by Mike Daggs, Queen City TE

Ladies and Gentlemen! I present to you, the FINAL Power Rankings of Season 10. It’s been a long season, and at the same time it feels like it flew right past. How is that possible? Who knows. That’s part of the magic that is the Simulation Football League. We’ve seen teams who can’t seem to lose. We’ve seen teams who can’t seem to win. We’ve seen expansion teams look like seasoned veterans. We’ve seen expansion teams look like, well, expansion teams. We’ve seen teams start at the bottom and work their way to the top. We’ve seen teams start at the top and free fall to the bottom. We’ve even seen teams start at the bottom, work their way up, then work their way back down again. And yep, you guessed it – we’ve seen teams start high, go low, and then work their way back up again. No team has been more impressive than Tallahassee – but there’s plenty of other noteworthy teams that deserve a mention. Mexico City – our defending champs. They fell fast out of the top 10 but they’re looking like the team we knew from last season again. Tulsa – way to show everyone what an expansion team can go right out of the gate! San Francisco – they were beat down regularly early on, but half way through they started to look like the legitimate contender they’ll be in future seasons. The playoffs are nearly set – but that tenth spot is still up for grabs depending on how week 12 shakes out! It’s been an absolute blast (and chore) to do these power rankings for you all season long. We’ve got some exciting changes planned for next season to keep things fresh. I’d give you some hints – but then that would spoil all the fun. So, stick around and see what happens this summer once season 11 gets under way! Maybe I’ll talk about it at the convention? Come find me in Dallas and we’ll chat. Without further ado – the week 12 (and final) POWER RANKINGS.

11 - 001Tallahassee has been the most impressive part about season 10. They figured out the winning formula and set their team up perfectly to make a strong run at the championship. Now, it hasn't been all sunshine and butterflies - they had some close games (Atlanta took them to double overtime last week! If you missed the game, watch it on replay). After starting out ranked #6 at the start of the season, they quickly rose to #1 by week 5 and only dropped out of that spot once - maintaining a #1 ranking for the past six consecutive weeks. They're in the driver's seat heading in to the playoffs and EVERYONE will be gunning for them. I'd be very surprised if the MVP doesn't come from the Pride roster. Christian Christiansen is the only QB over 4,000 yards. Ken Gossett is the only receiver over 2,000 yards. The whole D-line nearly has double digit sacks. The team itself is the #1 scoring offense by over 5 points more than the next closest team. They're a top 5 defense in points allowed and #1 at shutting other teams down on 3rd down (can you say SACKED!?). I'm still not convinced it's a gimme that they're going all the way. They've had a few too many close calls to make that assessment. But they're crushing teams left and right too and they're going to be tough to stop.
9 - 2+ 12Alaska may not have been the number 1 team most of the season like Tallahassee was, but they've been a top 5 team all season, never ONCE falling below the #5 mark they had in week 8. They started out at #4 and have bounced around the top 5, settling in at #2 this week. They hit #1 three times. What's my point? Watch out, Tallahassee, there's a Storm brewing up in Alaska and it's aimed right at you. The Pride may be the talk of the SFL, but the Storm is not going away without a fight. I mentioned the D-line for Tallahassee having a lot of sacks. Well guess what? Alaska has BIG SEXY and he's a one man D-line all by himself. Alex Dominguez has the most sacks in the league (nearly 20! You'll get it this week man!), nearly the most tackles for a loss, and even has a freakin pass defensed. The man is a BEAST. QB Ron Cockren is no slouch either - he's right under Christiansen on the leaderboard and putting up crazy impressive numbers. I mentioned Tallahassee's offense is #1 in scoring. Well, Alaska is #2. And guess what, Pride? The Storm defense is even better at points allowed. And stopping the run. And they have a positive turnover differential, whereas yours is a -8. So don't feel too confident, Pride. This Storm is churning and gaining strength, and it's coming for you....
Sioux Falls
8 - 3- 13Sioux Falls made me look silly multiple times this season. I'd sit here going through stats and matchups and trying to figure out which team would do what, and how well they'd do it. I kept coming to the conclusion that the Sioux Falls Sparrows were not going anywhere. I still maintain that it's their mascot. The sparrow just doesn't strike fear on it's own in my mind. Well, they're the #3 team in the league right now, so my opinion throughout the season was flat out wrong. This is a team that has found a way to win, and win, and win again. They started out at #10 in the rankings and after week 1 they were a single digit rank in the top 10 all season long. So how do they do it? This is what has plagued me all season long. They're not a top 5 offense in scoring. They're not a top 5 defense in points allowed. But yet... they're a top 5 team. The way they do it is with good, smart, sound football. If you look at the stats you'll notice that oftentimes teams are good at one thing, but not another. Well, Sioux Falls may not LEAD in any category, but they're good at the pass, they're good at the run, they're good at scoring, they're good at stopping other teams, and they have more takeaways than turnovers. At the end of the day, all you need is more points that your opponent, and THAT'S why the Sparrows are a top 5 team. Keep proving me wrong, Sioux Falls! I can take it!
8 - 304Talk about a climb up the rankings.... Tulsa, an expansion team in Season 10, started out at #16 in the Power Rankings. Why? Well, we didn't know anything about them. They're the noobies. We needed to see what they could DO first. Well, week 1 came and went and they leapt from #16 to #7 after an impressive opening victory over Oklahoma City. They never looked back from that point on - #7 would be the lowest ranking they'd see for the rest of the season in fact. They rode it out for a while at #2 while contending with Tallahassee as the last of the unbeatens for a while - but then their mortality showed through a bit and they lost some games. The last three in a row, to be exact. But they're still one of the top teams in the playoffs and as long they can stop the skid before the playoffs start they'll be just fine. But no matter what happens going forward, anytime a brand new team comes into the league and churns out the results that Tulsa has been able to do it's an impressive feat that everyone on the team needs to be proud of. Especially the defense - darn near 30 takeaways on the season! That's good enough for #1 in the league. Leading the charge - SS Charles Ball with 8 INTs of his own, 2nd place in the league. Nobody knew quite what Tulsa was capable of when they came into the league this season. But they know now. Tulsa is a team that is respected, and feared. And they expect to win it all.
San Antonio
7 - 405Another ladder climber this season was the San Antonio Vaqueros. Starting out at a lowly #13, the Vaqueros also silenced doubters in week 1 with a win over Dallas and have enjoyed a top 10 ranking the rest of the season. They've settled in at the 5 spot for a few weeks now, and frankly they should be OK with that. They're a top 5 team in the league, and no matter what happens in week 12 they'll be ready to go for the playoffs. Much like the Sparrows, they're not dominant in any one category, but they're not BAD in any category either. Good play calling, sound fundamentals, and not making too many mistakes - that's how they're winning ballgames and they've won more than most of the rest of the league. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a receiver like Daley Holder, who is one of only FOUR receivers in the league with over 1,300 yards and double digit touchdowns on the season. It also helps that the offense as a whole is a top 5 team in converting 3rd downs on offense. Keeping drives alive will be key for them in the playoffs as there's a lot of powerful offenses that they'll be facing. Keeping them riding the pine for as long as possible will help them stay alive in the hunt.
Mexico City
6 - 5+ 16The defending champion Mexico City Aztecs. Poor Ray Bentley - he had his heart set on finding Mexico City in 8th place in the Power Rankings all season long. In Season 9 as they kept on winning and winning and winning, they somehow kept showing up in 8th place in the rankings - so the team got used to finding themselves there. Well, in Season 10, they didn't touch #8 even once. For shame, voters. Mexico City's fall from grace came swiftly and was lasting - they started the season as the #1 team (of course, right?) and dropped out of the top 10 by week 3. They hovered just outside the top ten for most of the season, cracking their way back in for week 9. Now sitting at #6, they're the HIGHEST they've been since opening day. And what a time to do it, too - who cares if you're strong at the beginning of the season if you can be strong near the end. If you're in the playoffs (which they are) and you keep winning games, you're going to find yourself in the championship and quite possibly deliver your fans a back to back title run. They've got the players to get this done - Matt Willson may not be the flashiest quarterback around, but he's arguably the best there is. He's got the least amount of interceptions for any quarterback active all season. He's got more 4th quarter comebacks than anyone, ever. And in case you haven't been paying attention - he's a hall of fame finalist. Ray Bentley, as odd of a character as he is, is still trucking over opponents like a boss. Dijon Swann, everyone's favorite Mustard Bird, announced his retirement after this season so you know he's going to want a championship to be his Swann-song! Did I mention this team has the BEST turnover differential in the league at a staggering PLUS 12?!?! The Aztecs have come back to life at the right time, and other teams better be on notice.
Queen City
6 - 5- 17Queen City has one four, count them FOUR, championship trophies in the SFL. Seeing as we're in season 10, quick math tells you that the Corsairs have accounted for almost half of all championship victories. They may only be the #7 team at this stage of the game, but they're stronger than their record gives them credit for. They're still fighting for championship #5. Some key points... 1) They're the only team from this point on in the rankings that has been in the top ten the ENTIRE season. 2) they beat the defending champions in week 1 3) they put up a heck of a fight and came closer than most to beating Tallahassee, 4) they nearly beat Alaska last week losing by only one score. Long time quarterback AJ Caswell announced his retirement after this season, and if you don't think he's going to go out with a bang - you're nuts. The Corsairs are in the playoffs and can make a run at the championship to try and get that 5th trophy before Caswell sails off into the sunset. The key to winning football games, of course, is scoring more points than your opponent - right? Well, we know Tallahassee is #1 in scoring, and Alaska is #2. Who's #3? The Queen City Corsairs. And for anyone still wondering - not sure how it's not common knowledge at this point - but the Queen City Corsairs are from Buffalo, NY. Unlike the majority of our beloved Buffalo-based sports franchises, the Corsairs know all about championship and how to win them. Go ahead and write them off if you'd like. They, just like everyone else in Western New York, embrace the role of the underdog.
6 - 508The Houston Hyenas were #9 to start the season and fell apart quickly. They struggled out of the gate so much that they forget to even score during one of their early season matchups. But then, the pendulum swung. Adjustments were made. Games were played, and won. By week 5, Houston was already back in the top 10 and they've been there ever since - finding themselves now one position higher than they started in and enjoying the view of the playoffs from rank #8. QB Ahmed Cheema will likely be the 6th quarterback this season to pass the 3,000 yard mark after his game in week 12. HB Warren Murray will likely be the 4th runningback to pass 1,400 and could also find himself with double digit touchdowns on the season. He's a top 4 back and is in the conversation with backs like Ray Bentley and Ash Odom. You know you've had a good season when you're right up there with those guys. Receiver D.R. Sim could quite possibly find some milestones of his own this weekend by joining the 1,000 yard and double digit touchdown clubs. This team struggled out of the gate, but they adapted, adjusted, and overcame. Doing whatever it took to win, they are now a playoff team and looking to make a run for it all.
6 - 5+ 19Indianapolis is another new addition to the SFL, and another expansion team to defy the odds and find themselves in the playoffs here in their first season. Starting out with a lowly rank of 14, they shot that ranking and killed it right out of the gate and jumped from #14 to #5 after just one game. For the rest of the season, they fell out of the top 10 only once, but got right back in the following week and haven't left since. Now sitting at #9, you might be thinking "well, it's middle of the road, not all that great". But you'd be wrong. You only need to be a top 10 team to get in the playoffs this season, and once you're there you may as well reset everyone's record to zero. Because at that point, it's win or go home. Indianapolis has found ways to win even when no one thought they could. Remember those mighty Sparrows we talked about earlier? (or did you skip right to this article? shame on you.. scroll up.) The Sparrows are one of the top teams in the league this season, and the Red Devils just slaughtered them. Only lost to them by 2 points earlier on this season too. They'll make a sound game plan for whoever they face in the playoffs, and whoever they face better be on notice - they're not going down without a fight.
5 - 6- 110Atlanta had a chance to basically guarantee themselves a playoff spot last week and just couldn't quite pull off the upset over Tallahassee. It took double overtime, but eventually the Swarm fell. Such an up and down season for this team - starting out at #5 in the rankings and then demolishing the London Knights in week 1, they jumped to #2 and looked well poised to be a contender throughout the season. But there's a reason you shouldn't jump to conclusions after just one game. The Swarm struggled a bit after that point falling eventually out of the top ten. Since then, it's been back and forth. In and out. Now sitting at #10, they're no lock for the playoffs - they're in a MUST WIN this week against a Mexico City team that has been absolutely dominant these past few weeks. If they win, they're in. If they lose, it gets complicated...... St Louis, Vancouver, and San Francisco would ALL need to lose for Atlanta to win the #10 seed. So, Atlanta, WIN THE GAME! Their defense is ALMOST the stingiest in the league - averaging less points allowed than ANYONE but Mexico City. You're not running on this team - so you're going to have to take your chances through the air. Fair warning - they have the third most picks on the season at 24. Good luck!
San Francisco
4 - 7011San Francisco started out dead last in the Power Rankings. I mean, someone had to. But why the Sharks? Owned by former NFL Running Back Ryan Moats, you'd think the voters would've given him a bit more credit. Alas, their season started slow and shaky. They got out of the basement, but ended up back in it. Through four weeks - they were 18, 17, 17, and 18 again. But then the tides shifted, and things started getting better. The Sharks are now at 11 and still in the playoff hunt. Every seven loss team starting with the Sharks needs to win, and needs help, to get into the playoffs. For San Francisco - they need Atlanta, Vancouver, and Oklahoma City to lose. The Sharks decided to take a unique approach to the SFL this season, boasting a star Fullback (Moats) but no star Halfback. Moats is far and away the best FB in the league, but it hasn't quite been enough to help them seal some much needed victories through the season. A big problem early on was the sheer number of interceptions thrown by QB Jacques Luyindula - he has 25 on the season, 2nd most in the league behind only Christian Christiansen. But Christiansen has 39 TDs to Luyindula's 23. But it's a problem that has been largely corrected, and while the Sharks season may end after this weekend, they're well prepared to make a bigger impact in season 11.
Oklahoma City
4 - 7+ 412Oklahoma City is among the few teams to never taste the top ten this season. They're still in the playoff hunt but hanging on by a thread. They've done much better during the second half of the season but the struggle has been real for the Renegades as they fight and claw their way to remain in contention. They need Atlanta to lose (OK let's face it - every 7 loss team needs Atlanta to lose...) and in addition they need either Alaska to lose (uh oh..) or San Antonio to lose (uh oh again..). So I'm not saying it's over... but it's not good. It's crazy though - they have QB Deacon Nickens at the helm running the offense. How they only have 4 wins is beyond me. Let's take a look at the top QB's in the league, shall we? There's Christian Christiansen, then there's Ron Cockren of Alaska, and then there's... oh... wait... what's this? DEACON NICKENS. 3,360 yards, 22 touchdowns on the season! 66% completion percentage! It's madness that they're not a top 5 team, let alone not even in the top 10 once this season. The issue has been that the offense simply can't keep up with the points being surrendered by the defense. The D has allowed the 2nd most points all season, and hasn't helped fix the offenses' mistakes leaving them with a goose egg for a turnover differential. I'd expect some adjustments on the defensive side of the ball heading in to next season.
St. Louis
4 - 7+ 213Not much was expected out of St Louis by the voters at the beginning of the season. Ranking them at #15, they were ranked even lower than an expansion team that had never even played a single snap.... how does that work? Who votes on these things anyway? Madness... Not to be shamed by the voters, the Gladiators went 3 - 1 through the first four weeks of the season. Shot all the way up to #7 in the rankings at one point. Things started to slip after week 5 though and they fell all the way back down to where they started - #15. In this final week, back up to #13 and, you guessed it, in playoff contention. What do they have to do? Well, win, and of course Atlanta must lose.. (poor Atlanta - so many people will be routing against them this weekend. Mexico City's bandwagon will need to be huge to hold this group!). Also - San Francisco must lose, Vancouver must lose, and Sioux Falls must lose... orrrrrr if Carolina and London lose, that works too. They've given it their all and have never shown signs of quitting. They hosted Tulsa last week, a top 5 team that was undefeated for most of the season, and put up a much needed win to keep the season going. Just one more week - one more shot to make it in. The head to Oklahoma City to get work done.
4 - 7- 214Vancouver was another team that was highly rated coming in to the season and fell, fast. After a playoff run in their inaugural season in season 9, they were rated at #7 coming into season 10. They fell to #16 after their first game, and #18 after their second game. I'll never forget after the week 2 power rankings I saw team owner Andy Hamilton in the chat say "Who writes these power rankings?! There's no way we give up 40 points per game!" When I showed him the stats page and he saw that his team had in fact surrendered 80 points over two weeks he was stunned. From there the season had its ups and downs, but the Legion never made it back in to the top 10. Last week, at #12, was the highest they would go. In week 12 they sit at #14 and of course, still in the hunt. They must win. Atlanta must lose. Oklahoma City must lose. It's as simple as that. Potentially the easiest path to the playoffs out of the entire 4 - 7 group. That being said - they played the previously 1 win Dallas Ruffnecks last week.........and lost. So who knows what will happen in week 12. They've come a long way since giving up 40 points per game through the first two weeks of the season, down to under 30 at this point, and have the best turnover differential (+4) of all teams at this record. But the most difficult part about keeping their season alive is step 1....... they must beat the Alaska Storm.
3 - 8+ 215Carolina may have only won three games, but they were in contention for most of them. They lost multiple games in the final seconds on some crazy plays. The teams at #15 and below in the Power Rankings this week are all out of the playoffs and are preparing for season 11. Many of them will need to make changes on both sides of the ball - revamp the game plan, the play book, the roster, etc. One thing that Carolina should NOT TOUCH - their running game. Who's the best running back in the league? Ash Odom? Ray Bentley? BDG Hollewood? Dion Hawkins? Nope, nope, nope, and nope. AJ Francis of the Carolina Skyhawks. One thousand, six hundred, and twenty two yards... but only five touchdowns. And those touchdowns all came late in the season. So, maybe tweak the run game just a bit. But seriously - to have the #1 rusher in the league but not even have a shot at the playoffs heading in to the final week of the season is crazy. But ultimately you need to put up more points than the other team to win, and their offense has had a real hard time getting into the endzone - 2nd to last in points per game. The building blocks are there though for a better run next season.
4 - 7- 216Chicago was the biggest falling star of them all. Yeah I know, not exactly a fun way to start a conversation about Chicago. But, facts is facts. Chicago was the runner up in the championship game in Season 9. That's right - the rookie franchise last season made it all the way to the dance and lost, but made it to the dance nonetheless. They came in to Season 10 ranked #2. They were out of the top 10 after one game and never made it back in. They tried various ways to adjust throughout the season - heck for the first half of the season they had one of the best defenses! It's still a top 10 defense, but it was #1 multiple weeks in a row at points allowed. The offense simply couldn't outscore their opponent even with minimal points being allowed. Quarterback ET King has one of the best completion percentages on the season - 4th best in the league at 73% in fact. But his touchdown to interception ratio has been a problem and not one the defense could overcome. Call it a sophomore slump for the Wildcats - I have no doubt team owner Shann Varner is going to reevaluate after this season and figure out what worked in year one, what failed in year two, and come out swinging in year three.
3 - 8- 417The London Knights are our final expansion franchise from season 10. And the lowest ranked of the four. They started out the season at #17, and after a throttling by Atlanta in week 1 they fell to last place. However, things turned around quickly at that point and they took one of the largest jumps of the season from dead last to the top 10 in one week - going all the way up to 9. In week 5, they hit their season high rank at #6 when they were 3 - 1. Since then, they've lost 7 games in a row to fall right back down to #17 where they started. The ownership reacted by cutting 8 out of their 11 players before our week 12 game has even been played - eliminating the entire offense, most of the defense, and their special teams kicker. Full rebuild mode appears to be underway in London.
2 - 9018Dallas started out in the top 10 at #8. After dropping to 12 in week 2, they wouldn't see the top 10 again. In fact, they've been at 18 since week 5. Does anyone from Dallas still read this power ranking write-up? Of course they do - they're not quitters. This is a group of guys who have seen their season not go anything like they had hoped. But as a broadcaster, I've had the opportunity to call a game for just about every single team this season, and when I'm broadcasting I watch the chat to see who's there and what's being talked about. I always saw a good turnout from the Dallas Ruffnecks and it was always so great to see. If anything positive can be taken away from season 10 for Dallas, it's that they have a full season of experience under the new progression system to see what went wrong, why things didn't work how they planned, and they'll be able to adapt and adjust to head in to season 11. Dallas will likely start out next season at the bottom of the rankings too - but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them become the next Tulsa and finish in the top 5. If nothing else - there's nowhere to go but up! Good luck to you next season, Dallas!