Rugby Morning has been doing power rankings for this season, which I have almost always disagreed with, and I have fallen off of the horse of writing blogs for a few weeks (ok a month) so I am doing my take on power rankings. Take with a grain, but I’ve apparently predicted 74% of outcomes this season, so I’m hot stuff baby. We are also far enough into the season where we can begin to look around the league and take stock of where teams are heading firmly into the run-up to the playoff hunt.
I should note that I love Rugby Morning and think are great and are performing a wonderful service, I am just a misanthrope who is constantly dissatisfied by everything I see.
Also, the Free Jacks are really really good. More on that subject below.
1. Your New England Free Jacks
Clearly the best team in MLR, and has been for some weeks now. One loss on the road to the Giltinis a few weeks ago has been swallowed up by your New England Free Jacks scoring three convincing wins over the next three teams in these rankings. They are clearly the most well-rounded team out there and deserve the respect and fear of the league. And not more than a few apologies for their rank underestimation before the season began.
2. Atlanta Rattlers
Atlanta are in a strange ol’ place now. Their two losses came at the hands of New York and New England, both of which it is tough to hold against them because the first came in Week Three, and the second is against the #1 team. Their convincing and recent win against Austin earns them the second spot, especially given Austin’s performance against New England, and New York’s recent slowdown.
3. New York Ruusters
RNY get the three spot despite their loss to Toronto because Austin isn’t veryyy goooood and New York have only dropped two games this season. One was this week against Toronto, true, but the other was a closely fought game against New England. I’m therefore inclined to view this week’s loss as a fluke, and so to claim that New York isn’t that bad. But it should not be under-estimated the degree to which this ranking is given because Austin is not very good, and New York are third in the East. If they don’t bounce back from this week’s disgrace.
4. Austin Gs
Austin aren’t veryyyyy goooooood. Their early season success came off the back of defeating several quite poor teams, as they defeated the Jackals, Old Glory, and the Warriors. Their only quality win this season has come against a struggling Giltinis side. This is not a good team. This is not a Shield contender. They need to get their rear in gear or else the West is going to expose them and the Austin Phoenixes become the Austin Icaruses (yeah babyyyy I’m a really gooood sports blogger).
This middle part is where the rankings become very, very hard because everyone is about in this same kind of muddled space of mediocrity. These teams are clearly worse (by and large) than the top three teams, and probably worse than the AGs but between them it’s tough to distinguish. The Cats are here because a) they have won their last two, b) the other game they played this last month was Atlanta, and they got a losing bonus point, and c) I like Houston, Gerhardus Labuschagne is the bad boi we need.
6. The LA 'Tinis
Ok so LA has also won two of their last three — but those dubs came against demonstrably inferior opposition, and the third game they lost to the quite-bad Warriors. The Giltinis really are not very good, despite the one quality win against the Jacks. Definitely worse than the Cats, but probably better than any of the teams below them here. They are the gatekeepers of the West; not necessarily contenders, but if you want to be a contender, you need to beat the Giltinis.
7. The Ontario Flying Stabby Things
Yeah they beat New York, big whoop. They dropped their last two, including a close game against the not-very-good Warriors. The long-awaited homestand is coming up, so it’s possible we will see a big reversal in the Ontario team’s fortunes, but that’s in the future, and in the now they have picked up a not very convincing win against a not-quite-on-form team, and have otherwise not done fantastically. If they prove that game was not a fluke, they will shoot up the rankings, and into playoff contention. But these are power rankings, and right now I would take any of the above listed teams over the Arrows.
Well here we are; the Gold have picked up three of their last four. Two of those are against the worst teams in the league, and the other was a one point win over the Seawolves, who I have as the third-worst team in the league. When they played an actually good team, they were beaten, but not horribly. So, they’re here; the New Orleans, Louisiana, Gold are fine. Probably worse than Toronto who came out with a big win against New York, but also maybe underestimated in these rankings because of a lack of recent opportunities to prove themselves. We will see how their season develops.
This whole season I have had this feeling that the Warriors are worse than they really are. They have won two of their last four, crushing the Jackals in obligatory and encouraging fashion, and dropping a weakened LA, but they then lost a squeaker to Toronto, and were roundly knocked off by Houston. It feels right to put them here on the strength of their results, but when I’ve watched the Warriors it feels like they lack game-plan and rely on their talent to bail them out. They are at risk of being exposed as the season goes on and being reduced from mediocre-but-in-the-conversation to bad and not.
The legion have been definitionally mediocre this season. They dropped two of their last three, but gain credit for putting up a good showing against New York on the road. They also get some credit for beating DC, which is obligatory but necessary, but are marked down substantially for being convincingly defeated by the Giltinis. That loss indicates that they aren’t going anywhere fast. They are placed here because Utah beat LA and NOLA have won a lot of low-quality games, neither of which the Legion have been capable of.
11. Seattle Big Angry Sea Mammals
Uh well they’re real bad. Since opening up the season well with three straight wins, the Seawolves have dropped three of their last four to the Gold, SaberCats, and Giltinis. Bad. Very Bad. No idea why people think they are good right now. But, they are in the West and anything can happen there. Still, I do not think they are going to be one of the movers and shakers this season.
12. DC Flag-Likers
Old Glory suck. They need a win. They are 12th because they have played teams closer than the Jackals have, but that’s not much of a distinction. They may be able to improve as the season wears on, but I fear that the mediocrity-block of teams is better than DC can hope to be. We will see, but unless something changes I do not see DC picking up a win any time soon (except maybe against Dallas!). Oh and they just fired their head coach so this season is now almost certainly a bust.
13. Dallas Jack-oh-nos
There’s not much to say about Dallas. They have played a few close games, but have otherwise suffered repeated blow-outs. They are apparently having troubles with depth and injury, which is not improving things. Dallas requires something new, some x-factor that can turn their fortunes around. Dear reader, I doubt that their knight in shining armor will come this season.
I do not know if there will be another edition of these rankings, and I know it is not usual content, but I wanted to put something up on the site so this is what you’re getting. Suck it up.