2012 College Championships - Open Division Preview

Posted: May 24, 2012 09:13 AM



Only 20 teams remain with a shot at winning the 2012 College Championship.  Brian Kiernan and Ian Toner break down the Open Division's action.

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Pool A

  North Carolina
  Georgia Tech


At the 2011 College Championships, Iowa fueled its upset of top-seeded Pittsburgh with careful scouting of En Sabah Nur footage before the tournament.  Despite the plethora of Ego footage available this season, no amount of scouting can stop this high-risk, high-flying offense in pool play.  Oregon’s athleticism and quick-strike capability amount to too much for any Pool A team to handle.  North Carolina should rely on its characteristic depth to best Minnesota late in pool play and advance with Georgia Tech to pre-quarters.

Pool B



This year is Pittsburgh’s year - it would be surprising to see En Sabah Nur exit before the semifinals.  Luther will survive pool play, qualifying for prequarters before fatigue takes too much of a toll on its stars.  It is hard to see the young Davis squad seriously challenging the powers of Texas or Michigan.  More on the Texas/Michigan matchup in the Games to Watch section.

Pool C

  Carleton College


Every team in this pool has a legacy of national-level experience.  Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Carleton should take the top spot in Pool C.  However, the middle of this pool (read: the pre-quarter pack) is totally up for grabs.  Tufts and Colorado have played and won close games this season--but don’t count out Washington, who complicates that discussion with an early season win over Mamabird.   This pool should play out to seed with Cornell staying the low man on the totem pole.

Pool D

  Central Florida
  Michigan State


This pool, ladies and gentlemen, is the pool of death.  Wisconsin represents an established program that has proven time and time again to be capable of peaking at the Championships.  Central Florida, who surprised everyone by making it to the finals of Warm Up and Easterns, took the crown in the nation’s second-deepest regional tournament.  California returns to the big show as the best of the West, and Michigan State is a hungry, proven giant slayer (see: the only red on Oregon’s Score Reporter page).  The Hodags’ institutional experience will win them the pool, and Central Florida will hold on to take the top pre-quarters spot (though the Dogs of War are capable of winning the pool if they control their nerves).  Michigan State will best Cal in a dogfight and steal away the final pre-quarters berth.

Seven to Watch

  • Andrew Hagen (California-Berkeley UGMO): A major factor in UGMO’s return to the Show, Hagen will be one of the most athletic competitors to cleat up in Boulder.  His closing speed, lanky frame, and jumping ability enable him to make game-changing plays on both sides of the disc.
  • Jack Hatchett (Tufts Emen): Have fun getting open on Jack Hatchett late in games.  With a swath of club (Ironside) and college experience to draw from, Hatchett has become accustomed to mastering his defensive assignments in order to generate the clutch turn.  Expect to see more of the same in Boulder.
  • Aaron Honn (Oregon Ego): This latest South Eugene standout is a natural.  In just his freshman year, he has operated as a central cutter on the nation’s most explosive offensive line.  He should follow in Dylan Freechild’s and Josh Ziperstein’s footsteps by becoming just the third college freshman to earn Freshman of the Year and 1st Team All Region honors in the same season.
  • Eric Johnson (Luther Ultimate Flying Disc Association): Eric Johnson is Luther’s workhorse.  He makes the throws and generates the turns LUFDA needs to succeed, and he never mails in a point or a cut.  He could be one of the select few players in Boulder with the speed and athleticism to cover the likes of fellow Callahan nominee Alex Thorne.
  • Nick Lance (Georgia Tech Tribe): This Callahan front-runner has proven time and again to be capable of decimating any mark set on him.  His improbable break throws and massive hucks drove the Tribe’s offense to a Championships berth, and he is more than capable of earning the disc back on a turn.
  • Jimmy Mickle (Colorado Mamabird): Stepping into prominence early in his career with Mamabird, Mickle has the experience to lead his squad deep into Sunday.  Everyone is familiar with the size, strength, speed, and throws he brings to the table - let’s see if it will be enough to move Colorado up a tough pool.
  • Alex Thorne (Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur): This Callahan nominee has the toolset to completely take over the game.  His ability to move the game at his pace perfectly complements his agility and arsenal of break throws and accurate hucks.  With a great supporting cast, Thorne makes for one of the toughest covers in the tournament.



  Michigan State Burning Couch is poised to turn some heads at this year’s College Championships.  Earning the number one seed at regionals each of the past three years, this third time seems to be the charm, with quality regular season wins over Oregon and Carleton (and swapping games with co-qualifier and regional rival Michigan).  Look for a big game against Cal to vault them into the championship bracket and beyond.


Upset Alert

  Each team in Pool A, save Oregon, needs to be wary of its matchup with Georgia Tech.  Nick Lance’s fresh legs and mind can propel the Tribe to a favorable pre-quarterfinals matchup (though taking down Minnesota will be tougher than taking down North Carolina).
  Tufts has prevailed in a number of close games--namely six universe wins in the regular season.  The Emen are capable of playing up or down to their competition, and they have the potential to make quarters or beyond.  Should they come out flat against a hot team or play down to a lower seed, they could be in trouble.


Games to Watch


Pool A: North Carolina v. Minnesota - Saturday, 12:30pm

Everyone is wondering what to make of the Stanford consolation game that saw Darkside take town Grey Duck to the tune of 15-6.  If Georgia Tech takes down one or both of these teams (which we consider to be likely), this grudge match could have immediate prequarters implications.


Pool B: Texas v. Michigan - Friday, 12:30pm:

Both teams have inconsistent regular season resumes and impressive Series results.  With a pre-quarters spot likely on the line, the battle between Texas’ institutional experience and Michigan’s relative youth should be very entertaining.


Pool C: Tufts v. Washington - Friday, 10:30am:

We’ve already put Tufts on upset alert, and this may be the place for it to happen.  In the first game of the day Washington stands a chance to mix it up and put Tufts in a much more difficult position to make Sunday.  If the Sundodgers can come out hot, we should be ready for an interesting opening round for pool C.


Pool D: Wisconsin v. Central Florida - Friday, 4:30pm:

A classic 4-5 pool play matchup between two powerful but very different teams.  The perennial powerhouse looks to defend the top seed from talented newcomers in UCF.  Seeing these teams take one win apiece in their two close regular season games means anything could happen.

Inside Look

  • Half of the 2011 College Open Championships qualifiers did not qualify for the 2012 Championships.  The ten teams not returning to Boulder include Iowa, Harvard, Stanford, Virginia, California-Santa Cruz, Illinois, Whitman, British Columbia, Colorado College, and Florida
  • Colorado’s record against Championships-qualifying teams before the Series was 3-8.  In 2011, the Mamabird squad that reached the national semifinals finished 15-6 against Championships-qualifying teams during the regular season
  • Six of the teams that finished in the USAU Top 20 at the final end of regular season rankings did not qualify for the 2012 Championships: Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Stanford, and Whitman
  • It’s a banner year for the Southeast region: Central Florida’s regional championship earned the Dogs of War their first College Championships berth in the program’s history, and Georgia Tech’s backdoor victory earned the Tribe its first Championships berth in twenty years
  • North Carolina Darkside earned the Atlantic Coast region’s lone 2012 Championships bid after not advancing past Conferences in 2011
  • Oregon Ego enters the College Championships as the top seed for the second time in three years.  When Ego was the top seed at the 2010 College Championships, they failed to advance beyond prequarters


Open Warm Up - Skydmagazine.com: