2014 Champaign League – PLAYOFF PREVIEW (Oct. 29)

Updated: October 30, 2014

Playoffs!?  Playoffs!? PLAYOFFS!  They are here gentlemen.. In just two short weeks we will be left with NEW Champs of the Champaign League.  Tons will happen between now and then.. All we know for sure is that 1 of the 8 Teams left standing will etch their place in history.  Before we get any further, here’s a Link to the Weekly Video Highlights!  This week the Power Rankings turns into a Playoff Preview.. We’ll go through our four Elite8 Matchups and give some insight.

For those who haven’t participated in the All Sports Series Playoffs before — here’s a Link to the Playoff Bracket and here’s how the Champaign League will decide the Champs:  Next Wednesday (Nov. 5) —  The Elite8 Teams will compete in Softball with the winners advancing to the following week.  Then on the Championship Wednesday (Nov. 12) The Final4 will be flag football followed immediately by the Championship Game which is played on the Hoops Court!  Just a reminder the Champs will take home not just sweet All Sports Series T’s but a FREE Barn Dance from Farm Lake Barn!  OK Let’s Preview ‘Em!

Champaign League Playoff Preview

Elite8 Softball

1. Team ZBT (Biaggi’s Black) v. 8. Team ATO 16s (Testing Timers)

ZBT has been atop the mountain all season long.  They started out quickly with wins in Hoops and Softball before cementing their place at #1 in the both the Power Rankings and the Standings with a Volleyball Tourney win..  They really have not looked back since.  They’ve been on cruise control for some time as they knew they had looked up a top spot in the Playoffs for a while now.. That hopefully will not come back to bite them.. They took their first true L of the season this past Wednesday Night as #5 Team SAEs had a come from behind win to close the Season.. Some have made mention that ZBT chose to “rest their starters” in Week 7 as they had already locked up the #1 seed.. Honestly, none of this really matters now.. They are the #1 Seed and will need to bring their A-Game to get past the Cinderellas from the 2013 Playoffs.. Team ATO 16s just snuck into the Playoffs, just like last year and they hope that once again they can wear that glass slipper.  This is going to be tighter than your prototypical 1v8 Game. Expect a low scoring affair where the Team who makes the least amount of mistakes in the field will be moving on to the Final4.

4. Team SAE 17s (Cookie Jar) v. 5. Team SAE 15s (Farm Lake Barn)

Well isn’t this interesting.. Not only do we have the 4/5 matchup, which is typically the most evenly matched Game, but we get both SAE Teams staring each other in the face with a spot in the Final4 on the line! It’s so interesting that its the Campus Florist Game of the Night.   It goes without saying that these two clubs know each other well and that there will be an added amount of pride on the line during Wednesday’s Elite8 showdown.  Both SAE squads had great years — as evidenced by their Top 5 finishes in an extremely deep and tough 2014 Champaign League.  It was all the way back in Week 2 (over a month ago) when these squads both took to the Softball diamond.. Now a lot has changed since then, but if you are going to base the favorite on the Week 2 Results — you’d say that the elder statesmen – the 15s are the ones to beat here.  They won their softball game in exciting fashion over Team ATO 14s.. While, the 17s dropped their softball game to Team Evans Scholars.  Now, it would not be wise to think its a foregone conclusion that the Seniors roll on here.. The Sophomore group has a ton of fight in them and really have what it takes to win the whole thing.  In any event SAE will be represented in the Final4 and get a chance to play for the right to enter the Championship Game.. So who’s it going to be?

2. Team Evans Scholars (iHotel) v. 7. Team ATO 14s (Houlihan’s)

Evans Scholars has really taken the League by storm in their Rookie Season.  It’s incredibly rare for a group to do what they have done in their first year (let alone the highly competitive Champaign League).  That being said, these guys are hungry and they know they haven’t accomplished anything that will truly get them remembered.. just yet!  They were fantastic in softball over a month ago and in terms of softball, this might be the best played Game of the night.. That of course includes the other Team’s softball ability — Team ATO 14s.  They have been flying a bit under the radar this season and is thanks to a slow start.. They however are 2013 Final4 participants and know what it takes to win in the Playoffs.. They won in the Elite8 softball Round a year ago and even though they have a tough matchup, everyone on the Roster feels as if they can do it again.. This is a truly interesting matchup with both squads having potential to win the whole thing.. To do that, they’ll need to get past one another first!

3. Team Sig Ep (Starr Limo) v. 6. Team AKL (Biaggi’s Purple) 

This slate of Playoff Games are really intriguing.. The way the seeding broke down gave us a classic David v. Goliath with the 1/8, SAE v. SAE 4/5, two of the stronger softball squads with the 2/7 and then finally the Redemption Game with the 3/6.  You see, both Sig Ep and AKL were apart of All Sports Series in 2013.. But neither finished on the high note that they so desperately craved.  Sig Ep entered the 2013 Playoffs as the #2 Seed and one of the true favorites to win the Crown (much like this year). However, it was not meant to be as they were bounced by the Cinderella ATO team (aka David mentioned above) in the Elite8 Round before their Playoff journey ever really took flight… As for AKL.. They just missed out on the Playoff party last year.. That’s really what drove them in the off-season to create and meld a well-rounded/more talented bunch in 2014.   Fate has brought these two Teams together this year and only one can move on to the Final4, while the other will once again go home thinking “what if?”  Personally can’t wait for this one!

That’s it for the Playoff Preview.  Have a great and safe Halloween! ILL!

– Holden