CURRENT) (TEAM) (W/L RECORD) (LAST WEEKS RANK) 1) Colorado Crush (2-0) (LW: 1) Neither of Colorado's first two wins of the season would be classified as dominating, but a win is a win and the defending champs sit atop the power poll for the third straight week. They handed Georgia its first home loss in 13 games, and were able to avoid the revenge spot in their thrilling 61-59 road win. OS Harrell had a huge day once again hauling in 11 passes for 132 yards and five TDs further cementing himself as the premiere offensive threat in the league. I'm still not enamored with this clubs defense whatsoever, but you have to outscore them to beat them, and not many will be able to do that this year.
The Crush return home in Week 3 to take on a rejuvenated Las Vegas club coming off its first win of the season. 2) Philadelphia Soul (2-0) (LW: 3) The Soul revealed just how deep a club they possess with their 47-33 home victory over the Avengers. Starting QB Tony Graziani went down with a hand injury on Philly's first offensive series of the game, but the offense didn't skip a beat with back-up QB Matt Sauk leading the charge. They never once trailed in the game, and the defense sacked LA QB Brian Mann four times and constantly pressured him all game long. The special teams registered its first score of the season as well when WR/DB Mike Brown returned a missed FG to midfield and pitched to DS Kevin Gaines for a TD to give the Soul a 14-0 cushion. The Soul's humming on all cylinders right now after getting out to the franchises first 2-0 start, and will be a formidable foe when the visit "The Jungle" Saturday night.
3) Nashville Kats (2-0) (LW: 4) I was impressed with the Kats effort in NY when they drubbed the Dragons, so I really don't know the word to use to describe what they did as an encore versus Columbus. Dominating to say the least are these Kats as they've simply toyed with their first two opponents. QB Clint Stoerner had another solid outing throwing for five TDs, but it's the defense that once again took center stage. They've now given up a total of 55 points in two games, and are on pace to break the single season record for fewest points allowed. They forced three turnovers, and allowed Columbus its first tally on the scoreboard late in the 2nd quarter. HC Pat Sperduto has himself a fantastic club on his hands, and a win this week in Chicago will only instill that much more confidence.
Scary!!! 4) Dallas Desperados (2-0) (LW: 5) The Desperados picked up a huge road win in front of 16,000+ in the Delta Center to move to 2-0 on the young season. New QB Clint Dolezel has found himself a new favorite target in OS Terrill Shaw who hauled in 11 passes for a team record 208 yards and four TDs. His gaudy performance led to being named the offensive player of the game, but Despo fans have to love the way their new field general has settled in thus far. They also only tallied five penalties.
That number speaks volumes for maybe where this club is headed this season. Another rough venue awaits them this Saturday night as division rival Columbus will be a salty host after getting pummeled last week. 5) Georgia Force (1-1) (LW: 2) The Force clawed, scratched, and battled in their pre-Super Bowl XL battle, but it wasn't enough for them to exact revenge for their ArenaBowl loss to the Crush. A look inside the numbers would prove it to be a very close game, so the two-point margin of victory should come as no surprise. However, the Force never once led in the game, and their defense allowed the Crush too many offensive opportunities that allowed them to control the time of possession. Missed FG's and extra points didn't help either.
Many are still disgusted by the "no call" on the two-point conversion, but even if they converted on that play the Crush had 19 seconds to work with. Hopefully they can shake the disappointment of that loss off before their Friday night division contest with the Storm. 6) Austin Wranglers (2-0) (LW: 8) The Wranglers have been the beneficiaries of a very easy schedule to open up their 2006 campaign, but that hasn't stopped them from making an impact whatsoever. They've brought their lunch pails to work in each of their first two games, and have outscored their opponents by a 117-80 count.
The offense has been electric, and the defense has been opportunistic. DS Damon Mason made his presence felt once again in their bolstered secondary as he snagged three more passes to raise his season total to five INTs on the year. Austin seems to have found the recipe for success in this league at a very early stage. They'll pound you with a balanced attack on offense, and force you into mistakes on defense. Up next is their first division game of the season vs. the Brigade.
7) Orlando Predators (1-1) (LW: 11) It was by no means pretty, but the Predators snagged a crucial division win last week as they upended the visiting Brigade by a 48-41 count. Preds QB Joe Hamilton had a more efficient game passing the ball (21 of 28), but still threw a pair of INTs. The Preds defense simply had no answer for the Brigade's passing attack as it was chewed up for a gaudy 353 yards on the night. This Orlando team is still coming together, and we should get a better feel for what this teams about in the next few weeks. Big test this week as the 2-0 Soul pay "The Jungle" a visit. 8) Tampa Bay Storm (1-1) (LW: 13) The Storm got more of a battle from the Rampage than they expected, but got the job done with a "never say die" mentality that allowed them to split their first two road games of the season.
It was expected of Tampa to bounce back after their abysmal showing in Philly, and that's exactly what they did. QB Shane Stafford completed 26 of 37 passes for 271 yards and four TDs. The defense came up with some huge defensive plays, which included a safety of GR QB Jose Davis late in the game that allowed the Storm to pull away for the win. This performance should be a huge motivator for the Storm's stop unit as they got to see its hard work pay off in live game action. TB return's home for its first game in the Forum this year to take on division rival Georgia, but it will be without HC Tim Marcum who was suspended one more game due to violating his probation. 9) New York Dragons (1-1) (LW: 15) I was one of the 15,000 strong in attendance last Friday night that saw the Dragons grab victory from the jaws of defeat on a controversial block in the back call to end the game.
Regardless of that call, the Dragons were a completely different team than the one that took the field only a short week ago at home vs. the Kats. Their offense took what Chicago's "D" would give the entire game, and their defense came up with a pair of crucial INTs that allowed them to get ahead on the possession track right off the bat. QB Aaron Garcia was beat up once again (4 sacks), but he was still able to lead his team to victory on their last crucial drive of the game.
They now head to Utah to take on a feisty Blaze squad that lost a tough one at home themselves last week. 10) Columbus Destroyers (1-1) (LW: 7) Not much to say about last weeks performance, except Columbus knows it still has a ways to go before it will be able to compete with the AFL elite on the road. They were simply manhandled by the Kats last Friday night, but that still doesn't take away from the fact that this is still a very solid football team. Look for them to bounce back this week with a much better effort as they host the streaking Desperados. And the rest. 11) Chicago Rush (0-2) (LW: 10) 12) Utah Blaze (1-1) (LW: 9) 13) Los Angeles Avengers (1-1) (LW: 6) 14) Las Vegas Gladiators (1-1) (LW: 17) 15) Kansas City Brigade (0-2) (LW: 12) 16) San Jose Sabercats (0-2) (LW: 14) 17) Grand Rapids Rampage (0-2) (LW: 18) 18) Arizona Rattlers (0-2) (LW: 16) .
By: Mike Rose