I’m having some internet issues right now, which is hindering the posting and production of these posts. I’ll try to get them up in a timely fashion, but the releases are going to be staggered because of it. I apologize if some of the threads don’t get up until tomorrow.
Archimedes may not have the star power of some of the other divisions, but rest assured that this division has the ability to take it all. It’s almost going to be a Michigan reunion on this field, despite the lack of some of the star teams like the Thunder Chickens and HOT. A dozen teams will be journeying south from the Wolverine State to compete in Archimedes. But don’t let that trick you into thinking that a Michigan team is guaranteed to be walking away from the Gateway Arch with Arch gold medals around their necks, as there are plenty of other competitors who will be surefire contenders.
This division boats 43 event wins, tied for the most of any division, so there will be plenty of depth for the alliance captains if they scout properly. A couple of the elimination alliances likely won’t be able to hang with the rest, but there should be at least 4 or 5 very solid alliances in the tournament.
It almost feels wrong saying this, but 330 has some issues with consistency and playing through defense this year. When a Beachbot arrives at Championship with a regional championship at its first event and a finals appearance at its second already on its resume, it’s typically safe to assume those areas are two of its strengths. The #2 alliance was able to eliminate the Beachbots in the finals in LA with a strong, full-court defense approach and some opportune scoring. But the upside is there with this machine, and if the drivers can learn how to deal with tough defense (or the play style doesn’t encourage that strategy) and 330 improves their consistency in autonomous, they could be a forced to be reckoned with.
When a rookie captains an alliance, it’s impressive. When they do it twice, it’s even more impressive. When a rookie reaches the finals it’s impressive. When they do it twice, it’s even more impressive. When they win in one of those finals, that’s normally the peak. But the real exclamation point on this is that 3539 did it in Michigan. What’s worse for the competition on Archimedes is that the Bulldogs have a [almost] twin in the division, in their mentor team, 1718. Both teams are excellent scorers with minibots that can be factors in the match. Both should be in the elimination rounds, and have a solid shot at being first round selections. The Fighting Pi are the better of the pair, but the difference isn’t so large that the schedule gods could have the Bulldogs ranked higher or selected earlier.
2054. No, that’s not supposed to be 254. Nor is supposed to be 2056. Very few people outside of Michigan had 2054 on their radar coming into the season, but they surprised everybody. They’re far from perfect, but they hang tough with the best and put up some reasonably high scores. Their minibot, while capable of winning qual matches, is a cut behind some of the elite teams and that could be a serious detriment on Saturday. They could be a solid contributor on the right alliance, though.
The term “Bulletin Board Material” is a phrase that sports writers often use to describe press clippings, articles, or quotes that teams use as motivation. I’m about to give 33 some bulletin board material by not including them in the locks section. The Killer Bees have had their most successful season since 2004, as they won two events (including the touted Michigan State Championship). They only event they missed the finals at was the Troy District where they were eliminated by the combined forces of the previously mentioned 1718 and 3539. The Bees have a two-tube autonomous, a quick minibot, and can score a bunch of tubes. But they needed some luck and a great play from their partners to win MSC, and I have questions whether 33 will be able to take it to the next level or not. They have a great shot, but it’s far from the home run some are making it out to be.
After some terrific campaigns in the mid-2000s that led to regional victories in three of four years between 2004 and 2007, 229 had struggled a little bit from 2008 until now. But Clarkson won Long Island as the 1st selection and had a very solid event in Finger Lakes. They won’t likely be a top 3 selection on Archimedes as they were at both of their regionals, but they can play all aspects of the game well and could very well be an alliance captain.
Gompei isn’t dominant, but 190 certainly brings some above average skills to the table. They can hang tubes effectively, have great speed, and one of the better minibots in the division. If they can increase their consistency, especially in autonomous, they could be a very valuable member of an alliance.
Team 1708 from McKeesport, PA isn’t attending St. Louis, so why am I talking about them? Amped Robotics is the highest numbered team to be a rookie in 2005. 2005 was the last time that the Bobcats didn’t win a division and reach Einstein. Or to put it another way, two-thirds of active FRC teams have never known Einstein without 177. If 177 isn’t a lock to win a division, I don’t know who is. They didn’t capture gold at either of their events, but captaining the #2 alliance to the finals at both WPI and Connecticut is definitely a fair bit of success. The Bobcats are an effective scoring machine with a quality minibot and good driving. They might not be as flashy as some of the elite teams, but the same can be said of them each of the past five seasons. 177 just knows how to win at the big show.
Traditionally, the Robonauts haven’t fared as well as the Bobcats at the big show. They’ve reach the finals at a regional twelve times since their last appearance on Einstein in 2002. They missed the elims at CMP completely in 2004 and 2010, and were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008. But 118 has their most successful robot since Triple Play and their goals are higher this year. They were on the #1 alliance in both Lone Star and Midwest, taking home gold both times. Being selected before the likes of 71, 16, and 1625 says a lot (and that’s not even accounting for the many other top tier teams at Midwest). 118 is poised to make a splash.
2016 notched up a double-gold in New Jersey and a was selected ahead of Pink (but declined) in DC, before losing to them in the finals. The Mighty Monkey Wrenches are one of the slickest scoring machines in FIRST and have a quick minibot and reliable autonomous. Most importantly, they’re consistent, battle tested, and flexible. Their gripper can effectively grab tubes from even the worst positions and hold them well enough to score.They’ll be a force to reckoned with whenever they’re on the field.