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CCL 2021 REGIONAL BRACKETOLOGY: PALI’S PICKS

04.12.2021 // By: Houssam Abouhasira

Appalachian Region

A region that has three ranked teams auto-qualifying (LA Tech Red, Ohio State Scarlet, UTK Orange) and a 4th team who has been in and out of the T25 this season (Liberty Red), has definitely gone somewhat under the radar. The #5-seeded Eagles CoD Blue, #6 Florida State Gold, #7 Zips Esports and #8 WVUPSC Esports teams all received first round byes in the play-in playoff.

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#12 Robert Morris Univ vs. #13 Miss State Maroon

Summary: Two teams that haven’t faced each other all regular season meet up in this play-in matchup. RMU finished 6-5 in Split 1 before getting pummeled in Split 2 while Mississippi State Maroon finished 4-7 in Split 1 then bolstered their stats a bit in Bottom Cut competition. In Split 1, Mississippi State Maroon lost to Kennesaw State Black (which RMU beat), Alabama-Huntsville (which barely made it into the play-in), had to go to a map 5 with UT-Chattanooga (who finished 3-7 in Split 1), and went to a map 5 with #16-seeded Alabama White. On the other hand, Robert Morris did beat Kennesaw State Black, were a couple of mistakes away from taking the series vs. LSU Purple, almost took maps from Liberty Red and WVUPSC and did take a map off Concord Grey (and could’ve won that series). I’ll have to go with Robert Morris on this one to advance to play Georgia Southern’s Blue team.

Prediction: RMU Esports > Mississippi State Maroon (3-1)

#11 LSU Purple vs. #14 UT-Chattanooga

Summary: These two squads faced each other in week 4 of Split 1, where LSU Purple took the series 3-2 (216-250, 6-5, 3-1, 170-250, 6-4) over the Mocs. To be honest, that was a lot closer than I’d have expected. I expect LSU Purple to do much better this time. I talked about UT-Chattanooga above struggling in Split 1, going 3-7 overall, before boosting their stats via Bottom Cut competition. LSU Purple has just played inconsistently all season, but have quality wins over Concord Grey and RMU while taking maps from Liberty Red, WVUPSC and LA Tech Red while losing 2-3 to Eagles CoD Blue and playing Ohio State Scarlet closely. LSU Purple eliminate the newcomers from Chattanooga and move on to face Florida State Gold.

Prediction: LSU Purple > UT-Chattanooga (3-1)

#10 Kennesaw State Black vs. #15 Alabama-Huntsville

Summary: It was an easy 3-0 (250-154, 6-3, 3-1) for Kennesaw State Black over Alabama-Huntsillve in week 2 of the season and probably won’t be too different here. KSU Black struggled in Hardpoint this season, especially in Split 2, but I don’t think it should be an issue in this match as UAH only averages 176 points a HP and that’s with Bottom Cut competition included! I’m not worried here at all for the Owls, they’ll go face Zips Esports in the next round.

Prediction: Kennesaw State Black > Alabama-Huntsville (3-0)

#9 Concord Grey vs. #16 Alabama White

Summary: Paraylxsis is back. Enough said. No, seriously. Concord Grey, albeit inconsistent this season before Paraylxsis was on the starting roster, had some good potential. Trollman is a great young talent and Trash and Jonnyboy can hold their own. Now you throw in a vital piece from Concord Maroon’s 17-0, 51-0 regular season team and 2nd place finisher in playoffs during Modern Warfare and the feel has completely changed. Concord Grey goes 2-0 with Paraylxsis on the roster — vs. Eagles CoD Blue and #24 ranked UTK Orange! This one’s easy — Concord Grey on to the next round.

Prediction: Concord Grey > Alabama White (3-0)

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The next round of matches to determine who will make it to the final 64 is pretty cut and dry in this region. GSU’s blue team should 3-0 Robert Morris, FSU’s gold team should 3-0 LSU Purple (beat them 3-1 in regular season), Kennesaw State will lose another 0-3 to the Zips Esports squad out of Akron and the newly revived Concord Grey squad will eliminate WVUPSC by a count of 3-0 (Concord Grey lost 2-3 during the regular season without Paraylxsis).

Last 4 in: #5 Eagles CoD Blue (Georgia Southern), #6 Florida State Gold, #7 Zips Esports (Akron), #9 Concord Grey

Atlantic Region

Concord Maroon, Penn State, High Point University and Lebanon Valley College all automatically advanced to the final bracket. This Atlantic Region playoff features Rutgers University Scarlet at the #5 seed, University of New Haven at #6, Old Dominion University at #7 and Liberty University Navy at #8. These teams have secured the bye and only need to win one match to advance to the final playoff bracket.

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#12 VCU Esports vs. #13 UNC-Wilmington Seahawks

Summary: The first round of this regional playoff pit some familiar teams against each other, starting with the #12 VCU Rams and the #13 UNC-Wilmington Seahawks. VCU is coming off an 8-game losing streak from the end of the season into the Top Cut competition, while UNCW comes into this on a 6-game winning streak from Bottom Cut competition. These two teams faced each other in week 2 of the regular season with VCU closing out the series 3-1 on a one-point comeback victory on Raid Hardpoint (250-249). The other maps? Well, they were 250-104 (VCU), 6-3 (UNCW), 3-0 (VCU). Keep your eyes open on the opposing captains: Kruk (VCU) and Combat (UNCW). These two went at each other, stride for stride, during the regular season matchup with Kruk’s stat-line showing a 1.89 (HP), 1.75 (SnD), 2.43 (CTRL), and 195s of hill time. Combat did all he could for his team with a stat-line of 1.62 (HP), 2.29 (SnD), 2.40 (CTRL) and 163 seconds of hill time. This playoff match-up will be just as close in nature, but despite VCU’s abysmal Control performance, I believe they’ll take this one after being tested and humbled by the stronger teams in Top Cut, and go on to face Rutgers Scarlet.

Prediction: Prediction: VCU > UNCW (3-1)

#11 NJIT White vs. #14 Army West Point Black

Summary: The first meeting between these two schools came in week 3 of the regular season with NJIT White taking the series 3-0 (250-236, 6-4, 3-2). NJIT is coming off a game 5, round 11 win over the #9 seed JCSU squad from Charlotte. Army is coming off a very close loss to the #13 seed UNCW Seahawks in which Army made an abundance of mistakes in. With a better Search record, and having faced tougher competition, I believe a balanced NJIT will take this series again to advance to play the UNH Chargers.

Prediction: NJIT White > AWPE Black (3-0)

#10 Barton College vs. #15 Virginia Tech CoD

Summary: Another match where the two teams faced each other very early in the season. Barton took this match in week 1 over Virginia Tech, 3-1 (243-250, 6-5, 3-0, 250-238). Even though the scoreline was close, I believe the Barton roster is more talented. They’re led by a great player in Garz, and also the captain Blexie, who both had their way against Virginia Tech during their matchup. Samurai and Shadow, although inconsistent, have shown that they can come support and carry their weight (as they did vs. Old Dominion). Virginia Tech has a great player in Twisted, but with this being a TEAM game, Barton should take this one again to advance to face the team they also beat earlier in the season, Old Dominion.

Prediction: Barton College > Virginia Tech (3-0)

#9 Johnson C. Smith Univ. Esports vs. #16 Stockton University Ospreys

Summary: Now here are two teams that have NOT faced each other yet within the division. JCSU comes out of Division B, Stockton out of Division A and then JCSU went on to Top Cut, Stockton to Bottom Cut. Not much to talk about on this one. JCSU has some hitters on the roster. The only mode that Stockton may take from JCSU is Search and Destroy, but I think JCSU will take that one (I’d say 6-4?). Look for Rambo and Tempest to lead the way for JCSU for them to advance to face Liberty Navy.

Prediction: JCSU Esports > Stockton (3-0)

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All this leads to the next round, where I believe #5 Rutgers Scarlet will face #12 VCU, #6 UNH will face #11 NJIT White (again), #7 ODU gets a rematch vs. #10 Barton and #8 Liberty Navy faces #9 JCSU again. Rutgers will roll over VCU (3-0) just like they did in Top Cut, UNH already beat NJIT White during the season and will do it again (3-1), Old Dominion won’t be beaten twice by Barton, but they have to shut it down in the respawns. If this goes to a game 5, it could be scary for ODU, but all-in-all, the Monarchs should take this one (3-1). Finally, if JCSU’s search game was ANY better than it currently is, I’d lean their way, but Liberty Navy has a better Search and Destroy team, and that’ll play in their favor (3-2).

Last 4 in: #5 Rutgers Scarlet, #6 UNH Chargers, #7 Old Dominion, #8 Liberty Navy

Coastal Region

We have an all T25 ranked auto-bid region here. Georgia Southern Eagles (Gold), E4 Knights (UCF), FSU Garnet and Alabama Crimson all automatically qualified for the final bracket from the Coastal Region. The following teams have secured first-round byes in the play-in playoff: Full Sail Armada at #5, UTK White at #6, Ole Miss at #7 and Mississippi State (White) at #8.

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#12 USM Eagles vs. #13 Kennesaw State Gold

Summary: We could’ve seen a preview of this match already in Split 2, but Kennesaw State decided to forfeit their match. On paper, despite both teams having a 7-7 record, Kennesaw State boasts a much better map record (24-13) vs. USM’s map record of 18-23. The Eagles have a negative record in both Search and Destroy and in Control which will ultimately end their season here vs. the Owls of Kennesaw State. KSU will go on to face Full Sail.

Prediction: Kennesaw State Gold > U. Southern Miss (3-0)

#11 Colonel Esports vs. #14 LA Tech Blue

Summary: These two faced each other in week 1, game 2 of the regular season where LA Tech beat the Colonels handedly, 3-0 (250-211, 6-1, 3-1). However, it’s been two different stories since then. The Colonels finished 8-6 overall, and the LA Tech Blue squad finished 6-8. Nicholls State Colonels are a bad Search and Destroy team, but that won’t matter when they close it out in the game 4 hardpoint (LA Tech Blue has a horrible HP record of 4-11 on the season). The Colonels will be led by Huraii and Hntr for revenge on the Bulldogs as they take this one to face the #6 UTK White team.

Prediction: Colonel Esports > LA Tech Blue (3-1)

#10 Univ. of South Florida vs. #15 LSU Gold

Summary: Well, this one is about as evenly matched on paper as you can get from team stats to individual player stats. This match is also going to prove that “Search and Destroy wins championships” — err, wins. With the Hardpoint and Control records being roughly the same, you can’t ignore that 2-11 SnD record from USF vs. the 5-9 of LSU Gold. Not saying that LSU Gold is an amazing search team or anything, but if this is going 5 maps, which I believe it will in ugly fashion, then I’m betting on the Tigers here. They’ll go on to play Ole Miss

Prediction: LSU Gold > USF (3-2)

#9 Ragin’ Cajuns vs. #16 Univ. of Arkansas

Summary: Both of these teams have returning players from Modern Warfare. Louisiana-Lafayette (Ragin Cajuns) had a much more successful MW season than Arkansas, and that translated into Cold War a bit. Although, I think these teams played way under their expectations. Arkansas snuck into the last play-in spot in Bottom Cut just like they snuck into the playoffs last season. These two faced each other in week 3 where the Ragin’ Cajuns won 3-0 over Arkansas (250-144, 6-3, 3-0). Despite roughly similar team stats in each game mode, I’m going with the experience of Peytzn, Money and the boys from ULL to end the Razorbacks season right here.

Prediction: Ragin Cajuns > Arkansas (3-0)

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All-in-all, I think all the teams with the first round bye, go on to the final playoff bracket. I don’t see any of the teams who won their first round matches coming in and even taking a map off of the #5-#8 seeded teams awaiting them (although Colonel Esports could make it interesting vs. UTK White). I’m going with 3-0s across the board.

Last 4 in: #5 Full Sail Armada, #6 UTK White, #7 Ole Miss, #8 MSU White

Metropolitan Region

Here we are at the toughest region in the league. This region is chalk full of Canadians and chalk full of talent. Your #1 seed out of this region going directly to the final 64 is Sheridan College. They’re followed by Ryerson University at #2, Humber Gold at #3 and Carleton Ravens at #4. Your first round bye teams are #5 Rutgers Black (the only American team in the T8 of this region), #6 Laurentian University, #7 Waterloo Gold and #8 Humber Blue.

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#12 Cornell Big Red vs. #13 Lambton College Lions

Summary: I was high on Lambton at the start of the season when they began 3-0 before dropping 6 straight games afterwards. Again, this region (and their division) was filled with some of the best teams in the league so take it with a grain of salt. The highlight of this team has always been oMelii who’s posted a KDA stat-line this year of 1.88 (HP), 1.88 (SnD), 1.84 (CTRL) and 57s of hill time in 46 maps played. He’s had a pretty good duo in M4ry as well, but their efforts in trying to carry the 0.66 KDA in SnD from AdamSkywalker and even the 0.89 from Fonz when he’s subbed in has just been too much to overcome. On the other hand, the Big Red have a great player and CCL vet in ShaneThor who posts KDAs of 1.93 (HP), 1.72 (SnD) and 2.22 (CTRL) with 64s of hill time in 28 maps played and his duo of LonelyDock, another CCL vet from last year’s Cornell team. Like Lambton, Cornell has had a weak spot in the 4th roster position in Iamthatduck who is negative in all modes. This one is going to be fun and close, in my opinion. I’m not going with the inflated Lambton stats on this one from Bottom Cut….Cornell edges them out in a close one to face Rutgers Black.

Prediction: Cornell Big Red > Lambton College (3-2)

#11 Brock University Red vs. #14 University of Toronto

Summary: The University of Toronto return from their 19-4, 3rd place finish from Black Ops 4 in the CCL 2019. They return two players from that squad in Tweeq and Toonie, add a good captain in MerQry and round their roster out with ParshVass all who have balanced, positive KDAs. Brock’s only standout is Records who boasts a 1.92 (HP), 1.85 (SnD), 1.91 (CTRL) and 53s hill time in 35 maps played KDA stat-line. They’re a bad Control team, at 4-10 with inconsistent showings in Hardpoint and Search and Destroy. I honestly don’t feel this’ll be close. Toronto moves on in this one with the “upset” to play Laurentian University.

Prediction: Toronto > Brock Red (3-0)

#10 NJIT Red vs. #15 York University

Summary: Two returning CCL teams with CCL vets on the team. I had a chance to watch that NJIT Red match earlier in the season vs. Rutgers Black in which NJIT Red looked impressive, despite the loss. However, they’re coming off a 5-game losing stream in Top Cut competition playing some close maps against some of the better teams in the region. York coasted through Bottom Cut and come in on a 5-game winning streak. Both teams have similar statistics as far as individual players. This one is going to be another close one, but it’ll come down to the SnD in this one. I think York takes AT LEAST one hard point (maybe two) but NJIT still plays both close, but they’d take the Control and Searches. This one is going to be fun to watch, but I’m going with NJIT Red to advance to play Waterloo Gold.

Prediction: NJIT Red > York University (3-1)

#9 McMaster University vs. #16 BesTap

Summary: Both teams are new to the CCL. Both teams haven’t played each other yet this season. I was surprised a team that was captained by a guy named “Bigheadgeorge” would be anything significant in this division, but they finished 10-7 on the season (and George didn’t see much of that with only 7 maps played). The Marauders have some quality wins over Humber Blue, Brock Red, NJIT Red, Cornell, Toronto and Lambton. They took Carleton to map 5, round 11 and took a control off Ryerson. They have a solid, balanced roster with everybody holding their own weight and this one shouldn’t be too much of a problem for them. BesTap, if anything, is best at Search and Destroy but won’t be enough for them in this one. Marauders advance to face Humber Blue.

Prediction: Mac Marauders > BesTap (3-0)

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This region has some close matchups ahead and also some matches between teams who haven’t seen each other at all this season (I think the most of any region). I’m not too worried for Rutgers Black vs. Lambton (or Cornell) — they’ll take that 3-0. Laurentian will see Toronto again and will take that one 3-1, also. Waterloo Gold should take NJIT Red to another 3-1 victory, just like they did earlier in the season. As for the Humber Blue vs. Mac Marauders matchup, I’m believing in Humber on this one. They did lose in the 2nd to last game of the regular season 2-3 (250-228, 5-6, 1-3, 250-143, 2-6), but I don’t think they lose again. Humber Blue over Marauders, 3-2.

Last 4 in: #5 Rutgers Black, #6 Laurentian University, #7 Waterloo Gold, #8 Humber Blue

Mid-America Region

Despite a “bad” loss mid-way through the season for Purdue, they end up finishing as the #1 seed in this region after beating #2-seeded Illini Orange. SIUE, who barely missed the playoffs last year, surge this year into the #3 seed and Butler Esports, who’ve been on the cusp of a T25 ranking, finish at the #4 seed. Starting off the first-round byes is one of the few Canadian teams that are NOT in the Metropolitan region, the #5-seeded St. Clair Saints. Newcomer Northern Kentucky Gold secured the #6 spot. Grand Valley State Blue landed at #7 and Northwood finishes out at the #8 seed.

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#12 Shawnee State Blue vs. #13 Ohio State Grey

Summary: These two faced each other in their opening week of the regular season, when Shawnee State completed a reverse sweep and took the series 3-2 (211-250, 4-6, 3-2, 250-143, 6-2). Since then, the Bears have amassed a 9-5 record while the Buckeyes’ Grey team finished at 7-7. Shawnee State Blue finished the regular season with an 8-9 HP record, 11-5 SnD record and a 9-5 Control record. Ohio State Grey posts some inconsistent statistics at 12-8 for Hardpoint, 9-9 for SnD, and 7-7 for Control. Shawnee State has shown they can close games out in Search and Destroy, just like they did vs. OSU Grey and also the #1-seeded Purdue Gold team (6-5). ItsAyeC went absolutely nuts for Shawnee State in this first meeting with KDA stat lines of 1.90 (HP), 2.78 (SnD), 3.0 (CTRL) and 99s of hill time. Look for him to go crazy again and propel the Bears to go face the Saints from Canada.

Prediction: Shawnee State Blue > Ohio State Grey (3-2)

#11 Bowling Green State Falcons vs. #14 University of Windsor

Summary: We got a pretty good look at this matchup already as these two faced one another in Split 2 with BGSU coming out on top, 3-0 (250-217, 6-4, 3-1). The Falcons are one of the more dominant teams on the “swing mode” of Control (11-2) and also 9-6 in SnD, both which Windsor are double negative in, record-wise (3-9 SnD, 4-8 Control). While Windsor may put up a fight in the Hardpoint, I think this one is going to the Falcons in another shut out. They’ll go on to face Northern Kentucky Gold for a shot at the final bracket.

Prediction: BGSU Falcons > UWin (3-0)

#10 Eastern Illinois University vs. #15 Purdue Black

Summary: Purdue Black already lost to Eastern Illinois in week 4 by a series count of 1-3 (250-226, 1-6, 0-3, 186-250) and I believe the same will happen again. The EIU Panthers have a good player in ImPiggy who posts a regular season KDA stat line of 1.57 (HP), 1.51 (SnD), 1.61 (CTRL) and 51s of hill time in 28 maps played. He’s a consistent player and absolutely devoured Purdue Black in their previous matchup going 2.32 (HP), 2.33 (SnD), 2.75 (CTRL) with 135s of hill time. Absolutely dominant performance which I don’t think the Boilermakers have anyone to counter. EIU is going to advance and play Grand Valley State in the next round.

Prediction: EIU Panthers > Purdue Black (3-0)

#9 Miami Redhawks vs. #16 Roosevelt University White

Summary: These two haven’t met each other yet during the regular season and I’m sure Roosevelt White wishes they didn’t have to meet them now. The Miami Redhawks have some quality wins over BGSU, OSU Grey and Shawnee State Blue and have put up crazy close games to all the top teams in the region. I watched Qpan play a couple times earlier in the season and the guy is nuts! This will be a cakewalk for the Redhawks and we’ll be saying goodbye to the newcomers from Roosevelt University.

Prediction: Miami Redhawks > RU White (3-0)

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This may be one of the few regions where I feel that the #5-#8 seeds won’t all advance to the final playoff bracket. I do believe the St. Clair Saints will make quick work of Shawnee State Blue (3-0). Northern Kentucky Gold beat the BGSU Falcons, 3-2, during the regular season and they’ll do it again to send the Falcons home for the season (3-2). GVSU Blue will beat EIU just as they did in Split 2 with another 3-0. However, I think the Miami Redhawks will “upset” Northwood despite a 2-3 loss to them in their last game of the regular season. They outslayed Northwood, but failed to clean up some fundamental mistakes that cost them the match. Qpan leads Miami to a 3-2 victory this time.

Last 4 in: #5 St. Clair Saints, #6 Northern Kentucky Gold, #7 Grand Valley State Blue, #9 Miami Redhawks

North Central Region

The four auto-bids to the final bracket in this region included a team that never fell below the #2 ranking in the CCL T25 all season, #1-seeded Ottawa Black. A much improved Northern Iowa Gold team from last year secured the #2 seed, an Illini Blue team that exceeded some of our expectations landed at the #3 seed and newcomer DePaul Esports rounded out the spots at the #4 seed. The 4 first round byes in the play-in playoff go to Bethany Swedes Blue (#5), Concordia-Wisconsin (#6), Iowa Hawkeyes (#7) and SIUE Black (#8).

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#12 Wisconsin-Madison Esports vs. #13 Roosevelt University Green

Summary: We got a rematch of the early season (week 2) battle between the Badgers and the Lakers, where Roosevelt Green closed out the series in game 5 (6-1) to win the series. These two are dead even in record (7-7) and almost even in Hardpoint. Roosevelt Green is the slightly better team at Search and Destroy and the Badgers of Madison Esports are no question the better Control team. This may come down to vetoes in Hardpoint, but once again, Search and Destroy wins matches. They did it before, and will do it again — Roosevelt Green takes this one to play Bethany Swedes Blue.

Prediction: RU Green > Madison Esports (3-2)

#11 St. Ambrose University vs. #14 Nebraska Esports

Summary: You look at this one on paper and are like uhh, who do I pick? Both teams are relatively the same in all game modes. They did face each other early in the season in week 3, but I really hate basing it on games that were played early as teams have improved (most of them anyway) over the course of the season. But for what it’s worth, St. Ambrose did beat Nebraska 3-1 (250-171, 2-6, 3-0, 250-81). Also, something to note, Nebraska is 6-1 on Checkmate Control and 0-7 on the other two Control maps — that one loss on Checkmate? To St. Ambrose. Kairos and Eich are leading SAU to a victory here and will advance to face CUW Esports.

Prediction: St. Ambrose > Nebraska Esports (3-1)

#10 NWMS Bearcats vs. #15 Lewis Univ. Flyers

Summary: The Bearcats had a rough start in their CCL debut going 0-4 before beating South Dakota State on the CCL stream. The found their footing in Week 4 with the start of a 3-game win streak (including one over St. Ambrose). Soon after that, they took SIUE Black to a game 5, round 10 and beat CUW in a game 5, round 11. The Flyers struggled this season, finishing 2-7 in Split 1. While the Bearcats don’t have anyone with “all-star” numbers, they do have balanced individual stats across the board and I believe will take this one and move on to play Iowa.

Prediction: NWMSU Bearcats > Lewis Flyers (3-0)

#9 Univ. of South Dakota vs. #16 Northern Iowa Purple

Summary: South Dakota 3-0’d UNI Purple in week 4 (250-174, 6-2, 3-0). This time won’t be much different. The Coyotes finished at 7-7 on the season while the UNI Purple team finished at 5-9. Also, you want to talk about someone who manhandled a team? Drewski’s KDAs in the first meeting between these two were as follows: 2.5 (HP), 3.08 (SnD), 5.0 (CTRL) with 65s of hill time. South Dakota is going to advance in this one to face SIUE Black.

Prediction: South Dakota > UNI Purple (3-0)

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This brings us to next round. Who’s advancing? I’ve got the #5 Bethany Swedes Blue squad, who’ve been humbled in Split 2, eliminating RU Green (3-0). I was tempted for an upset alert with St. Ambrose over CUW Esports, but I can’t get my head around it. CUW Esports will take this match in a close one (3-0). The Hawkeyes should 3-0 the NWMSU Bearcats again. SIUE Black have improved since the week 2 loss to South Dakota, and should take this one 3-1.

Last 4 in: #5 Bethany Swedes Blue, #6 CUW Esports, #7 Iowa Hawkeyes, #8 SIUE Black

Pacific Region

Three of the four auto-qualified teams from this region are ranked in the T25: #1-seeded CSULB Black, #2 CU Black, #3 Oregon Green. The #4-seeded Arizona Wildcats did also sniff T25 at one point in the season. The four teams to receive byes in the first round of the play-in playoff are #5 ASU Maroon, #6 ASU Gold, #7 NMSU Esports and #8 Grossmont.

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#12 LMU Lions vs. #13 Boise State

Summary: For the first time this season, these two will face on another. And #12 seed or not, it doesn’t look pretty for LMU. Granted, they had a tough road in Split 2, but still. They come in at 5-10 in Search and Destroy and 4-10 in Control. Boise State’s core trio in Hattrick (captain), Practical and Purpskiis have all played consistently across all modes this season and they’ll lead the Broncos into a victory here to advance and play ASU Maroon.

Prediction: Boise State > LMU Lions (3-0)

#11 Northern Arizona Gold vs. #14 Grand Canyon Purple

Summary: NAU Gold will face GCU’s Purple team in this one, who they haven’t seen yet this season. They didn’t fare well against GCU Black earlier in the season. They’ve been subpar, to say the least, in Search and Destroy coming in at 5-12 on the season. Granted, NAU Gold is coming from Top Cut competition while GCU Black is coming from Bottom Cut. Otherwise, on paper, these two seem pretty even. I feel like the poorer SnD record for NAU and a weaker 4th on the roster will end up hurting them here as GCU Purple will follow their brethren and take a W here vs. NAU Gold. GCU Purple will go on to face ASU Gold.

Prediction: GCU Purple > NAU Gold (3-2)

#10 Colorado Frost vs. #15 Wyoming Esports

Summary: UCCS, now Colorado Frost, beat Wyoming in the first game of the regular season, 3-0 (250-203, 6-4, 3-1). I really like Yetti from Wyoming, but he won’t be enough to melt the ice from the Frost. Captain Metro will lead his Colorado squad to another victory (may be close, though) here to face New Mexico State in the next round for a shot at playoffs — something they did not get to experience in Modern Warfare either.

Prediction: Colorado Frost > Wyoming (3-0)

#9 Grand Canyon Black vs. #16 Oregon Yellow

Summary: Another set of teams that played each other in the opening game of the regular season, where GCU Black took a 3-0 (250-178, 6-3, 3-1) over Oregon Yellow. Grand Canyon returns the captain, Fanatic, and Loyal, both of whom were on the GCU team that finished T24 in the Modern Warfare CCL 2020 season. Their third, Natural, is posting consistent KDAs across all modes and if they threw Senkrad or Winnie as their 4th, both can hold their own weight. Oregon Yellow struggled in the pre-CCL league, College XP League, and also finished 7-10 here in the CCL. GCU Black should take this one pretty easily to face Grossmont.

Prediction: GCU Black > Oregon Yellow (3-0)

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The teams in this region who received that first round bye should all advance on to the final bracket. I don’t see any upsets occurring in this region. Both Arizona State teams are talented and will 3-0 both of their opponents. NMSU have already seen the Colorado Frost once this season and 3-0’d them then and they’ll do it again now. Finally, while Grossmont appears weaker than the Grossmont from Modern Warfare, they are coming off a momentum win vs. Arizona State Maroon, 3-2. They also already beat GCU Black once this season (3-2). This will be close though, but Grossmont should win 3-2 again, if everyone comes to play their best game.

Last 4 in: #5 Arizona State Maroon, #6 Arizona State Gold, #7 New Mexico State Esports, #8 Grossmont

Southwest Region

Aside from the Metropolitan region, this one was one of the toughest regions out there, in my opinion. This region sent the #1 ranked team in the country, Ottawa Gold, the 15th ranked UT-Dallas Orange squad, #25 Texas State and a talented, but inconsistent, North Texas squad to the final 64. First round byes go to defending CCL champs, TAMU Maroon at #5, UT-Arlington Blue at #6, Navarro College at #7 and Oklahoma Crimson at #8.

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#12 Longhorn Gaming (UT-Austin) vs. #13 UT-Dallas Green

Summary: The Longhorns defeated UT-Dallas Green 3-1 (250-134, 0-6, 3-1, 250-169) in the last game of the regular season. The also put up fights against Navarro (who just defeated Illini Orange), North Texas and Texas State. I don’t feel UTD Green has any real solid quality wins or caliber that the Longhorns have. UT-Austin are 11-4 in Control and 14-5 in Hardpoint. If UTD Green is going to take a map, it’s going to be the Search and Destroy, but Longhorns will advance here to face TAMU Maroon.

Prediction: Longhorn Gaming > UTD Green (3-1)

#11 TAMU White vs. #14 UT-Arlington Orange

Summary: UTA Orange has already lost to TAMU White from week 3 of the season, 0-3 (153-250, 4-6, 0-3). Outside of the victory over UTD Green, UTA Orange really hasn’t shown much of anything this season. TAMU White has taken maps off North Texas, Navarro and UTA Blue. They have a great player, Amps, who’s really shined this season, posting KDA stat line of 1.61 (HP), 2.0 (SnD), 1.71 (CTRL) with 74.19s of hill time in 40 maps played. I think he leads the Aggies into the next round to face UTA Orange’s other team, UTA Blue.

Prediction: TAMU White > UTA Orange (3-0)

#10 Colorado Gold vs. #15 TAMUSA Black

Summary: I really, really like both Colorado teams (Gold and Black). They gas each other up, they stay focused and they each play well as a team. I liked what I saw from CU Gold in their game vs. North Texas on stream. They were a few mistakes away from taking that series. These two also faced each other in week 3 where CU Gold won 3-0 (250-198, 6-4, 3-1). The Buffs are much improved since then. All the players boast similar, balanced stats with Bugz standing out a bit more than the others. TAMUSA Black doesn’t help their case being 7-12 in Search and Destroy and 5-10 in Control. This one’s easy…..SKO BUFFS!

Prediction: CU Gold > TAMUSA Black (3-0)

#9 Tulsa Esports vs. #16 Oklahoma State Orange

Summary: Cowboys meet Neeruh, Neeruh meet Cowboys. Tulsa’s Neeruh boasts a KDA stat line of 1.87 (HP), 2.08 (SnD), 1.89 (CTRL) and 70s of hill time in 45 maps played. He’s had some amazing performances against some of the better teams in our league and certainly made his name known. Tulsa took a map off TAMU Maroon, Navarro and North Texas. They went down to the wire with the #15-ranked UT-Dallas Orange squad. Neeruh went for 1.82 (HP), 1.47 (SnD), 2.53 (CTRL) in that matchup that almost led to an upset. For this one, as quickly as Neeruh said hello to OK State Orange, he’ll quickly say his goodbyes to them. Tulsa moves on here

Prediction: Tulsa Esports > OK State Orange (3-0)

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Again, with this region, just like all the others — the #5-#7 seeds will all move on to the final 64. I believe TAMU Maroon will 3-0 UT-Austin, UT-Arlington Blue will beat TAMU White 3-1 just like they did earlier in the season and Navarro will shut out CU Gold at 3-0. Now, Oklahoma Crimson did beat Tulsa in week 1 of the season 3-0 (250-225, 6-4, 3-1), but Tulsa has been much improved since then and they have a guy named Neeruh. I go with them to take the win over the Sooners, 3-2.

Last 4 in: #5 TAMU Maroon, #6 UT-Arlington Blue, #7 NC Bulldogs (Navarro), #9 Tulsa Esports