Despite the cool May weather and a dull off-week, IM soccer has heated up as teams look toward the playoffs. Now that records have beefed up a little, there is plenty to report, and some early season predictions deserve another look. But first, some quick speculations on the playoff structure resulting from the shortened season.
It looks like many teams will only have played a three-game season at the end of normal play next week. This will probably leave several five-team groups with two undefeated teams. Additionally, because of the shortened season, there is a rumor that the IM office will take only one team from each group for the playoffs, regardless of group size. Thus, in several groups, goal differential, not talent or quality, might decide who makes the playoffs. So first, quality teams be warned; this is your last week to put up big numbers. Second, if this seems a little ridiculous, as it should, complain to the IM office so the playoff teams are sure to reflect the best from each group, and not the teams that have had the weakest competition.
Speaking of shortened seasons, the women's league finally got underway last week, and it seems most of my initial predictions have come trueso let me congratulate myself. The BJ Supapigs are the big story in the women's undergraduate league. They won their first game against Tufts by forfeit, and their second against the Netters 4-2. Since Tufts is the only undergraduate team with any chance to beat them, BJ has pretty much secured the group. However, Tufts did win a punishing 12-6 victory this week without a full squad, so if they manage to show up and make the playoffs, they will remain a force to be reckoned with. Despite my miscall on the quality of the Netters, my confidence in Apathy was not unfounded; they listlessly moped to a 10-2 victory over Anastamoses. The women's championship is already pretty much narrowed down to Apathy, BJ, and Tufts; the rest is just details.
The men's league, however, is a tougher call. There are a lot of undefeated teams who haven't really been tested and a few groups in which the play has been completely schizophrenic. Among the undefeated teams, Phi Delt A, Big Daddy FC, and Breckenridge are all quality teams with weak competition. There is no way to tell how strong they really are until the playoffs. Broadview, another undefeated squad, doesn't seem to have much talent. However, they won their only tough game, against Fallers, by forfeit. While these undefeated teams waltz through the last week and into the playoffs, a whole slew of other teams that showed some early promise have produced lukewarm results. Both the Cool Sex Penguins and Colonel Mustard, two of my personal favorites, looked impressive in their first two games, but both teams have rather mysterious losses to mediocre squads. Fallers House won massive victories early in the season as well, but they have also forfeited a game, and most recently they tied one of the poorer teams in the league 3-3. It seems that attendance issues have plagued all the teams in the past few weeks, and I think this explains the streaky performances and the lack of competition for consistent, organized teams.
Somewhat contradictorily, in this column's game of the week an incomplete Breck team made fools of the consistent, numerous, but all-too-accurately described Cornfed Doughboys. The Breckenridge team has a smooth organized possession game that doesn't produce as many goals as other quality teams, but it does make it much harder for unskilled teams to net lucky goals. They controlled play both in the air with some fabulous heading and on the ground with unrushed, organized passing. Playing one man short, they dominated the clumsy but determined Doughboys, and despite letting up one goal due to fatigue, Breck controlled the game and won it 4-1. However, if they do make the playoffs, and I expect they will, they have to field a full team. Otherwise, deeper teams with skilled players will demolish them.
There were some other great games this week: Phi Delt A scored a win with a most of their team in Kentucky, Big Daddy FC put on a clinic for HKSA, and Apathy played a really impressive one against Anastamoses. I can't cover them all, but, as this week's rankings show, I am paying attention, and I hope this last week of IM soccer will be a good one.
1. Past Our Prime (1-0)- I had it wrong last time, but these guys are the real varsity soccer seniors.
2. Big Daddy FC (2-0)- Their 10-0 win shows they are living up to their potential.
3. Mighty Squirrels (1-0)- Their only game was a 10-1 victory, and there is always a good grad team.
4. Breckenridge (2-0)- They have impressive talent and a 9-1 goal differential.
5. Phi Delt A (2-0)- They come together when it counts. That's brotherhood.
6. Colonel Mustard (2-1)- They have beaten some quality teams.
7. Snatch FC (1-1)- They came back strong in their second game with a shutout.
8. Cool Sex Penguins (2-0-1)- Skills, organization, and a good sense of humor.
9. Broadview (3-0) A mediocre team, but they have an impressive record.
10. Fallers (2-1-1) I still believe in these guys. They know how to find the net.
1. BJ Supapigs (2-0)- Their practice and organization has paid off.
2. Apathy (1-0)- Despite the name, they mean business.
3. Tufts (1-1)- If they get it together they still have the most talent.