CRL Wildcard Preview
By Rilee Stapleton
Who should Mizzou keep an eye on during the CRL Wildcard round?
A few weeks ago, Mizzou Esports shocked the College Rocket League community with a miraculous run to a Western championship. This earned them an automatic bid to the CRL Finals in January, so the team will be watching on as the wildcard round plays out.
The wildcard round will still be split into Eastern and Western groups with the top two teams from each side punching their ticket to the finals.
The Oregon Ducks finished league play at the top of the Western division with a record of 12-3. Going into the Western playoffs, many saw them as the favorite to win the top seed for the finals.
Those projections seemed likely when their series against Mizzou started, as they easily won the first two games. However, the Tigers sent them to the wildcard play-in after counter-punching with four straight wins.
Oregon will start the playoff with a matchup against Jayhawk Esports from the University of Kansas. The last time these two met was in the Maui Esports Invitational, where the Ducks won the series 3-2. If Oregon beats Kansas, they will likely make a run to the final round against LSU.
This Oregon team could be scary for Mizzou as they will have revenge on their mind. Mizzou should be prepared for a rematch with a motivated Oregon squad.
As mentioned earlier, the LSU Tigers are also in the Western wildcard round. LSU defeated Mizzou 4-2 before their run to the top seed in the west. Mizzou later avenged that loss in the Maui Esports Invitational, so a rematch in the CRL Finals would be loaded with storylines.
LSU is a very talented squad that would likely face both teams from Colorado State en route to the final round.
Missouri S&T, UT-Arlington, and UT-Dallas will all be trying to pull off upsets on the Western side, meanwhile the Eastern side will see plenty of close matchups.
Northern Virginia, UCF, and Stockton headline a deep Eastern division. However, Stockton will be without starter Brian Busse, who has been disqualified from the rest of this CRL season.
Aside from them, Georgia Tech, St. Clair, Northern Kentucky, UW-Platteville, and UNC-Charlotte will be fighting for their place in January’s tournament.
UCF has already had success in CRL, making a finals appearance in the spring of 2019. Being on opposite sides of the bracket, it is likely that the Knights will see Northern Virginia in the final rounds of the qualifiers, with both of them making the CRL Finals.
Eastern Qualifiers- Northern Virginia/UCF
Western Qualifiers- Oregon/LSU