Preview: Governors Cup 2012

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DALLAS, TX — Dallas’ Assassination City hosts the sixth Governor’s Cup tournament this weekend, bringing together six teams spanning the lower ranks of the WFTDA South Central region with one perennially dominant heavyweight in current regional champ Texas for a double-elimination event.

The Governor’s Cup has existed in some form since 2006, making it second only to Tucson’s Dust Devil as the oldest flat-track tournament. From 2006 to 2010 it was a Texas-only tournament, but added an out-of-state team in Big Easy for the 2011 version and now, for the first time, is mostly out-of-state teams; tournament mainstays Dallas and Houston opted out this time. Every single year previous, the tournament came down to Texas easily defeating either Dallas or Houston in the final.

The 2012 invitees are Texas (ranked 4th in the nation by DNN, officially #1 in the South Central via WFTDA and the third-place finishers at November 2011′s WFTDA Championships), #13 SC Duke City (Albuquerque, NM), #17 SC Oklahoma Victory Dolls, #19 SC Assassination City, #20 SC Northwest Arkansas, #22 SC Alamo City (San Antonio, TX) and #27 SC Oklahoma City.

Rather than traditional advantage seeding, the double elimination brackets are seeded in a way that puts closest seeds together. Therefore, the opening match is between the #6 and #7 seeds, the second match is between the #4 and #5 seeds, and the last opening round match is between the #2 and #3 seeds. The winner of that game faces top seed Texas, who gets a first-round bye.

See the full double-elimination bracket here.

History of the Governor’s Cup

2006 (Austin, TX): Assassination City, Alamo City, Dallas, Houston, Texas (Texas def Dallas)*

2007 (Houston, TX): Texas, Houston, Dallas, Assassination City, Alamo City (Texas def Houston 120-67)

2008 (Dallas, TX): Texas, Dallas, West Texas, Assassination City, Alamo City (Texas def Dallas 102-59)

2009: [not played]

2010 (Austin, TX): Texas, Dallas, Assassination City, Houston (Texas def Dallas 156-24)

2011 (Beaumont, TX): Texas, Big Easy, Houston, Dallas, Alamo City, Spindletop, Assassination City (Texas def Houston 158-40)

*2006 Governor’s Cup games were not regulation-length.

Opening Round

8am: Oklahoma City vs Alamo City: While there’s nowhere to go but up for last-in-the-region Oklahoma City, their WFTDA history doesn’t give much indication that it’ll happen for them this weekend. They went 0-5 in 2011, their first year of WFTDA play, during which Alamo City thumped them 182-74. Alamo City has considerably picked up their WFTDA interleague play since playing only 3 games in 2009 and 2 in 2010 — they played a much more ambitious 12-game schedule in 2011 and went 5-7. Alamo City looks to be a likely winner here.

10am: Assassination City vs Northwest Arkansas: It’s been a very long time since ACRD and NWA met in sanctioned play – nearly 5 years ago in a 102-77 Assassination City win in 2007 so old as to be virtually meaningless for predictive purposes. That said, NWA had an unfortunate 2011 sanctioned record of just 1-1 — the loss by 203 points to No Coast and the win by 3 points over ICT. Notably, they also solidly lost an unsanctioned game to #25 Springfield. Meanwhile, Assassination City turned around a rough 2011 season, opening 0-6 but ending 5-2, and beating ICT by 48 along the way. If both teams continue their trajectories from last year, Assassination City will advance here — but it’s hard to effectively predict NWA’s strength from such a limited 2011 schedule.

12 noon: Duke City vs Oklahoma Victory Dolls: Duke City has been on a long slide since losing many of their key players after the 2009 season, precipitating a tumble from reaching Nationals in 2008 to going winless at (Western) playoffs in 2010 and missing (South Central) playoffs altogether in 2011. Although Duke won their last two WFTDA sanctioned games over West Texas and Alamo City, they’re slogging through a 3-9 run dating back to to mid-2010 and it’s not clear if they’ve bottomed out yet. Meanwhile, Oklahoma Victory Dolls have won 4 out of their last 5, and defeated shared 2011 opponent Alamo City by a dominant 184-32 margin (compared to Duke’s 196-99). The teams also have very similar margins of victory against Dallas in 2011 (129-109 for OKVD, and 134-102 for Duke City). Of all the matchups possible at this year’s Governor’s Cup, this one seems the hardest to call.

However, due to the nontraditional seeding structure of this double-elimination tournament, the loser of the first-round Duke City / Oklahoma Victory Dolls game arguably has the easier path to reach the tournament final. Since the winner here plays Texas, DCD and OKVD are basically guaranteed to have a near-immediate rematch on Sunday at 8am in the loser’s bracket. The loser of the first round game will have had nearly a full day off while the winner will have played an extra game against the toughest team in the tournament by far.

Second Round and Losers’ Bracket

The winners of OKCRD / Alamo and ACRD / NWA meet at 4pm. If, as seems likely, this round produces an Alamo City / Assassination City game, Assassination City would be the favorite, having had much better performances against shared opponents Big Easy and Oklahoma Victory Dolls in 2011.

Texas gets a first round bye and will play the winner of Duke City / Oklahoma Victory Dolls in their first game, which will come on Saturday at 6pm. If Texas meets OKVD, it’ll be a rematch of the biggest blowout in WFTDA-sanctioned history – Texas blasted OKVD 451-8 in May 2009. It’s been quite a while since Texas last played Duke City, defeating a much different-looking DCD in December 2007, 158-36.

Since a team must lose twice to be eliminated, it’s possible that one team could play three full-length games almost in a row on Sunday. The loser of the first semifinal ends up playing again in the second semifinal for the right to reach the championship immediately afterwards.

That first semifinal looks likely to be Texas facing and defeating Assassination City at 12pm on Sunday, which would send Assassination City down to the loser’s bracket to face (probably) either Duke City or Oklahoma Victory Dolls at 4pm. The winner there faces (all but certainly) Texas at 6pm for the Cup.

Also check out previews from South Central Derby News and Phil Arnold.

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