Depth in open elite
All three NW teams
Both SW Teams
Teams to watch, who are most likely to put their final placing in my face.
Yes, he completely dissed the midwest, but I would say that there are 11 teams with a strong chance of making the quarterfinals. I would add Sub-Zero to the list, and probably remove Doublewide (which means I guess they'll beat us at nationals now) although if you leave them there, that could quite possibly be all of the teams in the quarters and pre-quarters. Look who he left out of the quarters. Pike was in the semis last year, and had a great spring with only one loss to DoG in the finals of the Boston Invitational. They only had a so-so western trip to ECC, but who knows what they brought. It will be interesting to see what happens in Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
As for Twisted, they have beaten very good teams, and lost to some others. It seems like they match up very well to certain types of team (not so well to us yet, fortunately, but we also haven't had regionals yet...), so given the right draw, they could make some noise.
Chain continues to improve, and should definitely make the pre-quarters, and after that, it's one game at a time.
Sub-zero always gives us a problem, not sure about other teams (their CHC victory notwithstanding, as they didn't exactly light up the competition, although according to sometallskinnykid, their offense is coming around.
The only other wildcard here is how many bids the Northeast will get. If we get 3, that should result in DoG, Twisted Metal, and GOAT, in whatever order. GOAT didn't show much this season until CHC, but who knows if they are ready to make noise also. If we are down to 2, look for a DoGfight for those 2 spots, as some observers think DoG might finally be vulnerable.
Johnny Bravo has been looking good, although remains to be seen if Beau will make it back (sounds like no), and Deaver was last seen in sandals at Santa Cruz. Hard to believe they won't make quarters, but who knows.
As for the northwest, with Kaos beating Jam in sectionals (it NEVER gets old to see Jam go down) and Rhino looking pretty good at Santa Cruz, I'm not sure it is a lock that Sockeye, Jam, and Furious will make the show. Promises to be yet another bloodbath at their regionals. Got to love when they lose that 4th team every other year (and let's not forget when they lost BOTH strength seeds. Ye gods!).
The thing that makes quarters really dicey these days is the pre-quarters game. After all, Sockeye came up through the pre-quarters to win nationals last year. What if they had played some other unlucky but expected semifinalist? I expect that Luke's quarterfinal list will NOT be accurate, but I also expect that all the teams he listed (including Twisted if they make it), will be in the pre-quarters. I know, I'm really going out on a limb here. Talk to me after regionals.
One other thing I want to add. When I say 11-12 teams could make quarters, that doesn't necessarily seem that competitive. What is more important is that I think at least 8 teams could make the semis, specifically
Sockeye, Jam, Furious, Condors, Bravo, Ring, DoG, Pike. Given the right kind of draw, one of the other teams could make it, but figure that the top four will come from this group (I know, going out on a limb again...).
As for the sport itself, this kind of depth is great (although the long-winded explanation that I just wrote didn't make sense, so I'm going to leave that comment just like that).