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  #1   IP: 24.9.68.94
Old 01-12-2012, 03:12 PM
dizzy dizzy is offline
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Default Top IFL Teams (1 month until camps open)

Only a month until camps open so rosters are definitely starting to take shape and you can definitely see what teams are front runners for a championship season.

Contenders

1- Sioux Falls Storm (11-3)*- Can't do anything but put them at #1. Though they are a year older and lost some talented players they still have a great offense and the top player in the league in Chris Dixon. Would be scared with his age if the OL wasn't any good, but by far the best OL in the league will be in Sioux Falls next season. Their defense will probably cost them a few games this year, with very little returning on the DL and at DB. Not as strong of a team as last year, but still the favorites heading into the season.

2- Tri-Cities Fever (11-3)*- A team that I wasn't as high on a few months ago has added some great talent since then. By far the most explosive offense in the entire league; if they can find an OL this team could be putting up 50-60 a game. Again, defense will be interesting as they lost some top players from that side of the ball, but would fully expect some of the newcomers to fill in nicely. May lose some early due to getting a new OL put together and working in some new defensive players, but definitely would not want to see this team once their offense gets going. Don't be surprised if Houston Lillard is the 2012 MVP.

3- Colorado Ice (11-3)*- A team that quietly has been lurking for the past few months as they did most of their signings early in the off season. A lot of players with arena experience on the roster could help them get off to another fast start. QB, David Knighton will be entering his 3rd season with the team and could be primed for a great season. The WR group could hurt this team early with a lot of unknowns for them. Arguably the best group of DB's in the league; this title will be tested very early with early season match-ups against Tri-Cities and Allen.

4- Allen Wranglers (10-4)*- The more I look at this team the less I like them as a title contender. NO argument about the talent they have in Allen, just have a weird feeling that there will be plenty of problems with the players and coaching staff there with all of the lofty expectations. No secret that there is money being thrown around there with the recent TO negotiations, so with money comes expectations and if expectations aren't met there will be changes. Very good group of OL, DL, and DB's, but beyond that not sure about the talent level to be a Top 3 team at least. Whoever the QB ends up being will determine how this team finishes this season (in my opinion Tuitama gives them the best chance).

5- Omaha Beef (9-5)*- Much like the Ice, have been sitting on a talented group of players for most of the off season. A very large group of young players will probably cause some problems early on, but by the end of the season the talent level should take over. The schedule looks very favorable for them to get those young guys accustomed to the league as their first seven games are against Wichita twice, Nebraska, Wyoming twice, Green Bay, and Cedar Rapids. The defense and James McNear will be responsible for carrying this team early on, and then we will see how all those young athletes can play after that. Very solid team overall; no immediate strengths or weaknesses.

Middle of the Pack

6- Reading Express (8-6)*- Will be interesting to see how this team plays with a new coaching staff and QB. They have a lot of talent all over the place and much like Omaha, could be relying on some young players early on. Only difference is that those young players are in some pretty important positions. No doubt they will be able to play with the top teams this year, just a matter of closing out those games. Opening with Green Bay and then Sioux Falls will let them know real quick if they are going to be a contender or not. Like the group of OL and DL that they have. Much better than some think.

7- New Mexico (7-7)*- One of those teams that has been a little under the radar this off season. Have put together a very good roster that could very well win the Intense Conference. The WR group is by far the weak point of this team, but with a good OL and good QB they can probably push through some of these issues early on. A very good RB group will also help relieve some pressure. A solid defense will give them plenty of opportunities to win games early on. Open up with Colorado at home in the first game; will be a good opportunity to show what type of team they will have this season. Will probably be a much better team than their record will indicate.

8- Cedar Rapids (8-6)*- Another team that is a little under the radar, but putting together a solid team. With Terry and Jackson this is easily a playoff team because of the talent they have elsewhere. Without Terry and Jackson, this is still a playoff team because of experience at key positions, but it wouldn't be as easy. QB Willie Copeland has been one of the better QB's in the league over the past few seasons and will definitely lead them to some early wins. A good mix of veterans and rookies could be very beneficial throughout the entire season.

9- Everett Raptors (6-8 )- The scheduling committee didn't do much to help them out, but with some solid players they will have chances in every game. That being said, this team will most likely finish worse than their talent would lead you to believe; play Tri-Cities three times, Allen three times, Colorado twice, New Mexico twice, Nebraska twice, and Wyoming once. With a schedule like that they will not have many opportunities to pad the win column. One of the most exciting QB-WR combo in the league with McCullum and Piper-Jordan. A very suspect DB group could lead to many problems though, especially with the passing attacks they will face throughout the season.

10- Green Bay Blizzard (8-6)- I was giving them some added spots in the rankings only a few months ago because of the expectation that they would be able to bring in some solid talent. A month away from camp they have a total of 6 guys on the OL and DL; and not a very impressive group at that. A good group of receivers and defensive backs coupled with a great linebacker and solid QB play will allow them to win some games they shouldn't. If they don't make some moves soon to bring in some better prospects on the OL and DL it could be a very long year though.

11- Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (6-8 )- Still my surprise team in the league as I think they can put together a solid season and sneak into the playoffs. Will have to rely on getting guys up to speed very quickly at some positions, but when that happens they could be a very dangerous team. With Thompson now in place as the head coach, they have been able to bring in some talented players to fill some of the holes they had only a few months ago. A group of solid players in place already and the ability to add a few more in the final month could mean some big things early on.

12- Chicago Slaughter (6-8 )- Another team that could surprise because of some talented players in important positions. Much like last year though, the offense could be stuck having to carry the team. Solid group of skilled players on the offensive side of the ball will lead to a very exciting team that will put up a lot of points; but with the defense they have, Chicago could need 50 a game to win. Will be a very interesting battle at QB between Juice Williams and Ben Sankey. Not sure there is a good way to handle the situation with both being very capable, but not too willing to take a back-up role or split time.

Pretenders

13- Nebraska Danger (4-10)- A group that has plenty of talent, but little direction. Right now they have 10 roster spots being spent on WR's that are either older or unproven. Very little depth elsewhere, which doesn't matter much if they stay healthy and all the talent shows up for camp, but with knowing the IFL, neither are things I would bet on. Lack of direction at the top killed a solid team last year, and could do the same this year after loosing some of their best players on both sides of the ball. OL will be the strong point of this roster.

14- Wichita Wild (4-10)- Good enough team to play with some teams, but with losing their two biggest offensive weapons in Fudge and Solomon, they will have some big holes to fill. Competing with Everett for toughest schedule in the league; having to play Allen four times, Omaha three times, Sioux Falls, New Mexico twice, Nebraska Twice, Bloomington, and Green Bay. Phil Staback is good for 2-3 wins by himself, but beyond that it could be a long season. Lost too much talent to follow up on last years strong finish.

15- Wyoming Cavalry (2-12)- Have some more talented players than usual in Wyoming, but with their schedule it will be a very long season in Casper. Play Colorado four times, Everett, Omaha twice, Nebraska, Tri-Cities three times, New Mexico twice, and Sioux Falls once. That is 8 of their 14 games against arguably the Top 3 teams. Offense will be very solid, but the lack of talent on the defensive side will hurt them with the offenses they will face. The type of offense they run could keep them closer than expected though.

16- Bloomington Edge (2-12)- Unless they plan on playing Antonio Ficklin on both sides of the ball it will be a very very long season in Bloomington if their roster doesn't improve. With a roster full of rejects from other teams, or players that didn't produce much for them in years past, Bloomington is setting themselves up for a 0 win season. Would fully assume they add some more talent over the next month because there is no way they can expect to win with that roster.

*Projected Playoff Team

Last edited by dizzy; 01-12-2012 at 03:16 PM.
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  #2   IP: 24.229.196.100
Old 01-12-2012, 05:34 PM
Comet Comet is offline
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This is an interesting analysis. The only big things I'd change is sliding your sections down. Nebraska still has time to bolster their team, and they've proven to deliver a fun environment (i.e. sellouts) that players may aspire to play in. Put the Danger mid-pack. You might want to slide the Reading Express up into the Contenders (or once they win at least one of their first two). The team is impressive, but the fact that it was assembled by a rookie head coach in Steinmeyer makes it even more impressive. If Steinmeyer can recruit like this year one, he's going to be a superstar in years to come. That's my 2 cents.
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  #3   IP: 209.240.191.66
Old 01-13-2012, 07:38 AM
mike mayock mike mayock is offline
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Really insightful and unbiased report. Almost too good for a message board. To bad the IFL doesn't have a pre-season magazine. Dead on with most of your thoughts...Most!
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  #4   IP: 66.231.15.254
Old 01-13-2012, 11:18 AM
Bouncer_Texxx Bouncer_Texxx is offline
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A few observations...

The Storm's defensive backfield is actually returning 4 players that started for their teams last year at some point. Franks, Moore, R. Kelly (Wichita) and Akridge...

MLB is a question though with McIntyre in Cedar Rapids, and Knight in KC(AFL)..I've always wondered how Franks might do moving down...

The O line is stout.. but after the 3 starters.. including one that had off-season surgery..things get thinner than I'd like them to be

Defensive line has vets, and by vets I mean 6-7 years in indoor ball...we'll see how the grind of the season treats them, and we'll see how the new guys look when camp opens in a few weeks.

Green Bay might be ranked a bit low. Coach Fuller does a great job getting the most out of his players, and does a good job of recruiting players that will play within his system. He should thrive in a supportive, stable environment in Green Bay (ie, they will pay him), returning some top flight talent in Pray and Hill. They'll make noise, potentially early, as they open the season in Sioux Falls.

Cedar Rapids might be a bit high. Even with Storm players Terry, Jackson, McIntyre, and Simmonds on their roster (all started at some point in 2011) these are still the re-branded La Crosse Spartans...

I'd move GB up to 6, CR down to 10 and leave the rest.. overall a good diagnosis.
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  #5   IP: 12.168.83.126
Old 01-13-2012, 01:08 PM
exit322 exit322 is offline
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Wouldn't at all be shocked to see some combo of Terry, Jackson, McIntyre, and Simmonds back on the Storm roster, given these *are* the Spartans.
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  #6   IP: 66.231.15.254
Old 01-13-2012, 01:40 PM
Bouncer_Texxx Bouncer_Texxx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exit322 View Post
Wouldn't at all be shocked to see some combo of Terry, Jackson, McIntyre, and Simmonds back on the Storm roster, given these *are* the Spartans.
Terry is done with the Storm and/or the other way around... there appear to be some really hard feelings there...

Jackson, and Simmonds got buried in the depth of the 2011 Storm defensive backfield, both want to start full time.

McIntyre is the one that stuns and saddens me the most. He played arguably the best 3 games of his career in the playoffs, yet he didn't get re-signed. I've got no insight, no answers. I wonder if they're looking to bring in a bigger and/or faster guy to play that position (They did have Kelly Rouse at the beginning of the 2011 season)
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  #7   IP: 12.168.83.126
Old 01-13-2012, 01:49 PM
exit322 exit322 is offline
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He may need/want to be closer to home (McIntyre) - a quick look indicates he went to college in Iowa, under two hours from Cedar Rapids.
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  #8   IP: 24.9.68.94
Old 01-13-2012, 08:30 PM
dizzy dizzy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouncer_Texxx View Post
A few observations...

The Storm's defensive backfield is actually returning 4 players that started for their teams last year at some point. Franks, Moore, R. Kelly (Wichita) and Akridge...

MLB is a question though with McIntyre in Cedar Rapids, and Knight in KC(AFL)..I've always wondered how Franks might do moving down...

The O line is stout.. but after the 3 starters.. including one that had off-season surgery..things get thinner than I'd like them to be

Defensive line has vets, and by vets I mean 6-7 years in indoor ball...we'll see how the grind of the season treats them, and we'll see how the new guys look when camp opens in a few weeks.

Green Bay might be ranked a bit low. Coach Fuller does a great job getting the most out of his players, and does a good job of recruiting players that will play within his system. He should thrive in a supportive, stable environment in Green Bay (ie, they will pay him), returning some top flight talent in Pray and Hill. They'll make noise, potentially early, as they open the season in Sioux Falls.

Cedar Rapids might be a bit high. Even with Storm players Terry, Jackson, McIntyre, and Simmonds on their roster (all started at some point in 2011) these are still the re-branded La Crosse Spartans...

I'd move GB up to 6, CR down to 10 and leave the rest.. overall a good diagnosis.
If GB had a better group of OL/DL I could easily rank them higher. With their roster the way it is, I feel comfortable where they are at, compared to the teams ahead of them. Honestly, I think Cedar Rapids has a better QB in Copeland than GB does in Porterie. Cedar Rapids is also better at the RB spot and has some very talented receivers (though GB is probably better as of right now). Give the nod to Cedar Rapids OL and DL for the time being and the only places they are noticeable weaker is at LB and DB.
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  #9   IP: 24.9.68.94
Old 01-13-2012, 08:31 PM
dizzy dizzy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike mayock View Post
Really insightful and unbiased report. Almost too good for a message board. To bad the IFL doesn't have a pre-season magazine. Dead on with most of your thoughts...Most!
What differences do you see? Always good to see what other fans around the league think about the teams they have seen/expect to see.
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  #10   IP: 174.47.234.5
Old 01-14-2012, 05:48 PM
mike mayock mike mayock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzy View Post
What differences do you see? Always good to see what other fans around the league think about the teams they have seen/expect to see.
Ok...here goes! You seem to have done lots of research here. Really not very far off from what I think as well. I probably would not list Tri-Cities as a 2. Very different team from the one that advanced all the way to the final a season ago. Hard to say they are second best at this point. I would have added them to your "Middle of the Pack" category...although they would be first in that section.

I also am starting to question the Allen situation. New staff and new owner seem to be focused entirely too much on "old tricks" at this point. Trying things and putting player combinations together that have proven over time in many different "indoor leagues" don't work. A T.O. signing would prove that this organization only understands shock value but doesn't understand how to construct a winning product at an "indoor" level. With that said, Allen would be the last ranked team in the "Contender" category.

All else I would agree with only I would slip Chicago into the "Pretender" category.

Last edited by mike mayock; 01-14-2012 at 05:53 PM.
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