While I think a few teams outside the top 10 could conceivably win this thing, the top 10 all definitely have a shot. There are favorites this year but I do believe the pool of teams that can at least reach the finals is 12-13 teams deep, which is just an awesome testament to the development of BoPo. Oh and this will be my one mention of the TOC results. In-N-Out cruised to the Finals. Katie Made Bakery from Restuarant league made it to the Finals with a bowloff win (Gutterboy over Natro), then won their rematch game with In-N-Out setting up a bowloff for the title. Hungus edged Gutterboy 206-201 for the giant trophy, then he hugged it and started rocking back and forth like a crazy person. The Spring Tournament of Champions will feature two Champs each from Casco Bay Monday and Wednesday (shorter leagues), two teams from Winter Restuarant, and 4 semifinalists from BoPo (since no Media and Business in Spring).
Here are the A division crossover matchups:
Back in Black: GOB, TDYOB, LOS
S.O.D.: Yay!, UREA!, LOS
Body English: GOB, TDYOB, LOS
Yahtzee: BUI, Linguists, Leisure Rolls
Saucy Posse: BUI, Leisure Rolls, Bowled&Beautiful
Nutz: Young&Bowled, BUI, Linguists
Bingas: UREA!, Linguists, Bowled&Beautiful
OC: Yay!, GOB, Young&Bowled
Turkey Club: YAY!, TDYOB, Young&Bowled
Hazzard: UREA!. Young&Bowled, Leisure Rolls
Start getting pumped!
#10 Turkey Club – Tuesday A: This team made a Cindarella run to the Finals in their opening season but took a step back last year as everyone went after them. Tango brings a spotlight on the team that guarantees strong showings from their opponents. That said Tango had an outstanding, critic defying Draft season finishing in the top 10. He and Captain Roadhouse are interchangeable as #1a and #1b, but then what? Herk is still around and he’ll be playing a ton as the team had its free agent plan unravel in an ugly way. They thought they had Deputy wrapped up (so did several other teams) but he couldn’t resist the lure of the moonshine in Hazzard County. When those negotiations collapsed Samsquampch had taken the hint and left to start a new squad. Maybe they have a ringer free agent they haven’t announced yet. Bora Bora and Two Koops will really need to step their games up to keep XXX Club in the upper echelon, particularly with folks gunning for them. As I write this I realize that maybe Yay! should have taken this spot in the top 10, but there’s no going backwards so lets see if the Club can handle the high ranking.
#9 Strikes of Hazzard – Tuesday A: Look out y’all, the Hazzard clan is for real! Last year this team pulled it together to make a run to the quarterfinals. That’s pretty heady stuff, but they didn’t rest on their laurels. Instead they signed the biggest name free agent to join BoPo since Bama in General Lee (aka Terry Robinson). All eyes will be on him but I have no doubt he’ll live up to the hype. Then of course they have a great returning crew. The Deputy has been a solid number one for a top team, but now he is free to have an occasional off night and will be an awesome #1B. Uncle Jesse has crazy score swings but is a great #3 with plenty of 200 potential, and Luke is the perfect team-first #4 for a contender. Marne Asada has developed a reputation as a steely competitive roller, and new addition Sizzou is used to being around winners. These guys have all the pieces this year – a great top two, solid woman, a number three with big potential and the energy guy at 4. It’s a proven combination for winning in BoPo.
#8 Yahtzee! – Tuesday A: The third team to end with an exclamation point. Cool! So, Cheddar is back. You may remember him from his bricks on the wall, or maybe a 2010 BoPo title. Last seen in BoPo collapsing with injury after Body English’s stunning 1st round collapse in 2012, he went back to his roots (Wisconsin), briefly, to regain his bowling mojo. Now he’s back, via Tennessee, and healthy (and employed!) He has tried to build a team following the 2012 Walkaways model. He brings in Pauly ‘The Long Swing” Ringwald from Cunning Linguists. That guy is hungry to win. He also added Bowldemort who crashed the BoPo scene with a big Kingshit tourney run and handled himself well in his first Draft League. Then he adds candlepin wizard Sparkles who not only brings tremendous accuracy but should be the go to guy for keeping the team loose as they will need that energy. On the women side it appears Babe Froman (FKA Duchess) will be playing with them, and Lala will join too (making the matchup with XXX Club even juicier). These guys have lots of good bowlers and a hall of fame Captain, the only question mark will be chemistry and resilience. Sparkles helps with that but until we see this team play for a few weeks together and face a little adversity, they start at #8.
#7 Bingas – Tuesday A: Is this the year Bingas returns to prominence? They have a great group of rollers, the Captain Jerk is defending Top Dawg, they are the partying-est squad in the top 10, and definite fan favorites if they reach the big game. SO what’s holding them back? Well last year they had to deal with Tso’s samurai injury. They actually bowled well when he was out, with Hot Mango stepping up to fill the void and bowling great. He’s their sparkplug (he’s won the Sparkplug Award in the past) and they feed off his strikes. When Tso returned Mango lost his edge and the team struggled to get a rhythm back. This year they’ll have all year to get on the same page. Cookie had a strong year in Draft League and gives Binga’s two equal #2 bowlers behind Jerk. Chernobylayne you can pencil in for a 145-150 average, which is enough for them to win a lot of matches. PB&J helps keep the team’s heads on straight and helps keep them loose (which is good when Jamaican Jerk tightens up). These guys could average 660+ pretty easily. That’s contender material. They could smoke some fools this Winter, and with a full year of Tso and a much improved Cookie this could be the year they return to prominence.
#6 Sons of Danarchy – Tuesday A: The first big surprise, perhaps. SOD had a much loftier ranking last year and they are still solid but this is a what have you done for me lately league. SOD hasn’t made any steps backwards and they will continue their strategy of wearing down opponents with depth. Diesel just won another Draft league title and so is presumably the team’s #1, but they don’t really operate that way. On any given night it could be The Dentist, or Dwayne Luther, or even the juvenated Booth. They also have the best 1-2 punch in the league on the ladies’ side with Valley Girl and McStriker. They will win a lot, and probably finish in the top two or three because they are definitely the deepest team 1 through 6. Come playoff time, though, sometimes it’s nice to just have a horse to ride. I could end up eating my words on this one as they have more talent than a #6 team, but we’re talking about some really good teams, mostly with BoPo playoff pedigrees, in front of them. Here you go guys, some good bulletin board material for motivation.