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Unread 03-28-2007, 02:59 AM
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Predictions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show... ...Part 1

In true sports prediction fashion I hit a few balls out of the park last week but in all honesty, I was called out on strikes a lot too. But, I'll let the looking back and the Monday Morning Quarterbacking for other, these posts are about... PREDICTIONS!!!


GM/Technion Israel
While it is still Tues. here in my California hotel where I am staying on business, it is already FRIDAY at the Gm/Technion Israel regional (or the equiv. of Friday since they have already played 40+ matches).

I won't lie to you, almost all these teams are a total mystery to me, but there were 2 teams that are on my radar screen. Here are two quotes from tipsters:

Quote:
1574 looks like it has a functional ramp (which will probably be tough in a very very young, 34 team regional), and possibly some scoring potential as well. This 116 mentee won the first two Israeli regionals, and seems like a strong contender to do so again.
Quote:
-1574 are the perennial (or as perennial as an area which started competing in 2005 is) favorites. They are one of the teams with access to a quality machine shop, and produced some of the better robots for the first two years.
-From videos I've seen, 1943 seem to have a hybrid that will do relativly well on the grand scale of things in the Israel regional.
Well, based on the results we have seen so far we are batting 500. As of "Friday Evening," Team #1574 is undefeated and the #1 seed. Team #1943 is ranked pretty low. But, as teams #4, #904, #1492 & #
2183 will tell you, seeding high is not always the road to success[1].

This is a young but growing regional. I look for good things to come in the future.

COLORADO
Colorado is in that middle ground. There are so many noisier regions: South, North East, MidWest, West Coast, Mid-Atlantic. Given all the fireworks going around on this week I am at a loss as to what to expect from The Rockies in Week 5.

So tipster notes:
Quote:
159 had a competitive bot last year, but they were plagued with mechanical failures during the elimination rounds, getting subbed out in both Denver and Atlanta. 662 had a dumper last year, they might go defensive/ramp this year?
Quote:
This is going to be a tough one. There isn't a single regional champion or regional finalist in this group.

Hard to tell who will do good...
Not exactly a lot to work with there fellas! You guys in the Mountain Time Zone, had better make some noise about the great things that are happening in your region. Let's hear what you've got to say.

Looking at the numbers, this should be a rough regional. 48 teams competing, 42 of them for the first time in Week 5. The median team number is over 1600 (the highest of any of the 10 Regionals this weekend except the one in Israel). There are no 2007 Champions or Finalist attending and, perhaps the strongest contributor to a bruising competition, this is the last scheduled competition this season for 45 of the 48 teams.

Bottom line: The Defensive Meat Grinder that I wrongly predicted for Waterloo in Week 4 is cranking out the robo-sausages in Denver this weekend.

Sacramento
This one has the making of deja vu all over again. The Sacramento has 22 teams competing in their 2nd (or third in the case of #114) competition of the 2007 season (60%). But 14 of those teams competed in San Jose. Could get interesting.

Some might make a big showing of the Poofs heading to another state this week but I think there are plenty of great teams left to head to the capital.

Team #114 was the number #1 seed in Silicon Valley. They picked #2 Seed, Team #100. They were eliminated in the Semi's due to some well played defense and a lack of a solid ramp. If Los Altos wins #1 Seed again (as they should) will they go with Woodside and Carlmont Robotics again? Hard choices but somebody's got to make 'em. They better get a good ramp if they want to advance to the final match and perhaps even bring home the big trophy.

This regional is packed with other talent. Finalist and Champions include Teams #766, #852, #997, #1280 & #1760.

The Raging Seabiscuits (Team #1280) is an interesting study in the FIRST Fates, they were partnered with #114 in OR in Week 1: 3 matches after lunch and they are packing up their pits. Week 3 rolls around, they they come to San Jose: Champs. Is it the team or the partners or both? Time will tell.

Before I get on to the other regionals this weekend, I have to put in 2 more plugs for two teams with ancient Greek names [2]:
Athenian Robotics Collective (ARC) (Team #852) and Spartan Robotics (Team #997) .

The Athenians are a strong scoring team, they should be in the running for a high seed. I hope their scouting team is up to the challenge of the draft -- get your list in order Friday night because there is not time for anything but a tweak here and a shift there on Saturday morning.

As to #997, of course they won big at the PNW Regional, and I hear tell they are a pretty good ramp/lift team which we know is often the difference between competing and winning, but I am REALLY pulling for them because they are out of
Corvallis, OR. Which is the home of my friend and coin op amusements competitors, Slambot by Morrowbotics. Mike Morrow is good people. You Spartan Robotics guys & gals should get him sucked into FIRST somehow.

Greater Toronto

Okay, Okay, I officially apologize to the the entire country of Canada for the huge missed prediction in Waterloo. I was wrong, but I won't make that mistake again this week.

62 teams in Toronto this weekend... ...10 of them, yes, TEN of them, were Finalist or Champions at another regional this season. Half of the teams have been to another regional this year. 8 of them are competing in there 3rd Regional this season. This regional is DEEP.

Of course there are the usual suspects. For the record, I am going with #1114 to be Number #1 Seed (for the 3rd time this season!). I suspect that Karthik and the rest of Simbotics scouting team will have their list in order. This regional is SO deep, the serpentine draft will not be an issue. They'll get the pick of the litter with their 1st pick and then they'll find a diamond in the rough for the 16th[3]. Look for some pitched battles, but #1114 has joined the ranks of the Poofs and Bristol-Myers Squibb: You may get tired of seeing them win week after week, but you don't dare bet against 'em.

Now to some other picks.

Look for #188 to be tough again this week. In their last outing, Woburn's Alliance was sent packing by a heartbreaking 27-28 loss in the 3rd match of their quarterfinals. I don't think that lightening will strike twice. Team #188 at goes at least as far as the Finals in Toronto. In many ways, The Greater Toronto Regional is the House that Woburn built.... ...but these guys have yet to be crowned king of that house. Is this the year? They'll be many pulling for them and many more hoping to take that crown home themselves. Whose House? Woburn's House!

Of course, everyone will be watching the Twins, #1503 & #1680 (a.k.a. Spartonics & Fesstronics), to see if they team up again this week. These two definitely have the tube mojo going on. If they get together after lunch again this week and the 3rd partner is a good rampbot... ...well let me just say that #1114 isn't all THAT unbeatable...

Expect a Standing O Canada for Team
296 the first (and maybe every) time they take the field in Toronto. Last year they became the first Canadian team to win a world championships. This will be their first time competing on Canadian soil since that triumphant win.

While I am fanning the flames of Canadian Nationalism, I have this note from a tipster:

Quote:
Last year was the first time since 2002 that an all Canadian alliance has won this event. Will the trend continue?
We shall see what we shall see...

From the Don't Forget About Me dept. I want observers of the Canadian Regional to keep your eye on Crescent Robotics (Team #610). They've got a long history. This team shows flashes of greatness. But as one tipster put it:
Quote:
Team 610, ready to take the next step? At Waterloo there were matches where they looked like one of the best tubers in all of FIRST. Unfortunately, they couldn't keep it going consistently. Will they get the bugs ironed out?
I think they are going to do it. Look for an off the hook and on the rack break out performance from Crescent Robotic... ...This week... ...In Ontario.

Finally this note. I am an American, I can't help myself, I have to plug at least 1, (no... ...2) American Teams. I have always been a fan of Hamilton Sundstrand/Windsor Locks team (Aces High #176). They were the #1 seed in CT and ended up a Finalist. I expect them to be a high seed again this weekend. If they can draft well or get picked up by the right drafting team, they could really go far.

My second pick is one I have not said enough good things about over the years. They have been a Great Team for years and years. Honestly, they have not always had the best robot on the field but I will tell you flat out, this is a team that GETS FIRST down to their DNA. I have to give a shout out Delphi E.L.I.T.E. They were Finalists in Pittsburg. They were Champs at the Buckeye Regionals. I expect great things from them in Toronto.



Palmetto

It is getting too late so I am going to have to short change someone somewhere. South Caroline is going to have to take one for the team.

I am going with a couple of quotes from tipster and a quick note or twol

Quote:
343 had bad luck in Week 1, losing a tight Semi-final match-up to the eventual champions after both of their alliance partners had issues. 2068s ramps didn't deploy correctly in SF2-2, and 612s wheel broke as well. Metal-in-Motion was clearly one of the best two tubing teams at VCU, and looks to step it up at their home regional. Rumor has it that they're adding a single 12" ramp for an additional 30 during the qualification matches. I'm not sure if they'll have an autonomous yet though. MiM is my favorite to bring home the hardware.
Have to agree here. Metal In Motion are Big Time Robot Builders. Look for good things to happen in South Carolina.

Quote:
1251 didn't have the weight issues that caused them to chop of the top of their bot last year. As a result, they took home the hardware in Florida. The Tech Tigers are dangerous, a strong offensive-defensive combo team. Their scoring isn't overwhelming, but its effective, and they are gritty, and can earn the highly contested points over some tough defense. Their ground clearance is low though, and it causes some issues with certain ramps, but they were able to ramp well with 86 in Florida.
We'll see. This is a tougher call. Everyone needs luck but I am thinking that perhaps 1251 needs too much luck to come out on top this weekend.

Another pick I have to squeeze in here is C.U.P.I.D. (Team #1539) They seeded #21 in Georgia and were picked up by the #8 Seed. I know some folks didn't give them much of a shot but there they are with that Big Blue Banner all over their bad selves ;-) They are a long shot by any stretch of a team that could surprise you.


To Be Continued....

I have to get some sleep. 5 more regionals to talk at you about.... stay tuned.

Joe J.


Notes:
[1] Each of these teams were the LAST SEED at a regional this year and made it to the Finals. Team #4 was #52 seed at LA and ended up Champs. Team #902 was seed #37 in Chicago and took home a blue banner. Team #1492 was seed #34 is AZ and was a Finalist there. Team #
2183 was seeded #37 in LA and made it to the Finals.

[2]And NOT just because they both have ancient Greek names. Believe it or not, I didn't even know that these two teams had that in common when I started writing this piece. Sometimes the magic just happens...

[3]How would you like to be still waiting to be drafted at the 12th, 13th, 14th, & 15th slot. Do you want to be drafted or do you hope that #1114 picks you on the 16th and final pick? If you get picked by #1114 on the last pick of the draft you become part of the alliance that everyone is betting will win the day, but if you are not the top team left on Karthik & Co.'s list, it is time to put your robot in the crate... ...I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. JJ


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Last edited by Joe Johnson : 03-30-2007 at 11:57 PM.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 04:25 AM
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post

COLORADO
Colorado is in that middle ground. There are so many noisier regions: South, North East, MidWest, West Coast, Mid-Atlantic. Given all the fireworks going around on this week I am at a loss as to what to expect from The Rockies in Week 5.

Quote:
159 had a competitive bot last year, but they were plagued with mechanical
failures during the elimination rounds, getting subbed out in both Denver and Atlanta. 662 had a dumper last year, they might go defensive/ramp this year?

Quote:
This is going to be a tough one. There isn't a single regional champion or regional finalist in this group.

Hard to tell who will do good...

So tipster notes:
Not exactly a lot to work with there fellas! You guys in the Mountain Time Zone, had better make some noise about the great things that are happening in your region. Let's hear what you've got to say.

Looking at the numbers, this should be a rough regional. 48 teams competing, 42 of them for the first time in Week 5. The median team number is over 1600 (the highest of any of the 10 Regionals this weekend except the one in Israel). There are no 2007 Champions or Finalist attending and, perhaps the strongest contributor to a bruising competition, This is the last scheduled competition this season for 45 of the 48 teams.

Bottom line: The Defensive Meat Grinder that I wrongly predicted for Waterloo in Week 4 is cranking out the robo-sausages in Denver this weekend.
We are a pretty quiet regional but it's just as hectic as any other. 662 has gone with a scoring bot. The 159 ordeal last year during regionals(we were the team that brought them up to elims but they got Chairman's anyway), most pressured time out for us then not only did the pin fall into their drive train, we found something wrong with our launcher and had to get it off, it sucked to watch the entire alliance go down during a time out during elims .

I know team
207 - competed at the Los Angelos Regional
555 - competed at the New Jersey Regional
945 - competed at the Florida Regional
1158 - competed at the Arizona Regional
1515 - competed at the Los Angelos Regional
1984 - competed at the Greater Kansas Regional
can't think of any that were at Waterloo

As for my predictions:
159: I think they're going with a score bot and it's similar to their 2005 bot, I could be wrong but I really wish I knew, I love that team every time the Colorado Regional comes around
207:I expect a mean game out of them, they made it to semi's I believe, at LA and so I think they'll be able to make it to elims
555:Their bot looks small in the picture compared to the tube, but the look of the standings at New Jersey, I don't think they will go far here, unless they have really really really good drivers because looking from Colorado team to Colorado Team, the drivers are just wow this year.
662: From scrimmage videos, they look to have pretty excellent drivers, I do expect them to be in elims.
945: eesh, I hope their bot is ready, Florida didn't look too good on them(of course I don't know what happened, I just know watching all the Florida matches, their bot was in two of the matches and they broke down pretty badly in the second match.)
1158:I defiantly expect them to be in elims., they always put out a pretty tough game when they come back from Arizona every year
1552:AH, 1636's favorite as always, they have a pretty sharp looking bot, we're excited to compete with them adn excited to see it in action
1583: A ramp bot, I believe it's 6ft. tall, from what I've seen at the scrimmage(I know, but that was a month ago), really good defense, appreciate the windows
1619:They had a really good bot last year, when we got eighth, we wanted team 159 and team 1619 but I don't remember what happened during the alliance pickings
1800:Most I can gather out of one of their teammates, they're a ramp bot, but I don't think they're done putting it together but he could be wrong, he wasn't there the last couple days, he said they still needed to get work done on it though

1636(I try not to make predictions about my own team but...):The robot is a more advanced version of the 2005 bot. The jack lift goes faster, the bot has even more torque, better drive train, and it's smooth. With the right drivers, it scores extremely well(from when it was just me running it in one minute), and our bot is quiet this year(2005, our jack lift, everyone knew when we ran it, 2006, our launcher, everyone defiantly knew when we ran it. Everyone was impressed by the hockey pucks), we have a ramp but it's so steep, that's why I think our ramp won't work, I predict we'll be taking it off on practice day *crosses fingers*. I think we'll make it to elims defiantly.

Predicting Finals is really iffy. It is every year.

My final thoughts for CO:
-Our dogtag give-a-aways are going to run out practice day
-A team 1636 member is going to win one of the IPOD shuffle raffle give-a-ways by DeVry and if Ms. Simmons was still the DeVry Rep she would freak out about it(because every year, someone on team 1636 always wins the first one.)
-There are a lot of mediocre looking bots but the majority of the teams have really mean drivers
-I expect a huge crowd this year because our competition is occurring our spring break.
-I've got more but it's getting pretty late for me.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 04:32 AM
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post

While I am fanning the flames of Canadian Nationalism, I have this note from a tipster:


Quote:
Last year was the first time since 2002 that an all Canadian alliance has won this event. Will the trend continue?
We shall see what we shall see...



And ironicly, it was the biggest year ever for an "American Invasion" of the GTR. With the number of American teams visiting the Great White North drasticly reduced this year ( ), I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the GTR return to its 2003-2005 roots with an American team on the winning alliance.

Quote:

My second pick is one I have not said enough good things about over the years. They have been a Great Team for years and years. Honestly, they have not always had the best robot on the field but I will tell you flat out, this is a team that GETS FIRST down to their DNA. I have to give a shout out Delphi E.L.I.T.E. They were Finalists in Pittsburg. They were Champs at the Buckeye Regionals. I expect great things from them in Toronto.
Quote:
Thanks, Joe. We have our work cut out for us - we are but a tiny defensive island in a raging sea of offensive juggernauts. It'll certainly be a different (not necessarily more) competitive atmosphere than Buckeye.
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

No pre week 5 update.... I'm surprised
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBoucher View Post
No pre week 5 update.... I'm surprised
Trust me. Week 5 hasn't started yet! We still have a good 27-28 hours until the pits open and you know as well as me that is enough time for anything. I just hope the update is not going to upset the mood of the regionals.

Pavan.
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Posted this in week 4, but since week 5's forecasts are in, I figured I'd put it in the appropriate place.

Colorado:

159

Sacramento:

100
114
997

GTR:

1114
610

Vegas:

233
254

Lone Star:

118
148
462

Palmetto:

1369
1626

Philadelphia:

103
365

Long Island:

234

West Michigan:

67
469
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post
Palmetto

It is getting too late so I am going to have to short change someone somewhere. South Caroline is going to have to take one for the team.

I am going with a couple of quotes from tipster and a quick note or twol

Have to agree here. Metal In Motion are Big Time Robot Builders. Look for good things to happen in South Carolina.

We'll see. This is a tougher call. Everyone needs luck but I am thinking that perhaps 1251 needs too much luck to come out on top this weekend.

Another pick I have to squeeze in here is C.U.P.I.D. (Team #1539) They seeded #21 in Georgia and were picked up by the #8 Seed. I know some folks didn't give them much of a shot but there they are with that Big Blue Banner all over their bad selves ;-) They are a long shot by any stretch of a team that could surprise you.
Geeze, the South gets cut short again? We're going to have to bring some sweet tea and barbecue to Dr. Joe in Atlanta to fix this for next season.

It did seem that 1251 was having a bit of trouble with tube wobble in the gripper at UCF. Whether this is just the rough nature of UCF or a design problem with their gripper is hard to tell, but I still have high hopes for the folks from Coconut Creek. (I have to--they're my FF pick!)

The sparkliest team in FIRST, the Burning Magnetos (342) came back from some drive problems last year with a nice, solid setup at UCF, solid enough to make it decently far down at Florida. There were some problems with the elevator (namely keeping it in place) early on, but seem to have that knocked out.

343 needs no introduction.

1539 did bring home the banner at Peachtree with 1369, however my source indicated that they spent much of the bracket on the sidelines with mechanical problems, hence 1848 coming in. However, if those gremlins get sorted out, I wouldn't bet against Clover.

1369 also needs no introduction.

386 was the last-minute alternate draw of the finalist 1902/179/108 alliance at UCF, and they nearly scored the keeper on a couple of occasions. Their suction-cup gripper seemed to have trouble grabbing with both cups, but I expect them to land on the good side of things at Palmetto.

My obligatory heart pick this year is team 1293, D5 Robotics. This is my first season not affiliated with them since their inception, but I've seen what they can do. Every year, one fatal flaw has found its way into their machines--window motor drive in 2004, undrivable casters in 2005, hopper jamming (and hard-to-access electronics) in 2006--but I can't find any of those problems with their 2007 robot. Smooth 80/20 elevator with window motors and a plenty-grippy treaded drive (with belts that seem to take the abuse). Two things can hold them back--one is that they're running four CIMs through the BaneBots gearboxes, and the other is that exactly zero members of the drive team from 2006 are returning to put on the badge. (Two graduated, one transferred to the Governor's School for Arts and Humanities, and one is me. ) However, seeing that they succeeded in thrashing their kit BaneBots gearboxes to within a micrometer of their lives before ship, perhaps experience won't be as much of an issue.

I'm not saying much about 1618, as I obviously have a conflict of interest large enough to drive a truck through there. I think it's a capable robot, and definitely the best the team's done--but don't ask me how it's going to measure up at Palmetto until Saturday night.

To step off of the field a bit, this year should also be interesting when it comes to Chairman's. 342 brought it home the first two years of the Palmetto Regional, but last year missed out in favor of 1398 (Keenan Robo-Raiders), who's been on a meteoric rise in that area. (Rookie All-Star in 2004, EI in 2005, Chairman's in 2006). Both are great teams--expect one more nail-biter after the rack gets unplugged.

I'm excited for this one.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 06:56 AM
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Look for #118 to be tough again this week. In their last outing, Woburn's Alliance was sent packing by a heartbreaking 27-28 loss in the 3rd match of their quarterfinals.
Psst.. I think you mean 188 .
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Unread 03-28-2007, 06:56 AM
JaneYoung JaneYoung is offline
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

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Originally Posted by Pavan View Post
I just hope the update is not going to upset the mood of the regionals.
Gracious Professionalism is an action word and it will be rocking these regionals, just like it always does.
Good luck to everyone!
Jane
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Unread 03-28-2007, 01:23 PM
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post
[3]How would you like to be still waiting to be drafted at the 12th, 13th, 14th, & 15th slot. Do you want to be drafted or do you hope that #1114 picks you on the 16th and final pick? If you get picked by #1114 on the last pick of the draft you become part of the alliance that everyone is betting will win the day, but if you are not the top team left on Karthik & Co.'s list, it is time to put your robot in the crate... ...I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. JJ
As someone who was in a similar situation, I got to admit it wasn't fun at all. At LVR last year, I believe we were about the 15th seed. We were picked by 25 and 987 with the 16th pick. It was very, very nerving to think we might have to pack up early. However, the sense of relief when you do get picked is amazing.

-Guy
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Unread 03-28-2007, 02:00 PM
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

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Originally Posted by neilsonster View Post
Psst.. I think you mean 188 .
I fixed this. I am borderline a dyslexic. 118 188 881 811 my mind has about a 50-50 chance of pulling the one I want from the list.

Thanks for pointing this out.

Joe J.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 02:04 PM
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Predictions are correct about the GM/Technion Israel regional.
We lost at the Semi-Finals(it's a success in our terms as rookies) and team 1574 Won the reigonal.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 02:06 PM
Jonathan Norris Jonathan Norris is offline
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post
Okay, Okay, I officially apologize to the the entire country of Canada for the huge missed prediction in Waterloo. I was wrong, but I won't make that mistake again this week.
No problem Joe, I think we showed a few people last week how this game was supposed to be played, and that yes we can play brutal D but we are growing beyond that.

GTR.... scares me.... there are soo many quality teams going there, thou surprisingly less American teams (only 5 or so). But of those American teams we got 48 with an awesome rampbot, 176 a very good tube scorer, and 269 who also looks good. Along with the likes of 296 (who were awesome at BAE), Saturday alliance selections are going to be VERY interesting. With what we saw from 854 last weekend there are going to be a few more TDSB team that are going to surprise people.

Thanks Joe for the plug, consistency in Waterloo was.... well nonexistent. It seemed like we had the worst luck on our side, from motors getting unplugged to radio's randomly dying... it got ugly. But i'll tell you the bugs are working their way out. This weekend should be a ton of fun, looking forward to not playing 1114 as much

edit: and Joe its the Greater Toronto Regional now not the Canadian Regional anymore since we also have Waterloo.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 02:38 PM
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Norris View Post
... This weekend should be a ton of fun, looking forward to not playing 1114 as much
In qualifying you guys played with 1114 four times and against them once. That can't be bad.

But I guess you'd rather not face them as often in the eliminations? Can't blame you for feeling that way. If your GTR performance is consistent and matches your best at Waterloo, you'll be able to solve that problem by picking 1114, or getting them to pick you.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 04:21 PM
Jonathan Norris Jonathan Norris is offline
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Re: Preditions Week 5: Last Stop Before the Big Show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
In qualifying you guys played with 1114 four times and against them once. That can't be bad.

But I guess you'd rather not face them as often in the eliminations? Can't blame you for feeling that way. If your GTR performance is consistent and matches your best at Waterloo, you'll be able to solve that problem by picking 1114, or getting them to pick you.
We were only with them three times, but it was those two matches against them i didn't like.... because we lost them both (we did have technical problems in both matches...).
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