A Smart Man’s Top Ten: (Slightly Less Premature)

First, let me talk about the preseason tournaments. The two I know about are the Midseason Invitational in West Virginia and the Michigan Invitational. Comparing the two, I came to some conclusions.

New York, Kentucky, and New Jersey came to both. So, basically to see which tournament has the better teams, you must compare the three Florida teams and West Virginia to Faith (SC), Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. That is a tough decision. I could lean one way or another, but the more I look at it, the more I am convinced that they are about even. I guess where Michigan has the clear edge is looking at the teams outside the top 7. Faith (MI) and Calvary (SC) are clearly superior to North Carolina and Virginia.

One area where you are not sure which produces the advantage is the inclusion/exclusion of second teams. A word to the four coaches of New York. When you are only allowed to field one team, you should not rotate 21 quizzers. Just choose your top 5-6 and go with them. There is a time to hurt feelings and this may be that time.

One area where the advantage is clearly with the midseason in West Virginia is the playoff system. A team with 14 points missed the playoffs in Michigan. This means that a team could get a middle win in every quiz and then be eliminated. In addition to that flaw, two teams make the playoffs with solid days (Illinois and New York, for example) get a middle win in just one quiz and all of a sudden, their day is over. This is completely contrary to everything we have all learned to love about Bible Quiz, particularly three team quizzing. Give me at least a traditional single elimination event.

Now for the list of teams, which while still premature, is now much more informed than it was a month ago. Remember, I have UCF as five and a half, but they will be left out of many tournaments. Come to the FQA Finals to see how great they can be.


#1 Kentucky
As if there were any doubt.

The more I want to demote this team, the more I feel I cannot. Jesse Startup says that the best quizzer he has seen this year is Praise Santos (and he has seen Aaron and Autumn and presumably himself). Since Aaron was the best at Michigan, I’ve got to assume this team is a solid #2 by virtue of that alone.

#3 Faith (SC)
I have never been more uncomfortable with my #3-#5 differentiation. If Michigan had a complete tournament, I might be able to gradiate. Tough to do at this point. Evan Bryson and Leah Forsythe lead a team that is deeper than any other.

#4 Colorado
Call it a hunch. Last year they were great at SCQANIT, but they faltered at their own tournament and AACS. They were eliminated at their own event, because of Andrew Scott’s selflessness and they were the second seed after the round robin. I think this is a team that is going to pick up consistency and be among the best.

#5 Calvary (FL)
The more I see this year, the more this team weighs on my consciousness. They are probably the best team of five quizzers. Their top quizzer, who appeared to be Kelsey Davies, is not as good as the top quizzer of any of the other top teams. But, they could have won the West Virginia event and while strategy is clearly a weakness, I cannot see them falling too far.

#6 New York
I am totally punishing the coaches here. No doubt, that outside of Faith’s 8 PQA teams, noone approaches New York’s depth. But in an event where you will not quiz more than nine total quizzes, you cannot work a 17-quizzer rotation. Pick five and go with them. If you don’t, you risk a poor performance in a tournament (by your own lofty standards).

#7 Pennsylvania
Old Paths returns to my top ten. They were very impressive, and I was not thinking they would be strong. I was very impressed with them. They did well achieving third place (but 20 points away from first).

#8 New Jersey
In the roughest tournament around, they had a nice showing, beating New York. I realized that they were missing key components at the Midseason in West Virginia and I ranked them a little too low. Major props to this team.

#9 Truth (FL)
OK, this newcomer is very good. 5th at the Midseason was excellent. Not sure what else they intend to attend, but they have tickled my fancy early.

#10 Texas
Has anyone been more consistent since 1991?

Near Misses

Calvary (SC) who showed me something at the Peach State, but they missed the playoffs at the Michigan event. It is very difficult to evaluate a team when their only two tournaments are both whacky.

Open Door (FL) is a team I see as the essential equal of Calvary. That having been said, I must move them together. Athens will help me differentiate, I hope.

Wisconsin has the world’s coolest name–Mukwanago. However, after making the playoffs, they fell flat in my opinion and did not contend. Of course, everyone has a bad quiz, so what can you do with such a weird tournament? They will beat some top ten teams, but they won’t be quite good enough to be a top ten team this year, in my opinion.

Michigan misses the playoffs at their own event. I can’t include them. Of course the way they missed (with middle wins) is what disturbs me about the entire event.

Missouri will be mediocre until AACS where they will do really well and everyone will wonder how we overlooked them.

Virginia (Heritage, that is) has decided to host a very small invitational with Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey! That will be telling.

West Virginia could crack this list by the end of the year, but after their showing at the Midseason, they seem to be just outside of the elite group.

North Carolina could crack this list by the end of the year, but after their showing at the Midseason, they seem to be just outside of the elite group.

Valley lost their pastor, quiz coach, and bus driver. I don’t foresee them doing real well this year. I do believe they will eventually rebound, but that is too great of a loss for even this powerhouse to overcome.

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