from 1-20.  Each #1 vote is worth 20 points, then 19 points for each #2 vote, and so on down the line.  Then we tally everything up, plug it into a spreadsheet, collect the numbers that it spits out, and rank them right here (and I get to pretend I’m Casey Kasem and count them down.)  If two teams are tied, then the tie is broken by head-to-head votes.

While this isn’t an official ranking of the teams, it is a tool that will be used to help the USAFL Nationals Tournament Seeding committee assign the rankings and pools for this year’s tournament in Sarasota during the weekend of October 12-13.

This is the first of four rankings – the other three will come out at the end of July, August, and September.  The panelists come from all across the USA and are made up of players, admins, and the like from each of the three regions.

It should be noted that while there is no change to the ranking methodology from last year, this year we are only considering USAFL teams for the poll (i.e., no Canadian clubs).  Guest teams from AFL Canada will be ranked at Nationals at the discretion of the Tournament Committee.

Alright, enough talk… to quote the great DJ himself, “now on with the countdown!”

With 179 out of a possible 180 points, the Austin Crows top the first Top 20 poll of 2019.  And why not?  The defending D1 National Champs are off to a hot start behind a 2-0 record in the Texas Cup.  The team they beat in Racine last year, Golden Gate, got the attention of one panelist as the top team in the land, and is a solid second. 

In fact, the top eight USAFL teams based on last year’s Nationals finish start this year’s rankings just how they finished in Racine.  (That’s the N18 number you see up there).  San Diego and Chicago round out the top ten. 

The bottom half of the poll sees the OC Giants, who will face the Lions twice in SCAFL play this month before heading to Regionals, in 11th.  Rivals Houston and Dallas come next after their hot draw in the Texas Cup.  After them, the defending D3 champion Philly Hawks, the team they vanquished to get there in Ohio Valley, followed by the defending D4 winner Baltimore in 16th.  The Dock Show is coming in hotter than a Carolina Reaper into next weekend’s regionals in Raleigh, so they may very well move on up.

Two more Eastern Rvials, Columbus and Boston come in at 17 and 18 followed by Sacramento, who are a couple of weeks away from their first USAFL action of the weekend.  The Arizona Outlaws, winners over the cross town Hawks two weekends ago, make their very first appearance in the Top 20, rounding out the countdown.

Regionals are about to kick into gear with the Eastern Regional this coming weekend in Raleigh, followed by the Central Regionals on July 13th in Denver, then the Western Regionals a fortnight after that in Salem Oregon.  There are also a number of great local carnivals, such as Saturday’s Cascadia Tournament and the 80/35 Tourney in Des Moines.  All of that will shake things up over the next 6 weeks; will Austin be able to hold the top spot, or will one of the other challengers put their hand up to move up the ladder?

We’ll just have to see.  Until then, I’ll see y’all somewhere on the road.   Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.

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