Saturday, May 14, 2005

A New Format for Nationals (Part 2)

Further to my earlier post, here is how the 2005 Nationals results would have alloted extra bids for the 2006 Nationals:

1) Garden City (Defending Champion- Automatic Qualification)
2) Southeast Region (Condors)
3) Northeast Region (NYC)
4) West Region (LA THC)
5) Southeast Region (Atlanta THC)

Northeast (2 Bids + Defending Champion)
Southeast (3 Bids)
West (2 Bids)

Taking into account geography here's how I would initially assign the regions for the 2006 Nationals. I only used the 12 elite teams and the top 8 from Div I here is the breakout. There may be some other teams that want to participate.

Northeast (2 Bids + Defending Champion)
1) Garden City (Defending Champion- Automatic Qualified)
2) New York City
3) New England
4) Cleveland Vipers
5) USA Deaf (assumes Wash DC- Galluadet Univ)
6) West Point

Southeast (3 Bids)
1) Condors
2) Atlanta
3) Carolina THC
4) Carolina Blue
5) FIU
6) Houston Stars
7) Houston Firehawks

West (2 Bids)
2) Cal Heat
3) Santa Clarita
4) Utah
5) Kansas City
7) CSU


Northeast: Garden City has automatically qualified and NYC is a strong favorite to qualify. New England, Cleveland (Div 1 Runner-up), USA Deaf, and West Point fight for the remaining bid.

Southeast: The Condors and Atlanta are strong favorites to qualify. The 3rd bid is a dogfight between the other 5 clubs.

West: The California teams (LA, Cal Heat, and Santa Clarita) will duke it out with the Div 1 Champ Utah for their 2 bids.

Potential Formats:

Northeast: The first question the Northeast teams will need to consider is whether Garden City participates in their regional competition. If Garden City does participate, they will need to factor that in to their format. (i.e. they need to make sure that the 3rd place team and likely final bid goes to the third best team, not just the team that had fortunate bracketing. With the exception of West Point, none of these teams, to my knowledge, have organised any significant tournaments. Hopefully the need for regional qualifers will change that. With only 6 teams, it would be possible to have a simple round robin competition over one weekend to determine the seeding. A tournament in New York would be within driving distance of all the teams. Maybe the Deaf Team could host it at Gallaudet? They certainly have the facilities there. Only New England would have to buy some plane tickets.

Southeast: While several clubs have demonstrated the ability to host competition, geographically, this area is a little more challenging. The Houston and FIU teams are pretty much out of driving range. It's also quite possible that this region is larger than 7 teams. Perhaps teams could be grouped together into 3 groups of 3. For example, (3 Houston teams), (3 Atlanta teams), (2 NC, and FIU). The Houston teams could travel to NC and play the 2NC and FIU teams. The 2NC and FIU teams could travel to Atlanta and play the Atlanta teams. And the Atlanta teams could travel to Houston to play the Houston teams. This would result in a 9 team round robin while requiring every team (with the exception of FIU) to travel only once. (Sorry, FIU, but Miami is a long drive from anywhere)

West: This region could use the format that I described in the previous post.

Is this format workable? I say YES. With all of the tournaments now being played it should be simple to substitute a portion of that tournament slate into some regional qualifiers. And while its nice to get a California Gold Cup T-shirt or a Carolina Blue Cup trophy, I think it would be better to play for a ticket to the big dance at Nationals. While there's bound to be disagreements that will arise in getting organized, I think just about everyone prefers to decide seeding and qualification on the court rather than by a committee.


At May 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I think you have a great point. I like your idea with the regional qualifications, however, I think that both of this years champions, Elite and Men's Div, should have an automatic seat in next years. The current format is really bad. I really think that some teams that played in Elite this year shouldn't have been there. Cleveland and Utah would have been strong contenders in the Elite.

At May 25, 2005, Blogger John Ryan said...

The problem with awarding the Men's Division Champ an automatic bid is that an argument could be made that other teams in the Elite Division could have won the lower division too if they had played there. Theoretically, the worst team in Elite could be better then the best team in Div 1. That is why some European Leagues will have a relegation match between the two teams to determine who moves up or stays in the top division.

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