Written by Baylee O’Shaugnessey, Josh Farnzy, Stefaun Forge, Rae Colston and Matthew Slinn
Images by Axel Raven and Hubba Kimbrel
Trying to formulate Power Rankings in the first week is tough. Half the league is 1-0 and the other half 0-1. No team has displayed a series of wins or losses and those of us who have been around the SFL for a while know that Week 1 throws up some interesting results. Trying to predict Week 1 of any SFL season and therefore judge the abilities of each team afterwards is a near impossible task. Yet, this Power Rankings team of writers aims to accomplish that goal to the best of our ability every season. Why am I opening with this explanation, you might think? Well, one evening last week, the exact date I cannot remember, I tuned in to listen to a popular SFL-based Podcast. The segment I happened upon took a look at our Week 1 Power Rankings with a critical eye, something that I very much welcome. Critique of public work, especially when it is something as subjective as the Power Rankings is important. What I did not bargain for, was a clear dismissal of myself and my writing team personally, as if to say, ‘Why are we bothering taking this article seriously when it was published by this person/these people‘. That is not a critique of writing skill, a critique of the Power Rankings order or a critique of the process we go through to produce the article. How do I know this? Because the views given showed a clear lack of understanding of how the Power Rankings article is put together and misinformation about how many people are involved in formulating these rankings.
So, to ensure there is no further confusion, let me talk you all through the process. Obviously, for those that already know or simply aren’t interested, skip forwards a bit to our Week 2 rankings, complete with a new format.
Each week starts on an Excel spreadsheet, which thanks to the brilliant mind of Ray Bentley, tracks each team’s record, previous opponents and aggregate points score. We also track the Power Rankings placement of each team through the weeks to better inform our judgements. We then input our rankings into the spreadsheet and the order determined by each team’s average. Once the order is finalised, we write our assignments ready to be published. That’s the basics. It becomes more nuanced when you take into account the fact that we have six brains forming their own Power Rankings, the five writers and Ray Bentley. That’s six people with six different opinions on who deserves credit and who doesn’t. Six people whose process is different, six people who value one statistic over another. Six people who have vastly different levels of experience in the SFL from seasoned veteran to rookies. This variance and disagreement even between ourselves is what ensures the fairness of the article. It’s what keeps integrity high and hopefully, it adds some weight to the quality of the rankings.
I don’t claim that we’re perfect, far from it. There will be mistakes. I just hope that in future, when criticism is aimed at content creators of all types, it comes from an educated place and not one of ignorance.
So, without further ado, let’s hit you with some rankings!
The Baltimore Vultures just know how to come good in the clutch, don’t they? Confidence seeps through the pores of this team and every player manages to galvanise themselves at the most crucial of times. One of these times faced rookie running back Jimmy Hazzard during Week 2, as he faced a Portland defence that had kept him quiet for most of the game. With a mere 2 minutes left in OT, Hazzard split the defensive line with a wicked spin move before gassing his way to a walkoff touchdown. It was the perfect way for Hazzard to score his first ever SFL TD. The rest of the game was all about the connection between Jack Wigmore and his two stud receivers, Ervin and Chimah. Both ripped through the Portland defense, helping Wigmore to reach 476 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions. This Baltimore Vultures offense looks sharp this season, even more lethal now they know they have a good player in Hazzard. It wasn’t all plain sailing though. A fumble by T-Roy Gaines late in the 4th gave Portland the chance to take a famous victory, but the defense geld strong and forced a FG, giving Hazzard his time to shine in OT. The Vultures remain top of our rankings. It will take something special, you would think, to remove them.
Was this victory early signs of an SFL championship level season from Arizona? Only time will tell, but a tough 12-20 victory over the much-fancied Fort Worth Toros should put the SFL on notice. This Arizona Scorpions team is much more than just hype. This first quarter started in cagey fashion, Arizona struggling to gather much momentum resulting in a 6-0 deficit in favour of the visiting Toros, but that lead wasn’t going to last long. A touchdown pass from Ashley Jackson to her favourite receiver, Donnie Hands was coupled with a score by DJ Moses, who ran the ball hard all game, catapulted the Scorpions into a 8-point lead at the half. The 8-point margin would not be relinquished for the entirety of the second half, Arizona proving their defensive prowess by keeping the Toros out of the end zone. Both strong teams cancelled each other out, hitting two field goals each during two quarters of hard-nosed action. Special mentions must go to defensive backs Parker Thomas and Vernard Smith IV, who combined for three interceptions and a couple of PD’s, giving Cameron Curtis fits all game. The Scorpions find themselves very close to the summit of our rankings based on two excellent victories against extremely strong opponents. Week 3’s tilt vs the Queen City Corsairs (another team at 2-0) gives a chance for Eddie Gauge’s team to cement their assault on thew West Division and the rest of the SFL.