Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quidditch Bowl Championship Series

With the start of the college football bowl season today, I began to daydream about bowls in quidditch. This is going to require some imagination!

Imagine a quidditch world without a World Cup or any kind of IQA-sponsored, end of year tournament. At the same time, imagine that even though there has never been a World Cup, quidditch gameplay has progressed similarly to how it progressed with World Cups

It's the 2012 season, and the quidditch community has begun to look for postseason solutions and ways to crown a victor. Regions began holding regional championships but that was not enough to please the community. A massive championship tournament is ruled out because many doubt that teams would make the effort to travel. However, there are a select few teams that keep telling the quidditch governing body that they will travel anywhere for great competition. And thus, the quidditch bowl championship series (QBCS) was born.

Inspired by successful interregional tournaments in 2012-13 such as the Hollywood Bowl and West by Southwest, the QBCS was created to sponsor eight small tournaments across the country every spring. These eight small tournaments, referred to as bowls, pitted top twenty teams from all seven North American regions against each other, in order to find the best team in the country. It certainly wasn't a fool proof plan, but the quidditch community rejoiced at the announcement.

1. Every region hosts a "bowl" consisting of eight teams. Two teams in the tournament are labeled as the "marquee teams" and the six remaining teams are called the "secondary teams." 
2. The bowls' tournament format includes a round robin between all eight teams and then a single finals game between the top two teams in the round robin. This way, a game between the two marquee teams is guaranteed, with a rematch in the finals being a possibility.
3. The regional champion is locked into their region's bowl as marquee team number one. 
4. The second team on the marquee is chosen by the bowl's organizing committee. The bowl organizing committee picks from a list of top 25ish teams that are not regional champions. The team that is chosen by the bowl organizing committee can accept or reject the invitation. In the case that a team receives more than one invitation to a bowl, the team can decide which bowl to attend.
5. Secondary teams are chosen for bowls after every bowl fills their two marquee spots. The bowl organizing committee can send an invitation to any team left and like the selection process for the second marquee team, the team can accept or reject the invitation. In the case that a team receives more than one invitation to become a secondary team at a bowl, the team can decide which bowl to attend. Secondary teams are often in the same region or relatively close to the location of the bowl.
6. As you may have realized, there are eight bowls and seven North American regions, which means that one region will get to host two bowls. The eighth bowl will go to the region that is the defending champions of the QBCS title tournament.
7. The QBCS title tournament is one of the eight bowls. The QBCS title tournament matches the number one and number two teams in the country. It is hosted in the region of the number one team in the country. The number two team in the country is locked into that game and is excused from playing in their region's bowl tournament.

2013-14 Hypothetical Matchups
Enough with the explanations of this wacky system. Hopefully it'll make more sense when you see the bowls I have created and some hypothetical matchups of 2013-14. 

Hosted in Canada, the Maple Bowl showcases the champions of Eastern Canada. The secondary teams in the Maple Bowl are often from Eastern Canada or Upstate New York's Snow Belt Conference. 2013-14 teams: Gee-Gees, RIT, Carleton, McGill, Rochester, Maple Rush, SUNY Geneseo, Syracuse

Hosted in New York City and sponsored by the BAQC, the Big Apple Classic features the champions of the Northeast. The Big Apple Classic existed before the official formation of the QBCS, but will be making the move from November to April to accommodate the new season structure. Regarded as the sport's best tournament in 2010 and 2011, the creation of the QBCS is probably a step back for the Big Apple Classic. However, a strong Northeast and big airports might convince some of the best at-large teams in the country to fly into the city that never sleeps for some fantastic quidditch. Secondary teams are often from the BAQC, as well as the Boston area. Great, scenic venues are also a staple at the Big Apple Classic. 2013-14 teams: BU, Texas, Tufts, QC Boston, Hofstra, Macaulay, NYU, Austin Quidditch

Just outside of Washington DC, the Capital Bowl is where the Mid-Atlantic's champions play. The Capital Bowl, a brand new tournament created for the QBCS, might have trouble attracting great at-large teams to come and play. While the top of the Mid-Atlantic remains strong, it's depth (and therefore options for secondary teams) is questionable. 2013-14 teams: Maryland, Florida's Finest, Richmond, UNC, Villanova, Appalachian State, Virginia, Tennessee Tech

An obvious tournament name for the Midwest region's champions, the Corn Bowl was created for the QBCS. Taking place towards the eastern end of the Midwest region, the Corn Bowl aims to attract Mid-Atlantic and Northeast teams. The perception of the Midwest being weak this year would hurt what at-large team the Corn Bowl gets, but the depth of the Midwest region creates the possibility for a very cool tournament year in and year out. 2013-14 teams: BGSU, NYDC Capitalists, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Ball State

Hosted in the warm, sunny Southern region, the Sunshine Bowl pits the best of the South against an out of region at-large team. The Sunshine Bowl kicks off the bowl season in early March before the Floridian temperatures climb into the nineties. The prospect for good weather can draw in Northern teams, and Florida's proximity to the Southwest region gives the Sunshine Bowl Texas-sized options. 2013-14 teams: Miami, Baylor, UF, USF, EFSC, UCF, FGCU, Osos de Muerte.

Hosted in the city of New Orleans, the Crawfish Bowl is the bowl where the best of the Southwest usually go. With Texas A&M in the QBCS title tournament, the second best team in the Southwest is locked into the Crawfish Bowl. Simply the prospect of playing against Southwest-level competition is enough to attract teams who are looking to improve from across the country. 2013-14 teams: Lone Star QC, Emerson, LSU, Arkansas, Kansas, Loyola, Southern Miss, Florida State

A 2012 "bowl" that inspired the creation of the QBCS, the Hollywood Bowl is hosted by the Western region. Because the Lost Boys are locked into the QBCS title tournament, the second best team in the West plays the role of the host in the Hollywood Bowl. Warm weather and the desire to play against Western beaters make an invitation to the Hollywood Bowl very valuable. 2013-14 teams: Arizona State, UTSA, NAU, UCLA, USC, Skrewts, Funky Quaffles, Blacktips

The QBCS Title Tournament, which works out in 2013-14 to be a second edition of West by Southwest, always features the first and second ranked teams in the country as it's marquee teams. Although it is an eight team, round robin tournament like all the other bowls, the QBCS Title Tournament organizers try to restrain from inviting teams that they believe could disrupt their ideal one vs. two finals matchup in the round robin. Often there will be one other top 25 team and the rest will just be considered lucky to be invited to the sport's most anticipated event. The QBCS Title Tournament is heavily criticized because the secondary teams are pretty much selected to lose. There is only one matchup that the organizers want to occur in the finals, because if anything else were to happen, it would be massively unfair to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc ranked teams who are playing in other bowls. The QBCS Title Tournament is the last bowl of the season and it takes place in mid-April. 2013-14 teams: Texas A&M, Lost Boys, Texas State, SHSU, Cougar Quidditch, Silver Phoenixes, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State

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