Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Two champions in one year? Maybe.

Austin, give it up for your playoff-bound Wranglers

The 3-year old AFL franchise, perhaps buoyed by the addition of one Deion “Prime Time” Sanders as part of the ownership group, finally clinched it’s first ever playoff berth by basically walking over Grand Rapids last weekend, 57-38.

All the while, Sanders' one alleged hit, "Must Be the Money", blared over the Erwin Center loudspeakers.

How good were the Wranglers last weekend? Grand Rapids almost went scoreless for the first half, which in Arena Football is saying something considering defensive stops in the AFL are often as rare as defensive stops by Baylor’s men’s basketball team.

Austin, on the other hand, scored on every possession in the game.

This is an exciting time for Austin-area football as the UT football team is coming off a national championship and UT’s Vince Young and Michael Huff were both top-10 NFL draft picks.

Now it’s time to see if the Wranglers can carry that Central Texas momentum into the playoffs. The Wranglers could help themselves by securing a home playoff game, which the Wranglers can do with a road win against the Orlando Predators Saturday. Not an easy task as the old O-Rena (now the TD Waterhouse Center) is a tough place to play because of the wall configurations and loud crowd. Oh by the way, the Preds laid a 47-37 beat down of the Wranglers earlier this year.

So this game will be a good indicator as to whether or not the Wranglers will be able to handle a playoff atmosphere and have a legit shot at the Arena Bowl.

Two football champions in one year for the Capitol City? Anything's possible.

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As for Deion Sanders in the owner's box... In terms of getting some visibility outside of Austin for the franchise, it's a great move to bring him in.

My only concern is he may not mesh well with Austin. In most places, Deion would be big news simply because he's got charisma. In Austin, where the slogan is "Keep Austin Weird", he's just another "interesting character" in a town where they're a dime a dozen.
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