London Ex-Pads (UK)
Novo Mesto Knights (Slovenia)
Dortmund Devils (Germany)
Copenhagen Scumbags (Denmark)
Wiesbaden Allstars (Germany)
Carnegie Flag Football (UK)
The 8am Saturday slot at Big Bowl is generally reserved for the expected top two teams from each group. As such, it generally has some of the best games of the entire tournament. Last year’s highlight was the clash between the Ex-Pads and Knights. Down 24-20, the Knights were on the Ex-Pads 5 yard line with just under 90 seconds left. The Ex-Pads sent a double blitz, forcing a quick throw which Steve Joiner jumped and intercepted to seal the victory. We are very much looking forward to the rematch in the first slot again.
While the Ex Pads’ receivers have changed quite a bit the last few years, Tariq Dag Khan’s steadying influence under centre has allowed them to continually put together impressive results. We are hearing they have some reinforcements including Dre Fields of Mayhem fame this year and are expecting another good performance from them. The Knights have finished in 6th each of the last two years. While they don’t blow you away with speed or elite athleticism, they are big, smart, and fundamentally sound. It will be a challenge for the other four teams to break into the top two but there are a few who could.
The Dortmund Devils probably can’t. HOWEVER, they are one of our favourite teams at Big Bowl. Why? Because they often have a squad of 30 cheerleaders along their side-lines, pom-poms and all, cheering their hearts out. Repeat after me! We Want (We Want) A TD! (A TD!) What’s That?! (What’s That?!) A Touchdown! (A touchdown!) The Devils were a late replacement last year and so we are going to chalk up their lack of cheerleaders to that. We expect them there this time! Don’t break our hearts!!!!!
Carnegie and Copenhagen probably provide the best chance to steal a top place in the group. Carnegie will look a bit like last year’s Kirckaldy Bulls with Neil Arnold at the helm, Stevie Bramwell and 4-5 other former Bulls. The Bulls finished 7th and 13th the last two years so Carnegie will be tough. The Copenhagen Scumbags made it to the top bracket last year before an injury to their QB extinguished their playoff chances.
It might be weird to say but I think you’d rather finish second in this group than first. Why? Well, a first-place finish will get you a sweet 16 matchup with the second-place team from group A, which I think any of the four teams mentioned above would be favoured in. However, the elite 8 matchup brings the Armadillos. Sure – if you want to win it all you have to beat the Danes eventually. However, while a second-place finish gets you a playoff date with Waldorf, I think the Knights and particularly the Ex-Pads would match-up very well there. You need a good blitzer and athletic safeties to control the Walldorf offense (check for the Ex-Pads) as well as a strong-armed QB that will exploit favourable matchups (check again). If I’m Walldorf I am rooting hard for the Ex-Pads in that first contest because if the Ex-Pads finish second in their group, they may just run all the way to the final on Sunday.
Novo Mesto Knights