Thursday, October 14, 2010

DNN's latest power rankings - October 2010

The Women's Flat Track Derby Association's regional tournaments (North Central, East, West and South Central) are over and the top 12 competitors will make their way to Chicago in a few weeks to square off on the track for the WFTDA championship, the Hydra Trophy.

Windy City, Minnesota, Madison, Gotham, Philly, Charm City, Rocky Mountain, Oly, Bay Area Derby, Kansas City, Texas and Nashville all earn the top three spots in their respective regions to advance into the single elimination tournament.

The No. 1 seeds will all get a first-day bye, as the No. 2 seed of one region will play the No. 3 seed of another, the winner of that matchup will play the No. 1 seed of yet another region on Day 2.

If I read the matchups correctly:

Gotham will play the winner of Texas and Bay Area; Rocky will play the winner of Minnesota and Charm City; Kansas City will play the Philly-Madison winner; and after Nashville and Oly play, Windy City will get that winner.

With the tournament matchups determined and the regional tournaments over, Derby News Network, one of the premiere derby coverage websites, has released its post-region power rankings.

The biggest surprises: Rocky overtakes Oly as the No. 1 in the DNN rankings, sending the defending champions to the No. 3 spot below Gotham. Nashville (SC3), Minnesota (NC2) and Naptown (NC5) all leap into the field, as Naptown cracks the DNN25 spot. Cincinnati (NC4) jumps 3 spots to DNN16, Nashville, who fought their way into the No. 3 spot in the South West Central, gets the DNN18 spot (CLARIFICATION: Nashville was previously ranked No. 18 in April 2010). And Minnesota gets the DNN14 spot. Carolina makes it back into the field at DNN23. (The regional standings reflect tournament finishes and not WFTDA rankings in that region.

The South Central Region has lost a step with the exit of Dallas, Houston and Tampa after Amber Waves of Pain, WFTDA's SC regional tournament. The North Central picks up a few more Top 25 representatives and not much as changed for the West and Eastern regions.

Enter my opinion:
Looking at the championship tournament bracket, there's some disparity between the first day's matchups as Madison and Nashville will be considerable underdogs. Minnesota actually lucked out getting Charm City in the first round via the random lottery. The Day 1 bouts will be interesting to see how the point spread will fall.

Watching the South Central Region this weekend, I watched as teams like Knoxville and Memphis made valiant efforts against their big sisters at Amber Waves of Pain. But there was a pretty definitive split in the region. Neither Knoxville nor Memphis could improve their rankings. No Coast managed a decent jump but stayed toward of the middle of the field with the likes of Tampa, Dallas and Houston. Nashville was the only team able to escape the middle ground to put Atlanta to a test.

Kansas City and Texas remained at the top. As I was watching Knoxville and Tampa bout, I had a brief conversation with a Hard Knox fan about the region. "We're supposedly the weak region," he said. "I don't know how any region with Texas and Dallas could be weak," I replied, explaining that Tampa, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston are all tough competition. There's definitely some disparity, but my solution would be that some of the Top teams in the nation would actually form their own division, holding their own smaller tournament, while the rest of the derby world holds their own division, regional playoffs and tournaments for top spots.

I'm not criticizing how the tournament is structured now, but after watching both North Central and South Central regions live, and the West and East regionals via webcast, it looks as if the top teams remain the top teams, and they'll continue to dominate the rest of the field.