For twelve teams the excitement of playoff bowling began yesterday. Congratulations to Young and the Bowled and Balls Of Fury for advancing to the tournament. Thanks to all the teams that competed, and hope to see you as fans at some of the playoff games and definitely at the Bowling Ball. Mona Laudley and Ralphie are doing some great work to create an unforgettable Lounge, and the bands are going to be awesome. One last point on that – use Lounge Smooth as an opportunity to look good, not to wear pajamas.
Early Games (#’s are Playoff seeds)
#5 Binga’s (8-4) -5 vs #12 Roll Another (5-7): The playoffs kick off with an old school matchup of 5th year teams. Neither of these squads is going to be rattled by playoff pressure. Binga’s has one title in two title games, and are looking to get back to their old glory. Jerk finished the season with his best game, and Tso has followed up his ROY campaign with the solid season that was expected of him. Binga’s is looking ahead to a quarterfinals rematch with Back In Black, but they will need to keep their focus against Roll Another.
Roll Another lost in weeks 9 and 10 in the last frame, but rebounded with some big wins. Uncle Buck has Draft League experience and is a solid player. Captain Chup puts up 190’s and 90’s, so he just has to hope he gets the right one. Then there’s The Package, who is one of the league’s best finishers. On multiple occasions he has taken unimpressive games into the 7th frame then struck out. No lead is safe against him. I don’t think they have the consistency to pull of the upset, but I do think they can make it interesting and force a third game.
#3 Walkaways (10-2) -10 vs #14 Guacabowle (4-8): This may be the biggest mismatch of the first round. Guacabowle had a great first season and have really embraced the BoPo spirit. They will get their first taste of playoff action on Tuesday, and hopefully enjoy it and take away some lessons for next year. The Walkaways were built under the idea of ‘title or bust’. They’ve added a new top bowler to the league in The Dentist, plus all their old excellent players. We’ll write more about them as the playoffs advance. In this case I would be shocked if it’s not over in two games.
#4 Cunning Linguists (9-3) -7 vs #13 Lesbowlians (4-8): Insert your own jokes about the names in this matchup. The Lesbowlians accomplished their goal of making the tournament without any play-in games this year, which is a nice accomplishment. Tilt-A-Whirl had another solid season, but this year the Lesbowlians seemed to get good contributions from different bowlers each week. To have a chance here, however, all of them will have to equal their best weeks. Not impossible, but a difficult task.
The Linguists have exceeded all expectations this season, but now have bigger goals. They look like they could be favorites at least to the semifinals, and once there, who knows. They are led by La Gat/Gagita, who had another excellent season as BoPo’s top woman bowler. She is ably backed by Gutterslut (who may have led the league in games in the 190’s with no 200’s) and the hard to predict but talented Pauly Ringwald. Col. Angus is a wildcard – he struggled most of the season, but has a history of excelling in the playoffs. If they get some momentum, with their matchups they could be a legit title threat
#8 Turkey Club (7-5) -1 vs #9 Snakes On A Lane (7-5): Both 8/9 matchups in the tournament look like spectacular games. This one may be one of the best of the whole first round. Turkey Club is an expansion team that managed to pull off a winning record despite running the gauntlet of BoPo’s toughest teams. They have a solid lineup of dudes, and Bora Bora quietly put together a top 5 effort on the women’s side. (Well, everyone seemed quiet given tango’s leadership role in noisemaking). Their Captain Roadhouse does a good job of keeping his team focused and on an even keel.
Snakes On A Lane have had a decent season of their own, though they haven’t quite played to their potential yet. They have the pieces to pull of a win here and I expect a back and forth battle. Dr. Honniker needs to be on top of his game, and Rosie will have to step up in her battle with Bora Bora. I’m going with the Club by one given their more challenging season.
Late Games (have your teams ready by 8pm – if the first round game is over in 2 games, you will start right at 8)
#1 Back In Black (11-1) -13 vs #16 Balls of Fury (2-10): I expect to be able to write more about Back in Black for future rounds. Stevie Strikes captured back to back Top Dawg awards with a huge last night of the season, and has been putting up monster scores. Bama and Gutterboy’s Mom’s Son also found their grooves late and this team looks nearly unstoppable.
Balls Of Fury deserve serious kudos for their performance on Sunday. They won three straight, and they weren’t even close. Fury crushed everyone in their way. They likely won’t have the guns to compete with Back In Black, but the same can be said by almost everyone. E-Minor and Thunderball will give it a go, and Bacon can compete with M.I.J. and Gutterboy’s Mom, but just forcing this to three games would be a huge accomplishment. Nice job on Sunday though, Fury.
#8 Happy Hands (8-4) -1 vs #9 Pinny Candy (6-6): The other 8/9 game, and another one that looks like a barn-burner. Happy Hands had an excellent season that ended with a bit of a rough patch. Actually, they did lose some games at the end but they were starting to bowl better. Marv Gomez has been their leader on the lanes, but The Munj has shown excellent improvement and Sasha Northfield is a proven commodity. They are battle tested and hungry for a playoff win.
Pinny Candy has had an up and down year. They started an amazing 5-0, then lost six straight before finishing with a win. They’d like nothing more than to cap it with a playoff victory and to go down in a blaze of glory next week against Back In Black. Skittles has dominated the practice lanes, taking home top bowler honors pretty much every other week, but she has yet to bring those games to BoPo. No time like the present. The Three Senators all need to have big games but nothing they haven’t done before. I would love to see a bowl-off in this one.
#4 B.U.I. (9-3) -3 vs Incredibowls (6-6): This one is going to be very interesting. B.U.I. has had a good if turbulent first season. They had a captain turnover, and have gotten upset by losses and seeding issues. They need to get their focus back on the task at hand to advance to the second round. They don’t have a leader per se, but they do an excellent job of just blanketing the scoreboard with solid scores and taking the points that are there for them. All of their bowlers are capable of being the leader, and none of them are easy marks for opponents’ three and four bowlers.
The Incredibowls are playoff proven. They tend to come together under higher pressure situations. This one has the recipes for an upset – proven veteran playoff squad versus rookie squad. But I haven’t been able to play out the winning scenario in my head, B.U.I. seems too deep. I will be excited to watch this one.
#10 Off Constantly (6-6) -1 vs #7 Sweet Rolls (8-4): Very interesting. The defending champs have looked wobbly all year, but here they are in the playoffs and until beaten they are the champs. Can Sweet Rolls land the final uppercut? Everyone knows about OC – Oz, McQueen, #1 and Tron, Honey Bunny and Coucou, and Dick Liquor – all household names. They are the only team with multiple titles, and they have a lot of pride, but have struggled all season. Can they just turn it on in the playoffs? We shall see soon enough,
The Sweet Rolls are no pushover, and probably not who OC would like to be seeing in the first round. They have some playoff success too, and they are not going to be intimidated by OC. They have an interesting tactical edge too given their straight balls won’t be impacted by changing lane conditions. Hot Tamale and Cookie Monster will need to lead the way, but Frenchy is going to have to step up and grab some points in Sweet Rolls hope to pull off the win. This could be a fun one.