WORLD LEAGUE – Weather may turn out to be a factor in the open air of Paladin Stadium in Greenville, South Carolina as World Bowl 6 kicks off between the World League’s two Conference Champions. It’s the second consecutive trip to the World Championship for the Eastern Conference Champion, Scandinavian Stars (12-3-0) who lost World Bowl 5 last season to the Dacusville Devils by a score of 112-150, and the reigning Champion Devils are hosting this year’s event. Because they share the same conference as the host city, Scandinavia’s opponent, the Western Conference Champion, Buenos Aires Blue Dogs (8-7-0), are the designated home team in their first ever World Bowl appearance.
Both of these franchises are World League charter members, going back all the way to 2012, and they’ve faced each other 6 times before with Scandinavia leading the series 4 wins to just 2 for Buenos Aires. That includes a Week 11 meeting this year that was fetured as the League’s Premiere Match of the week (Comeback Stars). The Stars played from behind through most of that game, and then, down by 29 points, staged an extraordinary comeback on Monday Night Football to win 99-90. The difference between that match and the upcoming World Championship is going to come down to both teams’ quarterbacks. Buenos Aires was without their franchise signal caller, Cam Newton in that meeting, and with an 18 point per game average, he might have made all the difference. The Blue Dogs got 35 points at the position the week before, and won the Western Conference Championship (Blue Sunday) over the Mexico Aztecs last week with help from Newton’s 31 points in that game, and he’s poised to start this week with a juicy match-up. Meanwhile, the story of Scandinavia’s quarterbacks this season has been an emotional rollercoaster for Stars fans. They lost their franchise gunslinger, Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 to what was believed to be a season ending injury, but instead of being devastating for the team, Scandinavia’s back-up, Carson Wentz has played phenomenally, becoming the second highest scoring quarterback in the league, until they lost him in their playoff win against London Falling (London Falls). Miraculously, Rodgers returned in Week 15 to help deliver Scandinavia a win over England in the Eastern Conference Championship (Stars of the Game), only to be placed on season ending IR after the game, forcing the Stars to go into the World Championship relying on their journeyman 3rd string QB Nick Foles.
For Scandinavia, World Bowl 6 is a chance to complete a thoroughly dominant season. After coming up short in last year’s championship, they returned in 2017 to post a 10-3-0 regular season, second best only to the Old England Patriots and their 11 wins, but the Stars have beaten the Patriots twice now this year, once in the Regular Season and once in the Conference Championship. They’ve also beaten 2017’s total scoring leader London, twice. Beating Buenos Aires, is all that’s left for them to demonstrate a season of total dominance over the league. For Buenos Aires, this World Bowl is a chance for redemption, not just for the Blue Dogs, but for all of the Western Conference who’ve been much maligned as the far weaker conference throughout the 2017 season. The Western teams were beaten up pretty regularly by Eastern teams during the inter-conference portion of the schedule, the Blue Dogs themselves, losing 5 of 6 games against the East, but they’ve posted just 25 fewer points on the entire season as Scandinavia has, and are actually averaging 2 points per game more than the Stars through the playoffs, and accordingly, Scandinavia is only favored by a field goal. The match-up could turn out to be one of the most thrilling World Bowls yet.