Playoffs in October usually means pitching duels and dramatic home runs, but HBS is bringing a whole new spin on the Fall Classic with the flag football playoffs.
What started 6 weeks ago with 20 teams has been narrowed down to the elite eight. Only one team will emerge victorious and claim the title of HBS Flag Football champion.
Who will be the masters of the gridiron? Will it be the reigning juggernaut with more receivers than the old San Francisco 49ers, OI? Will it be the only undefeated team in the whole league, ND? Or will it be a newcomer in the EC like OC? Read on for a playoff preview and see who The Harbus thinks will win it all.
OC (3-2): The Croc-Hawks crash the playoff party after a 1-4 year last year. Captain Amir Malayery did his best impression of the old Stanford and current 49ers ball coach by taking a team to its full potential and guided OC to the playoffs. Loaded with a high caliber offense, the Croc-Hawks will look to use the on-field chemistry of their married superstars (Joe and Laura Dolan) to outscore their opponents. Their defense, led by Chris Hollins, did just enough to win despite yielding 194 points during the season. Harbus note: Don’t count them out especially if they have the ball late. Odds: 20 to 1
OD (4-1): OD is back in the playoffs again as the Division 1 winner after beating OG in the second to last week. It wasn’t always pretty, but OD again found ways to win with some exciting/heart attack-inducing wins over OJ, OE, and OB. Led by Michael Porter and Terry Connell on offense, OD can score quickly but is subject to some scoring droughts. The defense was solid, led by Alex Livingston, Steve Miller, Brittni Levinson, and a slew of cornerbacks that fly all over the field. Harbus note: They find ways to win, but which OD will show up? Odds: 8 to 1
OG (4-1): Maybe the most athletically talented team out there, the Griffins are hungry for revenge for the tough loss in the RC championship last year to Section I. They have the firepower with Pat Griffin at QB, Nick Birk in the slot, Steph Kwok and Jen Braus running the wildcat at QB, and superstars John Hillman and Zach Simmons out wide, but they must overcome their mental mistakes that hurt them at times. Their D is tall and fast and should benefit from the return of Pedro Noyola from a shoulder injury. Harbus note: We love them, but they have a tough first round match up. Can Simmons be the difference maker once again? Odds: 7:1
OI (4-1): The Eye of the Tiger is back again. Despite a loss in the final game of the regular season, there are not too many holes in this team. Lead by Aaron “Gunslinger” Byrd and Ben Safran on offense and Andrew Bender and Amy Steadman on defense, this team looks to be the complete package. They can score quickly and lock you down on defense, and they know how to win in the playoffs having made it to the school championship last year. Is this the year they win it all? Harbus note: If they can get past OG, they are the clear favorites. Odds: 4:1
NA (4-1): NA has the tools to leave The Harbus impressed. With only one loss to their name and tons of talent, NA has a chance to go all the way. Led by captain Andrew Wilson, NA has been impressive by averaging almost 40 points a game. Look out for Doug Raicek on offense and the Jim Coker/Chelsea Miller duo on defense. Harbus note: They get no favors with NJ in the first round, so it will come down to who has the ball last. Odds: 16:1
NC (4-1): Led by captain Cici Zheng, NC has shown that OC isn’t the only Section C to be reckoned with in football. Featuring speedy quarterback Arick Morton on offense and Rod Roberts on defense, NC came through in the clutch to beat NE in a win or go home game. Harbus note: The NE game definitely prepared them for the playoffs, but they face a really tough team in ND right out of the gate. Odds: 25:1
ND (5-0): The only undefeated team in the league, ND has everything you want. You name it, they have it. A former college quarterback. Wide receivers running wild. A solid zone defense. Great fans. No one has stopped them yet. They are like the Patriots of old who prefer team recognition over individual recognition. Might they do the unthinkable and win it all just like those Tom Brady-led Patriots did so many years ago, or will they prove more similar to the more recent Patriots version that went undefeated in the regular season only to lose in the championship? Harbus note: The likely RC champion. Odds: 5:1
NJ (4-1): Captain Yi Chen has combined his inner Nick Saban and Ray Lewis to fire up his team and have NJ ready for the playoffs. Still stinging from their loss to ND, NJ might be a good pick if you are looking for a 2 seed to go the distance from the RC. They have athletes galore and execute strategy better than Jan Rivkin ever could. Harbus note: Beating NJ twice might be tough for ND Odds: 9:1
Round 1: ND over NC, NJ over NA
RC Championship: ND over NJ
Round 1: OD over OC; OI over OG
EC championship: OI over OD
OI over ND in overtime, 42-40