I had intended to do the poll review(s) and follow-up during the event but circumstances conspired to foil my plans--the wifi at the Courtyard Marriott sucked--and made trying to crank out a post on my Kindle HD both interminable and tedious. (Yes, so both. So I stopped trying.) But that was then and this is now and here we go.
Let's begin with the poll asking which pro teams would make the Sunday Six. The far-and-away favorite was Houston Heat because paintballers have never seen a bandwagon they weren't prepared to jump on and, oh yeah, there was that small matter of winning three events last year. Tied for second in the voters' opinion were Damage, last season's World Cup runner-up and the new look Ironmen. Solidly in third was Moscow Red Legion followed by Infamous and then another tie for fifth, Dynasty and Impact. As it turned out the picks were right on target with the exception of the Russians. In a tough bracket with no way of knowing how strong Impact would be early in the season somebody was going to miss out and this time around it was the Russians--although they remain in the Champions bracket.
Receiving the bye Sunday morning were Damage and Infamous which left match-ups between Heat versus Impact and Ironmen versus Dynasty. In the prelims Damage had played like clockwork while Infamous faced more of an uphill battle. Impact defeated Heat in a close contest, Dynasty handled the Ironmen after some early match back and forth to lock in the semi-final match-ups; Damage versus Impact and Dynasty versus Infamous. Damage controlled their match until the final minutes when Impact made a last ditch run at them closing out the game one point shy of a tie. Infamous also seemed in control until the very last minute when they got a major penalty. Dynasty parlayed the penalty into 3 quick points, including the point the penalty was called on, that saw them hang the game winner almost literally between the time clock going double zeros and the horn sounding. As the horn defines the course of the match Dynasty was awarded the controversial hang and the win by the narrowest of margins.
That set up a Damage and Dynasty final won by the boys in blue who have kicked off the PSP season in style.
The other poll active last week wanted to know which of the fifteen teams competing as pros in Dallas would be relegated to the new pro Challengers bracket for the next event. While y'all did an excellent job of calling the Sunday Six you were less successful naming the Challenger Five. Counting down from fifth--or is that up from fifth?--the voters chose XSV. Followed by TonTons then Aftershock in third, second was Seattle Thunder and in first, as most likely to be relegated, was Chattanooga CEP. The two teams outside the top (bottom?) five with the most votes were Upton 187 Crew and Omaha Vicious. So while not completely on target the relegated 5 teams came from the group of seven that received the most votes. The surprise of the event was CEP staying in Champions and playing some solid winning paintball--particularly in their match against X-Factor. It was a statement game for CEP and for X-Factor the difference between fending off relegation and playing in the Sunday Six. That is what every diehard fan has to look forward to from here on out. Each event 10 teams will be going to war. It will also be interesting to see how the Challengers bracket unfolds with the angry players and teams determined to rejoin the Champions as soon as possible it will be trial by fire for the new Challengers. The other "upset" if you can call it that was the strong play of the TonTons who came in as both the unknown and outsiders and showed the fans of the PSP (and their fellow competitors) they can compete with the best. With the saving play from CEP and TonTons that put 187, Vicious and X-Factor into jeopardy and the Sunday morning relegation avoidance playoffs. In the first match of the morning 187 held off Vicious sending them to the Challengers bracket and in the final pairing X-Factor beat 197 in match that was tighter than the score might suggest, a win that also saw 187 relegated for the next event.
Next time, wrapping up the PSP Dallas Open. All the comings and goings from the Open 10-man to the new rulebook, the expanded pro reffing crew and herding goats.