2019 Rank Play Preview
1.Kansas Tree Care
I feel like we don’t really talk about KTC that much anymore, but what else is there to say? Elite athletes and elite kickball IQ are the reason they are the odds on favorite for a repeat title. Will they be the first team to go undefeated in the #1’s since we switched to the 5&5 format in 2016?
2. Muddy Waters
Muddy has arrived. Back in the #1’s for the first time since 2016, they are a top 3 team in KVKL at this point and one of the main threats to steal the crown from KTC. GOTW against Jazzhaus this weekend should be a great opportunity for them to showcase their talent in front of the entire league — championship or bust for this squad.
3. Black Stag
Wildman/Jackpot/Black Stag has finished 9-1 for three consecutive seasons, and are the most recent team to beat KTC so obviously they are a threat to win it all. Speed, power, experience, leadership — this team has all the attributes needed for another title run.
Rick called me out for never picking his team, so here ya go McNeely — prove me right! Athleticism and youthful exuberance are the calling cards of this team, but they are learning how to play elite kickball very quickly and beating LSF and Red Lyon back-to-back put the rest of the top teams on notice that these youngsters are here to stay. Even if they go 0-5 here, the experience of playing all these top teams will prove invaluable come tourney time. Can’t wait for this GOTW!
5. Love Garden Squids
I’m not sure what to make of the Squids. They narrowly beat AsteroidHEAD in week one, and followed that up by beating – but not impressing – against Goeser’s and ReBoot, before demolishing MaHomies and the Soda Jerks. Are they rounding into form, or just feasting on a weak schedule heading into rank play? They get have a chance to get off to a good start and secure a top 5 tournament seed by beating JDE this weekend, but I must say I’m not sold on their championship ability just yet.
6. John Denver Experience
They’ve been a #2 every year since we switched to 5&5, so this will be a new challenge for JDE. They’re a solid defensive team, but I’m not sure if the offense is there to consistently score runs on the top 5 teams in the league. They do have great walkup music though!
1. Lawrence Shirt Factory
The streak of finishing in the #1’s dates back longer than Bill Self’s consecutive Big XII title run, but all things come to and end. (I’m just guessing on this, the website only goes back to 2012, but I feel pretty confident it’s right)
I truly never thought I would see that day that LSF dropped to the #2’s, but they’ve lost a considerable amount of talent over the past couple years and it’s hard to replace veteran players and expect to maintain excellence. That being said, they’re clearly the class of the #2’s, and nobody is gonna be excited to see them in the playoffs.
2.Hurtz Donut D-Holes
Consistently consistent, the D-Holes swept the #2’s last year so I gotta put some respect on them. I would’ve had them winning the #2’s again, but Lawrence Shirt Factory dropped, so here they are. The week 10 matchup against Goesers should decide second place in this division.
3. Goeser’s Good Neighbors
Bryson is gonna bitch and moan, but you can’t count on this team to field it’s A-lineup week in and week out, so they get dropped to third place.
Goeser’s has the top tier talent to hang with anyone, and last week they showed some big time heart. Down four in the bottom of the 9th to ReBoot they battled back before finally prevailing in extra innings, while dealing with a TREMENDOUS amount of shit talking from ReBoot. Here’s the thing ReBoot, you can talk all game long about Bryson’s gloves and whatnot, but when he hits a walkoff you gotta respect it, not call him a bitch and try and fight after the game.
4. Johnny’s Tavern
Johnny’s had the biggest win in franchise history last week, taking down Chalmersiz to get into the #2’s, and now they’re gonna make some noise. The defense is very solid (held Chalmersiz to one run, Free State to two), so if the offense shows up in any kinda way they should win at least a couple games.
5. Red Legs
Red Legs is always in the #2’s, but their finishes have actually gotten worse every year, bottoming out at 0-5 last year. They’re gonna win at least a game this year, and likely more, but I don’t think they’ll crack the top 3. Prove me wrong James and Shane!
6. Los Matadores
Los Mats lucked out being in the Maloy division, which aside from KTC was probably the weakest division in the KVKL. To their credit, they handled Pawsh Wash to secure the #2, but their two run win over Ghosts last week combined with their eternal attendance issues force me to drop them to the bottom of the #2’s.
Gave Jazzhaus everything they could handle last week, and Lyon still has the athleticism and IQ to make a deep run in the tournament. Just another example of how deep KVKL has gotten that the #3’s are so stacked. 9/36 teams in the league finished 3-2 in pool play, I’d argue that this is the most talent we’ve ever seen in the league — so let’s abolish the promotion/relegation idea once and for all.
Another team I had penciled into the #2’s dropping down a notch, perhaps their rough go in the #1’s last year and then a stunning loss to Johnny’s proves that Chalmersiz championship window is closed and they’re ready to settle into the chase for the Twain.
3. ReBoot XXX
ReBoot had the game in hand against Goeser’s to lock up a spot in the #2’s and blew a late lead, so lets see how they rebound this week against Pawsh Wash. There is some great talent on this team, the OF closes down gaps with the best of them, and I’ll probably regret dropping them this low after the season, but the loss against a depleted Goeser’s team was concerning.
4. Pawsh Wash
I always seem to underestimate Pawsh Wash, and I’m gonna go ahead and do it again. At the very least they’ve gotta have some bad karma coming their way after dropping fucking 48 runs on Jayhawker Crossfit this weekend
5. The Rats
The Rats are similar to D-Holes, they beat who they are supposed to beat, but never seem to pull off an upset against anyone ranked higher than them. They’ve been in either the #3’s or #4s every year, so unless something dramatic happens, I feel comfortable predicting them to finish in the bottom half of the #3’s
Outside of Jazzhaus, The Corksuckers have been the surprise of the season so far. Their win over Ladybird is the second most shocking result of season, and then they followed it up with a close game against the D-Holes. Big time props to Cork, they should win at least one game in the loaded #3’s.
1.Free State Growlers
Gave up too many runs to Chalmersiz and lost out on the three-way tiebreaker in the Williams division, but make no mistake, this is the best Growler team since their surprise entrance into the #1’s in 2016. The top half of the #4’s are loaded, but anything other than an undefeated performance here would be considered a disappointment.
2. Ladybird Harpies
For the first time ever, Ladybird took a step back this season. They’d climbed the rungs of the ladder from the bottom of the league all the way up to the #2’s last year, but one upset loss dropped them back the #4’s this year. Not a team anyone wants to face in the playoffs, and Week 9 against Free State should be an absolute war, we’re looking forward to it!
3. Drop Stoppers
The only team to beat Jazzhaus this year, I have to admit I don’t know much about this squad. They’ve only scored double digits once (10 runs against the Eels) so the defense seems to be the strength, but they have a win over a #1 seed so obviously they have to be taken very seriously.
4. Soda Jerks
I’ve been impressed with what the Soda Jerks have been building for a few years, but that drubbing against ReBoot under the lights a few weeks ago took a bit of the shine off. Outside of that game, they’ve kept everything relatively close against elite competition the past few years so they’re always a threat to pull an upset, I just don’t think the offense (6 runs/game) is there week in and week out to win such a stacked #4’s.
5. The Woost
Woost is on a two game winning streak so they’re feeling good entering rank play, and it seems wrong to drop Dan, Sean, Dave, Jackie and the gang so low, but the results haven’t been impressive enough to justify jumping them over too many teams. That being said, kickball veterans have a way of coming up big under the lights, and their GOTW against Drop Stoppers promises to be a great game!
6. Sacred Sword
Props to Sword for making the jump from the #6’s to the #4’s! They’ve hit a bit of a dry spell lately though, only scoring three runs over their last two games. They face off against Woost this week in probably their best chance to get a win until the tournament — good luck!
Always risky picking A-Head to show up consistently,, but they have the most talent of any team in the #5’s, and I’ll always go with overall leg talent. Big win at GOTW, I always enjoy watching these folks play, they seem to genuinely always have a good time, and that’s what KVKL is all about.
2. Bunt N Grind
Their only win was against Empire Kicks Back, but they had respectable results against Ladybird, Corksuckers, and D-Holes, so that’s enough for me.
Playing their best kickball of the season, they demolished CrossFit in week 4 and then only lost to Los Mats by two last week.
4. Misfit Toys
Misfit struggled defensively in Pool Play, giving up 18 runs/game, but the real problem lay with the offense, only scoring over four runs once. I still think this team has plenty of room to improve, but subpar offense and defense is not a recipe for success. Look for them to get at least two wins in the #5’s.
5. Kicking Assets
A rebuilding season for Kicking Assets, their most impressive result of Pool Play was a 6-3 loss to Drop Stoppers. If they play defense like that they are a threat to win this division, but all their other results indicate that was an outlier.
6. 23rd Street Brewery
They’re on a four game losing streak and have only scored eight runs in those four losses combined. Hard to win when you’re only averaging two runs/game, they gotta get the boots working.
At the top of KVKL defense is the key to success, but down near the bottom it’s usually a competition of who can out-kick their opponent, and this pick is purely based on Rockets having the best legs in the #6’s.
2. Patrick Mahomies
MaHomies put on a respectable showing against A-Head at GOTW, and thats enough to get them a #2 spot here. My current favorite for The Boot.
3. Liberty Hall Late Fees
I like the new mix of talent on the Fees, they won’t be down in the #6’s forever. A couple more additions and they should start climbing the ranks of KVKL beginning next season.
4. JSC’s ElectriKick Eels
Lots of talk about their Week 7 GOTW matchup against Empire, they better bring it under the lights!
5. Empire Kicks Back
Empire hasn’t won a regular season game since 2017, but that changes this year! Let’s go Jordan and Co.!!!
6. Jayhawker CrossFit
First year lumps, they’ll have a lot more fun in Rank Play!