WFTDA Announces 2012 Tournament Seeding
West Playoffs | September 21-23, Richmond, CA | Host: Bay Area
Tournament Bracket via WFTDA
The West is definitely the region with the most dramatically changed outlook this year. Though 8 out of the 10 teams are returning, there is only one (6W Rat City) entering in the same slot they occupied last year, new 4W Oly and 5W Rocky Mountain are out of the first two slots for the first time since mid-2010, 7W Arizona is back in the playoffs for the first time since February 2007, and 9W Wasatch makes their first postseason appearance ever.
The top seeds this time go to 1W Rose City and 2W Denver, who split their two games this year by wildly different scores -- Rose won 151-115 in May but Denver crushed Rose 306-77 just last weekend (but long after the votes for rankings had closed). Given the very tough competition just below them, though, it's not inconceivable that both teams could be stopped shy of the championship game.
Hosted by Bay Area slightly north of their home turf of Oakland, this one will kick off with 8W Angel City vs 9W Wasatch in what's a major grudge match for both teams. With Wasatch not having a very strong strength of schedule this year, almost all of their case for going top-ten was based on a tiny 4 point win over a somewhat shorthanded Angel City in May. This match provides an opportunity for Wasatch to prove it wasn't a fluke, and an opportunity for Angel City to gain revenge. Either way, though, it'll also provide the winner with an opportunity to face 1W Rose City -- though Rose looked a little shaky with under-experienced jammers in their most recent outing, they're likely to not have much trouble in their first game here.
The other opening-round match, 7W Arizona vs 10W Sacred, looks on paper like it will favor Arizona -- AZRD hasn't proved to be quite the juggernaut it looked like it was capable of becoming early in the season, but sheer talent and growing team cohesion should give them the upper hand over Sacred, whose results this year have been solid but not arresting. The winner takes on 2W Denver in quarterfinal action, with Denver looking tougher than ever and having smashed Sacred 220-59 during the consolation rounds of last year's playoffs.
Things get extremely interesting in both of the other quarterfinals. The 3/6 match, 3W Bay Area vs #6 Rat City, is a rematch of a June 23 game that Rat City lost in stunning fashion, committing an extremely late-game jammer penalty that allowed Bay Area to score the game-winning points after period time had expired. Rat City played spoiler from the 6 position last year, upsetting 3W Denver on the first day, and certainly has the potential to do it again. Whoever gets out of this one would almost certainly face Denver in the quarterfinals.
The 4/5 game, 4W Oly vs 5W Rocky Mountain, could be even more fascinating given its context. The mere existence of the game means that for the first time since 2009, the West playoff final will not be Oly vs Rocky Mountain. It also will represent the first time since both teams' major roster restructuring following the 2011 season -- a restructuring that saw three key RMRG players transfer to Oly -- that they face each other. Of all the first-round games played in the four regional tournaments, it's fair to expect this one will be the most hotly anticipated.