Jenna Pel was kind enough to invite me to participate in her roundup of WPS predictions, then even kinder to share the shocking results on her blog. Be sure to visit her blog — compiling something like this can be pain, even when the participants are the easygoing members of the unofficial WPS media, and she deserves the rewards.
A couple of things stood out on the results:
– magicJack is picked anywhere from first to sixth. That’s a reflection of this talented but combustible roster wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a mystery, to butcher the great Churchill quote.
– Western New York also is picked first through sixth, but that’s misleading — all but two of the writers pick the Flash in the top three, with Shek Borkowski providing the dissenting opinion and picking them last.
– Atlanta took 10 of 12 last-place votes. Cross-Conference is much more bullish on the Beat, picking the youngsters (with a quartet of U.S. women’s veterans now on various parts of the talent pool fringe) to finish second.
– Perhaps I’ve underrated Philadelphia, which gets six of 12 first-place votes.
– I’m more confident in my championship pick of Western New York, and I’m befuddled that so many picked Boston to win the playoffs but not the regular season. Western New York and magicJack may struggle during the regular season because they’ll have so many players busy with the World Cup. But assuming they make the playoffs, they’ll be terrors. They can put aside World Cup burnout for 2-3 games.
My more detailed picks are:
1. WNY 10-4-4, 34 pts. – Most talented team, just needs to overcome absences
2. MaJa 9-6-3, 30 pts. – Plenty of talent but potential for implosion with big personalities, no staff
3. SkyB 8-8-2, 26 pts. – Gabarra’s rebuilding looks shrewd. Hunch is they’ll be aggressive.
4. Phi 7-9-4, 25 pts. – Attacking options, solid goalkeeping.
5. Bos 6-7-5, 23 pts. – Solid D, Kelly Smith; questions in goal and midfield
6. Atl 4-10-4, 16 pts. – The good news — their toughest stretch is late in the year, when the youngsters might be ready.
Update: Edited headline when readers informed me that it’s not 2012, and this is not one of my London 2012 medal projections. I’m obviously in a hurry to get to the end of the Mayan calendar to see what happens.