Classic City Classic Pool Play Predictions

If Southern Miss was at Classic City Classic (CCC) this weekend, I would have let Francis write this post. Because we all know he would have picked them to finish dead last. And then I’d get to watch the Southern guys destroy Francis on Twitter if they broke seed, even if they finished second-to-last.

That would have been funny.

Alas, Southern Miss is not in that number this weekend, but the CCC field is graced with four Bama Secs teams: LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Tulane. Four pretty damn strong Bama Secs teams.

So how will these four fare at this all-important Fall tournament? My predictions!

LSU

Will break seed … Or have it broken, I should say. No Yeti this weekend is a big, big loss at a tournament of this quality. You cannot replace a player of his caliber on the field nor can you hide his absence with schemes and game plans. Not against these kind of teams. LSU’s youth will be exposed to the elements, and they will be harsh.

All of that being said, there is a considerable amount of young talent on this team. Sectionals and Regionals games are not won or lost in the Fall, but the experience these guys get this weekend without Yeti should help this team win more games than not come Spring.

Prediction: 2-3 in Pool A

Auburn

Will hold seed. Auburn-Y lost to Emory at Hootenanny a few weeks back, but only by two points. If Auburn is taking a full squad to CCC, they should be able to hold off Emory this weekend.

Usually not a fan of Sectional match-ups in big tournaments like this. But … Looking forward to the Auburn-LSU matchup. If Auburn cannot beat LSU without Yeti, how will they be able to beat LSU this Spring?

Prediction: 1-4 in Pool A

Tulane

I want to say that Tulane is going to break seed, because they are under-seeded to be honest. But hot damn, Pool B is a B.I.T.C.H.

North Carolina, Florida and Georgia Tech at the top. Upstart Cincinnati, a team with a really, really good Fall resume so far this season, as the 4th seed in the pool. And then Tulane.

I think they’ll hold seed. I think they’ll challenge one or more of those top four teams — probably Cincinnati — but I don’t know if they’re ready to get over that hump yet.

Prediction: 1-4 in Pool B

Alabama

This will be our first real look at Alabama this Fall, because I’m not really reading into their results at Hootenanny (They sent only a “X” squad and made it to the Quarters).

We all know what this team can do, and that’s win games. You can’t explain why they win, THEY JUST WIN. They are the Tim Tebows of the Section.

So let’s kickstart the 2014 Alabama ROLL TIDE PAWWWWWL hype machine by predicting that the Bammers will be the only team of the four Bama Secs teams this weekend to BREAK SEED.

Prediction: 3-2 in Pool D

Interview with LSU’s Garrett Yetman

https://scontent-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/s720x720/557389_493266594018746_911378945_n.jpgI got a chance to interview LSU’s Garrett Yetman before his team heads to Classic City Classic this weekend. Enjoy!

It would be irresponsible of Bama Secs to start this interview with a question unrelated to your experience in 2012 at Junior Worlds. I think most ultimate players would agree that playing on Team USA in any capacity, including Junior Worlds, is more prestigious than playing at Nationals. Would you agree with that?

Yes, I would most definitely agree to that. Being able to represent your country while wearing the letters USA across your chest is the most incredible feeling of all time. It’s something I had only dreamed of until the summer of 2012 when all of those dreams came true. So, yes I absolutely agree that it is more prestigious than playing at Nationals, however Nationals is also very prestigious.

And see, you’ve already accomplished both of those things – Nationals (with Catholic High School) and Team USA. Which one meant more to you and why?

This, for me, was an extremely easy decision to make in choosing whether Nationals or Team USA meant more. Nationals with my high school, Catholic High, definitely meant more to me. Although I had always dreamed of playing for Team USA, nothing is more fulfilling than standing on a line with six of your best friends and kicking established programs asses when no one had ever heard of us. When we rolled up to Corvallis, Oregon, almost nobody had ever heard of Frisbee being played in the South. The other teams thought we played Frisbee with airboats and alligators whilst making sweet love to our first cousins. Nothing felt better when we were the only team to bagel an opponent and when we got third. This set the bar high for Southern Frisbee and ultimately put our high schools on the map. Although winning a gold medal with your country’s letters written across your chest with 20 other ballin’ players was jaw-dropping, it wasn’t with my best friends and it was something the USA was expected to do. So that’s why I think playing at Nationals meant more to me.

https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/230985_1804760551408_1216972_n.jpgSo, to recap, because I don’t think enough can be said about this resume: Nationals in high school, Team USA. But now you’re in college. LSU is the only program in the Gulf Coast Conference that has been to Nationals (as far as Bama Secs historians can recall), twice in the late 1990s. What did you learn from your experiences at HS Nationals and Worlds that will help you and LSU add a trip to College Nationals to that resume?

I think that the biggest thing I can bring to the plate is seriousness and actually taking this sport to the next level. Every team I have played for has had a serious attitude and mindset. We would go into every single game wanting to win and never giving up, no matter what. It was somewhat difficult for me last year, along with some other Catholic High players, because LSU has been know to have such a DGAF mentality while living out the Hammered Idiot persona. This year there is a new LSU, one that has never been seen before, one that will put this year’s team on a new level. We are centered around effort and unity. Now that I have been given rights to lead this team, along with Tim Lala, we have administered a new mindset to each and every player which is to never give up and to always bust your ass.

Before anyone around here really knew who you were, one of our writers often referred to you as “Junior Worlds Junior” in our stories last year. Did that bother you any?

Answer: No, it didn’t bother me at all. People can call me whatever they want to, but at the end of the day it really does not matter. I’m already prepared for the numerous nicknames to come such as Miley Cyrus, Macklemore, and yet again the infamous Junior Worlds Junior. But to answer the question simply, no it definitely doesn’t bother me.

Speaking of the blog, let’s talk about last spring. Specifically the Rookie of the Year ballot and your comments on Bama Secs defending your case as ROY:

CB said it himself that I am the most naturally gifted player in the conference and everyone respects the voice of CB. So fucking base your decisions on each category off of who the BEST player is. I’m sick of hearing that I’m not getting FOTY because of my attitude in the ole miss game. I fucking played my ass off this past weekend through having a fever and I fucking balled out and so did my teammates.

Do you regret anything you said here on Bama Secs based on the reaction other players had to your comments?

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/914043_10102175985349945_878438473_o.jpgThis is an interesting question that can be answered in many different ways, but I will just go about it in one specific way. Am I sorry for what I said? Kind of. Could I have worded what I said differently? Most definitely. Was I trying to disrespect anyone? Absolutely not. I understand that SOTG is what separates our sport from every other sport out there, but it isn’t what our sport revolves around. I honestly think that people over define SOTG. It’s not a battle to see which team can suck the most dick, because quite frankly no one would be able to swallow us when we have Mount (Horsie) on our side. When you let what is essentially politics get in the way of deciding who the best rookie is people will inevitably turn to SOTG and who was the nicest. But, in all actuality it’s who the best rookie is, not who the nicest rookie is. And that’s what I was trying to say, I just probably worded it poorly. To advance this sport, which should be our goal, everyone needs to have a serious mindset and play to be competitive, not to be nice. You are playing to win, not to make friends. I’m not saying to be a douche to everyone on the field, but have a mutual respect for the other team and its players and that’s what SOTG is. It’s not a contest to see who is the nicest. Just keep the competitive nature of the sport at hand so people can take us more seriously.

You also said this about Evan Walter, who played for Team USA at Junior Worlds with you:

But, if I don’t get FOTY and I lose it to Evan Walter because he’s nice to everyone and I’m not afraid to tell you how it is, then that’s bullshit. Sorry, but it is. Base your decision off of who the best freshman IS, not who the nicest is. No disrespects to Evan, because he is a great player and I’ve learned his style and I’ve played with him.

In hindsight, do you think that Evan Walter the player deserved the recognition he received from the rest of the Conference just as much as you did?

Evan Walter definitely deserved as much recognition as me, no doubt. Walter and I were both teammates on the 2012 Junior Worlds Team, which means he’s just as good and better than me at certain things. I was definitely not meaning to downplay Evans performance at all, if that’s how it seemed. There are things he is better than me at and there’s things I’m better than him at, as is this case with many players. His defense is way better than mine, but I feel like my offense is better. Nonetheless, Evan is an incredible player, athlete, and he has a lot to offer to this sport.

https://scontent-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/s720x720/542281_342177049200913_1076495221_n.jpgObviously this rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. We had more comments on that story than maybe any in our history. How do you think you can go about improving your reputation among the other teams/players in the Conference this season? And do you think it’s important for a player of your caliber to have a good reputation when it comes to Spirit of the Game, for example?

I think there’s only one way I can go about changing peoples perception of me and that’s by on the field attitude. And, quite frankly, I don’t know if people will change their mind. I can only hope that they do. You can ask my teammates, Captain, and Tulane members and I think they will all agree that I have presented a more mature and level-headed player. Hopefully people will see this change and development as a person and player I have undergone and change their perception of me.

Speaking of Spirit of the Game. In my opinion, there is a widening gap in regards to SOTG between the young players of this sport like yourself and some of the older ultimate players. Do you think there’s still a place in competitive ultimate for SOTG now and in the future? And, if so, how important is it that we continue to maintain that element of ultimate?

I definitely think there is a place for SOTG in present ultimate and future ultimate. Ultimate is different because we have SOTG, but that does not mean that we take the sport lighter than any other we have played. We should still play Ultimate with the same intensity as we would play football, soccer, or basketball. I personally think that for people to take this sport seriously, outside of the Frisbee community, is going to take toughening the sport up. I’m not saying to throw away SOTG because it is a vital aspect to Ultimate, but we should definitely not make it the center of our sport if we want others to take us seriously. Ultimate is badass and is intense already, but there’s always room for improvement and I think as a community we can advance it in the direction we want it to go.

I’m still close enough to the LSU program to know that you and the other young guys on the team are trying to change the culture of LSU Ultimate this year. How is that change going to look compared to LSU teams of the past few years?

This year’s team will be an LSU team that no one has ever seen before. We are new and improved so y’all better watch out. Unfortunately we won’t be having our entire roster at any tournaments in the Fall, so when Spring time rolls around I believe everyone will be surprised. We are an incredibly young team with most of the A team being composed of Sophomores and Freshman. We got rid of any existing DGAF mentalities and have further improved our program. Our practices have been extremely taxing and I would venture to say that practices have been a lot more difficult than last year’s, and it’s only the Fall. I wish every team in this Conference the best of luck, and I can’t wait to see y’all in action on the field.

You guys have been pretty active already this fall. Scrimmaged Tulane a few weeks ago in New Orleans, went to Auburn this past weekend and now Classic City Classic on the horizon. What other events/tournaments do you plan to attend this fall before the spring season?

Yea, we scrimmaged Tulane a few weeks back in a grueling match up. We were without 3 key players in Zach Fruge, Travis Vermaelen, and Tim Lala. Tulane looks incredibly solid, especially their handler movement, and they are a group of veterans that are seeking blood. So, I would definitely watch out for them and whoever thinks they aren’t a force to be reckoned with you’re wrong, very wrong. On another note, LSU looks to attend CCC this upcoming weekend, and I send my best wishes to the LSU guys traveling up to Georgia, as I wont be in attendance, as well as every other team from our Conference that is attending. Show them what this Conference is made of  and do work!

Much Love,

Yeti

CCC Pools are Posted

The annual Classic City Classic (CCC) is next weekend in Athens, Georgia, and it’s always been one of the premiere fall college tournaments. Pools have been posted already.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for Itchfest results

We will have a proper preview of CCC next week, after the pools settle. They’re likely to change, just like every other ultimate frisbee tournament format in history.

Initial thoughts?

  • Tulane is especially under-seeded and primed to break seed if they are taking a full squad.
  • Francis thinks more highly of Auburn than I do, but clearly they are in a good position to break seed as well.
  • Also, actually looking forward to that in-conference matchup between Auburn and LSU. Both teams should have solid squads at CCC and this will be a nice little preview for the spring.

LSU-Alabama is The Game of the … Week

We are no strangers to the LSU-Alabama rivalry around here, though it has admittedly been a one-sided affair at Sectionals the last four years.

I guess it hasn’t been much different on the football field lately either, though. Aside from that gripping 9-6 field goal fest a few years ago, LSU has been on the wrong end of this matchup the last few times these teams have met. Including last year’s heart-breaking loss in the final minute, which, to me, was the best football game I’ve ever attended that LSU lost.

[Related Post: Bama Secs, Where Are They Now?]

So these teams will renew their “rivalry” this weekend on the football field, with less at stake (for LSU at least) than in previous seasons. I say rivalry in quotes because Bammer fans have put the kibosh on LSU as their rival this week, much like LSU does with Ole Miss. Fair is fair. Alabama owns LSU right now, both on the gridiron and at Sectionals.

Auburn fans, however, feeling left out of this “are they rivals or not?” debate would like to remind you that they have a dog in this fight too, and it’s not Alabama. DUH.


Auburn Ultimate, I implore you to add this man to your roster. If nothing else, he’s going to win the party at Sectionals.

LSU and Tulane Scrimmaged on Saturday, Here’s What You Should Know

First, a preface: It’s just the Fall.

Still, it’s fun to watch ultimate and then talk about it like it mattered. Even if it was just a scrimmage very early in the season. Because it matters to us, damn it!

The Tulane A team defeated the LSU A team on campus in New Orleans Saturday afternoon, 13-10, in front of a small crowd that consisted of me, a handful of Tulane coeds and several walk-of-shamers passing through the Tulane quad.

If you didn’t open Twitter on Saturday, then you missed me putting on a live-tweeting clinic. Hopefully there will be more of that in our future, because it was fun. You also missed out on the action, then, so I’ll jot down some thoughts on both of these teams and what to expect from them this season.

  • Both of these teams are huge, and I don’t mean height. Numbers. And I know the LSU team was missing several players. Potential for both teams to have B teams playing this spring. Maybe, if we’re lucky, they both will send B teams to Sectionals too.
  • Tulane has a really strong core. Greg Cousins, Xerxes and Evan Walter can almost single-handedly walk the offense down the field every point. But the player I came away most impressed with from Tulane was Pat, who spent most of his time as a handler. He played for Prairies Squids this summer during the club season. He was virtually unguardable as a handler, making quick, decisive throw-and-go cuts. Several of Tulane’s points were generated by his ability to move the disc downfield by his handler cuts alone.
  • Speaking of Xerxes, if you are guarding that guy this year you better be ready to run. Dude put on a cutting clinic. Relentless worker on the field.
  • All that being said, Tulane did struggle a little bit with huck offense. And they tried several deep shots, most of those in the direction of Walter. He’s a big enough guy to go up with anyone, but most of their shots were overthrown. They looked good working the disc down the field, so if they can improve huck offense it’ll help with some of the offensive efficiency numbers.
  • LSU’s offense goes through Yeti, no surprise there. But they have several young players around him now with the talent to be just as impactful on offense. Tom Echols and Slutz, both rookies, are going to have GIGANTIC impacts this spring. When these two have the disc in their hands, they don’t look like rookies. Slutz got injured early in the A team scrimmage on a beautiful layout score thrown by Echols. It would have been nice to see more of him. Echols had a rookie misfire or two, but unleashed some monster backhands and his flick huck is improving as well. Both will be in the running for Bama Secs ROY, guaranteed.
  • Notable that there were no blow-ups from Yeti, and he seemed composed and in-control as a team leader. There were a few conversations on the field after a few calls, but I never heard him raise his voice. The only time I saw him get really frustrated was when he dropped a disc in the middle of the field. He slammed his fist on the ground in disgust, but who among us hasn’t had a moment like that?
  • I caught myself wondering if I was looking at the best two teams in the section this year. It wouldn’t surprise me. I was impressed with the quality of play for a college scrimmage. Didn’t see as many bad throws/decisions as I expected to see. Think that says a lot about the quality of the players on both these squads. They’ll both be contenders, for sure, but we already knew that.

The Future of Championship Ultimate: Indoors?

Mother Nature does not care where USA Ultimate decides to host Club Nationals.

When USA Ultimate decided to move Nationals to Frisco, Texas, before the start of this season, I wondered how much last year’s weather in Sarasota, Florida, affected that decision. Persistent wind and the threat of more, perhaps a cancellation or postponement of the tournament had the tropical storm fueling the gusts off the coast of Florida last year been more threatening, may have forced USA Ultimate’s hand for this year’s event and future events. After all, the product was now being streamed live by niche ultimate sites like Ultiworld and, perhaps more importantly for the future of the sport, mega-sports site ESPN.

Not that the change in geography mattered all that much to Mother Nature. She still wreaked havoc on the field at Nationals this year in Frisco, with blustery conditions — again, sans tropical storm this time — on Sunday during finals play.

We had a saying in college ultimate, that wind and rain are the great equalizers of this sport. It’s even true at the elite level, apparently. Turnovers and long points plagued teams this weekend, as elite throwers across all three divisions struggled with the elements. It affected the product on the field which, in turn, affected the product seen by anyone watching on ESPN3. Knowing that decision-making people at ESPN likely were tuning in as well had to make USA Ultimate a little uneasy.

A friend and I had a brief conversation on the topic of weather and ultimate yesterday and he made an interesting point: Wind doesn’t seem to affect NFL quarterbacks much in the same way it affects ultimate players, even these elite ultimate players. Now, granted, there’s a significant difference in the receptacle used by each sport, but the statement begs the question: Why aren’t our elite players able to overcome the elements like, say, an elite football player?

Because maybe it’s not about the players at all. Maybe it’s about the sport itself, specifically the product used to play ultimate — the disc.

I’m not a scientist or a physicist, but I know a few things about footballs from playing and watching the sport. Footballs have a good deal of weight to them. Their flight pattern is much different in the air and they don’t tend to float. A football has a much shorter flight, which means less time aloft and less time for wind to affect that flight. Not to say wind doesn’t affect quarterbacks at all, because it certainly does particularly on longer throws. But the effect is less noticeable on television for football players, as opposed to ultimate.

The thin, light plastic disc used to play ultimate is at the mercy of the elements. Slippery when wet, volatile in the wind. And it’s obvious when you watch ultimate online how much the elements are affecting the players, who are all essentially “quarterbacks” at some point during a game. The on-field product and the actual skill level of these elite players are being diminished by Mother Nature.

When football decided to start playing games in domed stadiums, many argued it would change the game. Football traditionalists said football should be played outside in the elements, like it’s always been played.

Playing football games inside did, indeed, change the game. The game became faster, stream-lined, offense-friendly and more exciting to fans. Playing indoors made football more watchable on television.

That’s exactly what USA Ultimate wants to do with ultimate.

Ultimate, like football, also was born outside, on a grass field with the elements in play. But when the eyes of the world are watching online on a site like ESPN, USA Ultimate needs to put on a show. It needs the sport to look as appealing as possible to old fans and new alike. It needs the elite players of the sport to actually look elite, both as throwers and as athletes. It needs better watch-ability, because the better the product looks on the screen the more fans, players, advertisers, investors and, subsequently, money USA Ultimate can generate from the sport.

Perhaps, then, it’s time for USA Ultimate to consider moving championship level games indoors.