Week 9 Power Rankings, CMRP, and Weekend Pillow Fight: Let’s get meta!

25 04 2008

Coming up with fresh ideas is tough, just ask Brett Ratner. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this nugget by Neal Pollack on Slate regarding things such as weekly power rankings, mock drafts, and MVP races being signs of lazy sports writing (ironically, similar points have been made on Slate in the past) and overall detrimental to the appreciation of sporting in general. Fair enough. Then, yesterday KSK’s Big Daddy Drew posted an NFL draft preview on Deadspin that suggested anyone bemoaning the surplus of mock drafts can, in his parlance, choke on a dick. Fair enough.

Both articles made me further question qualms I’ve had about my weekly riffing on the occasionally disjointed Gary Horton AFL ramblings from the WWL, and gave me an idea to keep this feature fresh.

Maybe next week.

AFL Power Rankings (Week 9)

1. Philadelphia Soul (8-0) | Previous: 1 | Week 8: Beat Columbus 76-55 | Next: vs. Dallas
When QB Tony Graziani was injured in the second quarter, backup Matt D’Orazio did what he always does — come in and win. He was nearly perfect in his decision making in the win over Columbus and helped set up the game that everybody wants to see: undefeated Dallas at undefeated Philadelphia. The Football Gods smile on teams with punky backup QBs. [/Easterbrook]

2. Dallas Desperados (7-0) | Previous: 2 | Week 8: Bye | Next: at Dallas
The Desperados are coming off a needed bye week. This gave them an extra week to not only rest, but also prepare for their biggest test of the year when they visit 8-0 Philly. The Desperados are a complete team with no real weaknesses. The last time a Jerry Jones-owned team had a break before a big game, things didn’t turn out so well. Does anyone know if Clint Dolezel spent any time south of the border last week?

3. Chicago Rush (6-2) | Previous: 3 | Week 8: Beat Grand Rapids 55-52 | Next: at Colorado
After easily beating Grand Rapids on the road earlier in the season, this looked like an easy game for the Rush. It was anything but. The Rush had to make a couple of great defensive plays and receive a huge game by WR Donovan Morgan to hold of the pesky Rampage. The Rush started out like the 2006 Bears. They’re looking more like the 2007 Bears. Hopefully they can close out like the 1985 Bears. By which we mean record a green-screen rap video.

4. New Orleans VooDoo (6-2) | Previous: 4 | Week 8: Beat Arizona 60-36 | Next: vs. Utah
The VooDoo jumped out to an early 17-0 lead and cruised to a fairly easy road win to remain hot in the playoff race. QB Danny Wimprine hooked up with WR James Jordan to provide most of the offensive punch and the five interceptions by the defense didn’t hurt. Neither did sticking a bevy of needles into a miniature doll of Lang Campbell.

5. Orlando Predators (6-2) | Previous: 5 | Week 8: Beat Georgia 65-62 | Next: vs. Tampa Bay
The Predators continue to play in a lot of close games, but they are finding ways to win and this time did it with a TD pass from QB Shane Stafford to WR Chas Gessner with five seconds left. With a six-game winning streak, they’re one of the hottest teams in the league. If I learned anything during college at NU (specifically my junior year in ’04-’05), it’s that teams that depend on last-second heroics don’t win many championships.

6. San Jose SaberCats (4-4) | Previous: 7 | Week 8: Beat Utah 61-40 | Next: vs. Los Angeles
The SaberCats’ defense came up big against a good Utah offense. It produced three fumble recoveries, two sacks, an interception and never let the Blaze get into the game. QB Mark Grieb had a solid game and head coach Darron Arbet recorded his 100th win. Way to keep a shitty team at bay. Arbet just has 9,900 more wins to tie the Cubs!

7. New York Dragons (4-4) | Previous: 11 | Week 8: Beat Tampa Bay 66-47 | Next: vs. Cleveland
The Dragons are all of a sudden a hot team with three straight wins and they embarrassed slumping Tampa Bay. They scored on every offensive drive and did it on the road. QB Aaron Garcia was great and defensively, they registered two sacks, two interceptions, three tackles for loss and constantly pressured Storm QB Shane Stafford. I’m okay with not mentioning our favorite AFLer here. Damn that lack of protection for Shane Stafford!

8. Cleveland Gladiators (4-3) | Previous: 10 | Week 8: Beat L.A. 83-69 | Next: at New York
The Gladiators snapped a three-game losing streak and did it with an offense that was really in sync. QB Raymond Philyaw was hot, WR Otis Amey had six TDs, and FB Marlion Jackson rushed for three TDs in a great offensive effort. Even against LA, color us impressed by 83 points.

9. Georgia Force (3-4) | Previous: 6 | Week 8: Lost to Orlando 65-62 | Next: at Arizona
The Force lost a heartbreaker to division-rival Orlando on a last-second TD pass. While they played well offensively, they couldn’t stop the Orlando passing attack — especially the screen game, which accounted for 81 yards and two TDs. Georgia, the 2007 defensive stalwart, couldn’t stop the screen? Yeouch.

10. Colorado Crush (3-4) | Previous Rank: 8 | Week 8: Lost to Kansas City 55-53 | Next: vs. Chicago.
The Crush lost a game that they needed to — and should have — won. QB John Dutton was harassed by the Brigade defense and threw two costly interceptions. Colorado just couldn’t make key plays on either side of the ball. Did John Dutton go to Vanderbilt and replace Jake Plummer or something?

11. Tampa Bay Storm (2-5) | Previous: 13 | Week 8: Lost to New York 66-57 | Next: at Orlando
The Storm are fading fast and were dominated at home by the Dragons. The defense could not stop QB Aaron Garcia and the offense could not protect QB Shane Stafford, who was sacked twice, had three tackles for loss and threw two interceptions. Let’s continue to throw Orlando’s QB under the bus, okay?

12. Los Angeles Avengers (3-5) | Previous: 12 | Week 8: Lost to Cleveland 83-69 | Next: at San Jose
The Avengers’ defense was embarrassed by a Gladiators offense that put up 411 passing yards and nine TDs and three rushing TDs. L.A. also gave up four sacks and four tackles for loss and couldn’t make a key play on either side of the ball when it needed one. LA football sucks worse than Meet the Spartans.

13. Arizona Rattlers (3-4) | Previous: 9 | Week 8: Lost to New Orleans 60-36 | Next: vs. Georgia
The Rattlers offense ran into a VooDoo defense that was aggressive and smart. They intercepted five Arizona passes in a game that QB Lang Campbell would like to have back. This game was virtually over at halftime and 14 penalties didn’t help either. “Get Your Season Ticket Money Back Watch” Outlook: Shockingly Doubtful.

14. Columbus Destroyers (2-6) | Previous: 15 | Week 8: Lost to Philadelphia 76-55 | Next: Bye
The Destroyers made it interesting early versus Philadelphia with a strong game from QB Matt Nagy, but they couldn’t keep pace in the second half versus a hot Matt D’Orazio and a Soul defense that attacked the ball and broke up seven passes. Something else that started out interesting but didn’t go anywhere – my prostate exam.

15. Grand Rapids Rampage (2-5) | Previous: 14 | Week 8: Lost to Chicago 55-52 | Next: vs. Kansas City
The Rampage played a strong game versus a superior opponent on the road and just came up short. A couple of Rush interceptions stopped the Rampage offense and they just couldn’t get a key big play in the fourth quarter.

16. Kansas City Brigade (1-6) | Previous: 16 | Week 8: Beat Colorado 55-53 | Next: at Grand Rapids
The Brigade finally got into the win column with a good game by WR Mike Horacek, a big kick return by Will Holder, and solid improvement by QB D. Bryant, who did a nice job of reading the Crush defense and spreading the ball around. Another win and Bryant might be awarded with a middle initial. He doesn’t get a first name until Kansas City makes the playoffs, though.

17. Utah Blaze (0-8) | Previous: 17 | Week 8: Lost to San Jose 61-40 | Next: at New Orleans
The most prolific offense in the league was held to a season-low point total as the San Jose defense dominated the Blaze with three fumble recoveries, two sacks and an interception. Utah only scored 13 points in the second half and had 212 yards of total offense. That’s not good when you can’t play defense either. BREAKING: Isaiah Thomas just took over coaching duties for the Blaze.



CMRP advances to an impressive 6-1 after an obvious pick of slowly improving San Jose over no-longer-humorously inept Utah. This week: Tampa Bay, make us proud. Orlando, last-second-magic doesn’t work against the cold calculations of Brett Dietz.



Two cities you don’t want to visit come together for one game you don’t want to watch. Kansas City and Grand Rapids square off tonight, in what will either be a boring low-scoring game, or a boring ridiculously-high-scoring game.





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