With the field nearly full, I figured I would try to predict what might happen at the end of the month for the 17 Ohio teams currently registered. There should be 80 teams in the field, and they'll probably group them into 8 groups of 10 as the previous tournaments did. This would mean that about 40 teams make the playoffs. Last season, with 14 teams in a field of 60, 4 made the cut. I think we'll do a little better this season.
Beachwood: They came to South Range in the fall and did fairly well, but I haven't seen them since and I can't recall them doing any other events. Still, barring a terrible group placement, they should be able to make the playoffs.
Ben Logan: They did make the playoffs last year, and have had an up and down season this year, but one thing you can't say is that they've ducked the competition. Taking lumps at events like Solon at Rowdy Raider should, hopefully, help them be ready for this field. When they played in a mostly small-school field at Waverly, they went 6-3 and were only a 10 point loss to Minford from making the top 8. Again, barring a disaster in the seeding process, they should get back to the Sunday games that matter.
Clinton-Massie: 3-6 last year, the Falcons tore through the SCOL and finished in the top 8 at Waverly, though they did lose all of their afternoon games. I think an improvement on last year is possible, but only to 4-5.
Columbiana: They're peaking at the right time. They had a miserable league campaign, qualified by beating East Palestine on the final day of the Mahoning League season, then somehow managed to put together a run to the top 6 at the Mahoning tournament. They might surprise a team or two, but I don't think they make the playoffs.
East Clinton: They lost both of their league games to CM, so it's likely they'll finish behind their rivals at SSNCT as well.
Hicksville: They got HOSED by the seeding last year, put into a group with Hubbard (5th), Maplewood (t-12th), and Macomb (t-7th). Returning the #12 scorer in the tournament, they should make the playoffs and might get to 6-3 or 7-2 on Saturday. A top 20 finish should be the goal.
LaBrae: Like Ben Logan, they took their lumps at Solon and Olmsted Falls. Unlike Ben Logan, they didn't get to play a tournament where they had some success. 3-6 or worse. Hopefully they'll join the Mahoning League next season and get some more games in against teams more like themselves.
Lowellville: They're legitimately sweet. They went 4-6 at HSNCT last season, which may sound like crap but it would have qualified them for playoffs under the pre-SSNCT system, and that's arguably a better accomplishment now since the field at HSNCT is better with the small schools mostly out of it. They are pretty well-balanced, though consistent scoring from the fourth chair and a tendency to overthink bonuses are problems. They were second in the Mahoning League and Mahoning Tournament, both times coming within a bonus of overcoming Boardman. I might be overly optimistic, but I think there's every chance that they will pull a Maplewood and get to the top 10.
Newbury: Winners of Saturday's Prison Bowl pre-SSNCT mirror, they are my other top 10 pick. They have consistent scoring from four chairs and better literature knowledge. They have experience and have played a lot this season. They could do what Hubbard and South Range have done and win their Saturday group, but it depends on the draw.
Ottawa Hills (2 teams): They went through a really tough league season with a constantly changing lineup. If Tony plays his absolute best four/five on the A team, they're a playoff team for sure and probably a little better than that. A lack of games in 2016 may hurt their chances, though. The B team, if it's their true B team, could sneak into the playoffs.
Smithville (2 teams): Both teams went 4-5 last year. The B team may do so again, but the A team should make playoffs and win a game when they get there. They have very balanced scoring, but need to avoid going on tilt if a run of difficult questions comes in a clump. Negstorming is an issue.
Toledo School of the Arts: Started Saturday like a house afire, then hit the wall after lunch. They certainly have the personnel to go on a deep run and have a decided advantage in literature and fine arts (duh), but this will only be their third Saturday tournament and first under timed match rules. If they can get into the playoffs and get a decent night's rest, I think they make top 15. More than any other team, what they eat for lunch may have the biggest effect on their final standing.
United Local: A lack of tournament experience will hurt, so I'm thinking 4-5.
Urbana: No idea. Haven't seen them. Assuming 3-6 or worse unless I hear otherwise.
Van Wert: They could have made the final on Saturday had half the team not had to leave early. They have tournament experience, but this will be their first national event. I think they make playoffs, but top 20 might be a stretch.
Greg Bossick, formerly Persona Non Grata
Mogadore '98, Youngstown State '02
Director of the Mahoning, Ashtabula, Portage, and Toledo Area Quizbowl Leagues