Friday, October 9, 2015

Coaches' Poll: West 10/9

One coach, captain, or designee from each USQ official team was asked to rank the top ten teams in their region. Points were allocated in the following manner: 10 points for a first place vote, nine points for a second place vote, eight points for a third place vote, etc. The votes have been tabulated and listed below in order of total votes. The number in parentheses indicates how many first place votes a team received.

Voters were given fewer than three days to vote; some came in after the deadline and were thus not counted. Further, during the voting period, voters from each team were still being identified. Thus while this poll provides a good basis for how each region views its teams, the lack of information available to voters and flaws with the design these results should be taken with a grain of salt. We will continue to run coaches polls throughout the season to reflect how each region views its own teams.

Photo Credit: Sofia de la Vega Photography

The Lost Boys (4)
Los Angeles Gambits (4)
Crimson Elite (CE)
University of Southern California (USC)
The Fighting Farmers of America (FFA)
Santa Barbara Blacktips (SBB)
Arizona State University (ASU)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
Silicon Valley Skrewts
Northern Arizona University Narwhals (NAU)
Others Receiving Votes: The Long Beach Funky Quaffles (11), Crimson Fliers (CF) (4), California Dobbys (3), Utah State Quidditch Club (2), San Jose State University Spartans (SJSU) (1), Stanford Quidditch (1).
Notes: Eight votes were cast.
Voters Explain Their Choices:
Voter 1

1. Gambits - I ranked the Gambits over their cross-city rivals because the reigning Western champions are able to give each of their players individual attention in practices, whereas the ever-growing Lost Boys roster means their newcomers will have little opportunity to grow and figure out how to fit into their system. The Gambits are also one of the most driven teams in the country.
2. Lost Boys – Lost Boys has depth in every position, but that may be its downfall. So many players means that its starting seven will get far less playing time then they deserve.
3. USC - This team has the potential to end up at the top of my rankings or at the very bottom. USC is the most athletically gifted team in the West, but also the most untested for now. Strategy takes time to figure out, we will see how long it takes this team.
4. Crimson Elite - Held up well against the Southwest’s mid-tier at World Cup. At the regional championship last season, CE played just as well against the Gambits as it did against the Lost Boys . A loss to the Boise State Abraxans on its home turf is cause for concern.
5. ASU - New leadership means a chance to figure out a new identity. If ASU can put its beaters to proper use and figure out a more efficient offense, this team might surprise a lot of people.
No real comments about the other teams, other than:
8. FFA – FFA has a decent starting line, but this team was built to help develop University of California, Davis' team. Those starters are even going to be practicing with the Davis players to help them get better. Even if the starters stay in for the first 10 minutes straight, expect this team to fall out of games once it inevitably has to put in their newcomers.

Voter 2

With the shuffling of experienced players in the whole state of California, there is a lot up in the air this season. The Lost Boys were fortunate enough to retain many players while taking on more. Given how close the Gambits vs. Lost Boys final was at the last regional championship, and the Gambits’ loss of players, I think the Lost Boys will come out on top this season. The battle between second, third, and fourth will be extra tight this season. The Crimson Elite will return with all its new players having one year under its belt and having brought on many of the stars from last year's Utah State team. The Gambits have lost players, sure, but they should absolutely never be counted out, they have retained much of their beater core and will continue to be successful. The Fighting Farmers are here to be this year's Arizona Quidditch Club. The talent is strong on that team, but the chemistry is still to be seen. I would count on these three teams for second, third, and fourth. I put the Crimson Elite at second, the team will be training the whole season to beat these two other teams. I think the Gambits’ season of chemistry will overtake the talent factor on the Farmers. After seeing NAU play at Crimson Cup, there is no doubt that it will be a force to be reckoned with. I put NAU in fifth, though it could upset into the second, third, or fourth range. Then Nos. 6-10 are pure guesswork. No one is sure how USC will do this season being back at full strength, though most are predicting it will do well. ASU, SBB, and UCLA are likely to be on relatively equal footing as the season starts off. No way to tell until UCLA finishes recruitment season and those Southern California teams see some play time. I threw in the Skrewts at No. 10 for kicks. The Skrewts, no matter how badly they are predicted to do, generally pull it off better than one would think. It will be interesting to see how two new Bay Area teams will effect the talent distribution.
Overall, I believe that there's nothing to know until more games have been played outside of Utah.  

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