London Rebels (UK)
Copenhagen Barbarians (Denmark)
Utrecht Dominators (Netherlands)
Vienna Sentinels (Austria)
ASV Badener Greifs (Germany)
Edinburgh Outlaws (UK)
At FFW, we are beginning to wonder if the Big Bowl schedule makers have something against the London Rebels. This marks the third consecutive year where the Rebels have been grouped with the highest finishing team from last year’s tournament. They had the Armadillos two years ago, MassFlag last year, and this time get to tangle with last year’s runner ups, the Copenhagen Barbarians. Calvin Tarlton and the Rebels had a tough Sunday last year after losing Kenny Bello to injury but they have impressed thus far this year, scoring an impressive victory against the rival Buttonhookers in the UK league. However, they still have to tangle with Silas Meyer-Juhlin and the Barbarians. If Jonas Bo Hansen is #1 in Europe, Silas is #1A. He won the MVP of the Euros last year as a dynamic receiver and ballhawking safety. The Barbarians missed his services at Sportmonda Bowl and were very underwhelming. We believe they’ll be back to their best come tournament time but as we saw last year against the Cougars, are still susceptible to the odd upset.
Utrecht Dominators will provide the biggest challenge to the top two teams. At their best, they have some athletes that can make plays all over the field. We believe they can be too inconsistent to score an upset in this group but they are worth monitoring. The Dominators have developed good relationships with a number of the UK teams and it will be fun to see them take on the Edinburgh Outlaws.
The Rebels have previously dealt with having an elite team in their group and despite making the playoffs as the second team, had some tough sweet 16 draws and consequently, early exits at the hands of the Ex Pads and NP Flag. This year however, they could very well be favourites in their first playoff game even if they do finish second. Both the Rebels and Barbarians should be able to take down the likes of the Lizzards, Smoke or Broncos from group D. The group winner would get a tough elite 8 game against the winner of group G (NP/Hyenas/Cobras) while the runner-ups would encounter one of those three teams or the Buttonhookers. Elite 8 seems very realistic but we know the Barbarians at least, will be shooting for more.
ASV Badener Griefs