WORLD LEAGUE – Both of the teams featured in the World League’s Week 11 Premiere Match started the season as their respective Conference #1’s with undefeated runs, 4-0 for the AF#19 Scandinavia Stars (8-2-0) and 3-0 for the Buenos Aires Blue Dogs (5-5-0) but the teams fortunes have gone in differing directions since those early weeks. Scandinavia lost a tough one in Week 5, 63-89 to the Old England Patriots (8-2-0), but rebounded from the defeat, put on another run of 4 wins, and have retained the Eastern Conference lead and the league #1 spot throughout the season. The Blue Dogs followed their 3-0 start with consecutive losses to the Western Conference 2nd and 3rd place teams, which dropped them out of the number 1 spot. They opened interconference play with a win against the powerhouse Old England Patriots, but then went on an extended losing stretch, failing to score more than 65 points in 3 consecutive losses. Contrary to what was reported last week, their losing streak did not extend to 4 games; the Week 10 update went to press before they pulled off a succesful comeback on MNF, coming back from a 30 point deficit to beat Dublin Bay 104-88. Now at 5-5-0, they’re in the best position of any team in the West to challenge the AF#23 Mexico Aztecs (6-4-0) for the conference’s first round bye.
After being alone at the top through most of the season, Scandinavia suddenly finds themselves tied in the standings with one of the only teams who’ve beaten them this year, Old England, and needs to keep getting W’s if the want the Eastern Conference #1 seed. Both teams have 8 wins, and the Stars currently have just about a 30 point advantage toward the tiebreaker. England faces Cali this week, the only other team to have beaten Scandinavia, and if the Stars win and Cali pulls off an upset, it would give Scandinavia some breathing room. Buenos Aires is one game back from Mexico who is already trailing Dublin significantly after Thursdays game, and a Blue Dog win combined with an Aztec loss could certainly turn things around for Buenos Aires. The Blue Dogs have a significant fanbase in southern Scandinavia, owing to the team holding their spring training camp in Denmark, so an upset win over the Stars would thrill the Blue Dog fans. These two original franchises have faced each other 5 times before, and Scandinavia has the edge with 3 wins to 2 in the historical series, but Buenos Aires is off to a fast 31-3 start after Thursday’s game, and may just be able to pull this one off.