Predictions Week Two: Clearing the Litter

Week One unfolded generally as expected. Qualification matches were largely a quagmire of cluttered fields, low scores, avoidable penalties, and sloppy stacking. As always, it’s a lot harder to perform on the field than it is in the shop. The gulf between the teams that were ready to execute and those that were not tended to be rather dramatic. Teams that were capable of creating and capping large stacks would often outscore entire alliances, with or without coopertition points. Coopertition points often occupied the bulk of the match for at least one robot on each alliance, and often didn’t end up paying off in the end (especially if the totes or litter in the landfill zone became a mess). Things improved gradually as matches progressed, but the end result still wasn’t pretty.

The additional coordination in playoffs led to increases in the autonomous department (though, increasing from the typical 0 of qualifications was not all that hard). Without coopertition points available, the quarterfinals felt lackluster and the scores underinflated. As the alliances started to gather their rhythm, we generally saw 5-6 tote stacks with RC’s on top. Robots specializing in Capping existing stacks were valuable, and having that extra RC or two from the step made a difference in high end play.

While teams this upcoming weekend will have the advantage of being able to watch and learn from teams in week one, expect a lot of similar play. The vast majority of teams will be competing for the first time, and still will be working the quirks out of their machines and drive crew.

Arkansas Rock City Regional:
No regional event has been quite as nomadic as the Arkansas event, which is on its third venue in its three year history. Yet, the new location has attracted plenty of talent from around the region to complement the largely youthful crop of in-state teams. While defending champs 16 and 3937 will certainly be in the hunt, reclaiming their title will be a tall task at this event. Several of Illinois’ finest, including two teams that were on Einstein last season (1625 and 2481) and one division finalist (2451), will be in attendance. Prairie state-based 1208 is one of the few teams that fully took advantage of the landfill’s consistent starting shape to aid in their ability to create stacks. Unfortunately for the Metool Brigade, the Bomb Squad, Roboteers, and Team Titanium also appear to be fully prepared to work out of the landfill zone, which may slightly reduce their appeal as a potential alliance partner. Speaking of 1986, they’re riding an eight regional winning streak, dating back to Kansas City in 2011. Titanium has a good chance to extend that streak this weekend, but 935, 1732, 4522 and the previously mentioned teams will force them to be on top of their game in the playoffs.

Greater Toronto Central Regional:
Central will be the first time that Canada gets to play Recycle Rush this season, and many of the North’s notables will be making their debut. With a regional smaller than some district events, pit crews and patience will be tested with small match turnarounds and, in the case of low scoring matches, quick field resets. The usual favorite, 1114 will be looking to show off their wide birth of functionality. They aren’t the only ones to stir a buzz from a less than conventional approach though. With another clean machine, 610 will be looking to steal some cans and perhaps some medals. With an ace of an autonomous up their sleeves, 1310 will be looking to bolster their seeding early on. The Mississauga pair threw everyone for a loop: 1241/1285 aren’t twins this year, at least in the conventional sense. Theory6 will be looking to stack twice as much, twice as fast, while The Big Bang decided to twin with themselves. With such a deep roster and slew of robots with unique skill sets, alliances will be looking for partners that they can mesh with. The match schedule and Coopertition will be key to seeding. When playoffs roll around, the top teams will have a large pool to choose from, with teams like 188, 3360, 4914 and 4343 to back them up, the playoffs might be closer here than we’ve seen in Recycle Rush yet.

Central Valley Regional:
The Central Valley Regional is the first opportunity for some Northern California teams to get a taste of Recycle Rush. This early week regional has a good spread of teams and eliminations are usually an indicator of what is to come in later weeks. 254 is coming off one of the most successful seasons in FIRST history and is looking to defend their title in Madera. The stacks will be rising and the BBQ will be flowing as the Poofs unveil their machine. As the Poofs strive for the number one seed, with help from a high scoring autonomous, their biggest competition will be another team that shared the field for the final match of Aerial Assist. 1678 will be out in full force for their first event. With an elevator stacking machine and can grabbing autonomous, the Citrus Circuits are looking to punch their ticket back to STL. They are hungry for a 3rd consecutive trip to Einstein. It will be hard to deny what is arguably the hardest working team in FIRST their goal. Hometown hero 1323 will also be debuting at this event. With a slick swerve drive and fast elevator, they are looking to play late into the day on Sunday. If 1671, 2073, or 701 can pair with one of these teams, they have a good chance of taking home the gold.

Greater Pittsburgh Regional:
Instant warLOCK - 1507
Hungry to Win - 48, 1126, 1885
In the Mix - 337, 2252, 2614, 3318

Israel Regional:
Factory Supreme - 1657
Locks - 1690, 3316
Contendors - 1574, 3075, 3339

Mexico City Regional:
Flying the Stars and Stripes - 2914
Mexico’s veterans and the favorites - 2283
In the hunt - 3158, 3478, 3794
Event production value - Ridiculously high

(FIM) Kentwood District:
All your objects belong to us (in autonomous)- 2054
Contendors - 2959, 4967, 5710
Notables - 74, 85, 2767

(FIM) Kettering District:
Locks - 70, 494, 2337
On the Radar - 314, 1684, 1711

(FIM) Waterford:
Stealing the TV Spotlight - 67, 1718, 1025
Look mom, I’m on Robozone! - 2137, 2851, 3098, 3656
Playoff Pals - 3414, 4819

(MAR) Mt. Olive:
Looking to improve on their week 1 performance - 11
Favorites - 193, 222
Going to make someone’s day - 303, 1923, 1676

(NE) Pioneer Valley:
UTC’s Strong Performers - 175, 176, 177
Rising Stars in NE - 2168, 3719
Dark Horses - 839, 4048, 1991

(NE) Reading:
Unconventionally Successful - 190, 246, 3467
Consistent Performers - 1058, 1100, 1153, 1735
2014 Bridesmaid looking for 2015 Spotlight - 319

(PNW) Glacier Peak:
Ready to Rush - 488, 948, 1899
The Usuals - 2522, 2930, 3238
Rising the Ranks - 4030, 4077, 4915

(PNW) West Valley:
7 Events last year and could have done more - 2928
Local Power - 1595, 4061
Stepping up their game - 2147, 2557, 4125

Spot on, as usual.

LF, next time you trim your fingernails, please plant them in some nice topsoil so we can grow a bunch of clones. When they get big enough, they’ll fan out every weekend and run live play-by-play commentary for each event. :rolleyes:

Mentioned back to back years! We’re on a roll.

No mention of the ThunderChickens at Waterford? I know I’m looking forward to seeing their robot.

We’re going to be on Robozone?!?! MOM COME LOOK!

I don’t know if I should be happy to be mentioned or insulted…I have no idea how to take it.

I doubt the intention of it was to be rude or insulting.

Thanks much for the compliment. We’ll try to live up to your expectations.

I’m glad our team is considered a ‘local power’.