Antwerp QC, Much of Belgian Core, Leaves Competitive Quidditch

With the drop of College of Charleston, University of Miami and University of Southern Mississippi, the South Regional Championship is down to just six teams competing for five bids to USQ Cup 12–the highest ratio of bids to teams ever seen at a qualifying regional.* Because of this, stakes will be relatively low throughout most of the tournament, as no team will be eliminated until the fifth-place game late on Sunday.

Further diluting the stakes of this tournament is another superlative the event will almost surely achieve: the winner of this tournament will have the lowest Elo rating of any team to win a regional championship. Florida State University enters the tournament as the highest-rated team with a current Elo of 1521. The previously lowest-rated regional champion, Miami’s 2016 team, obtained their regional title with an Elo rating of 1637. No matter who emerges from the field as the champion on Sunday, it is very likely their rating will not be much higher than 1550.

In a certain sense, this tournament is set to fail; the regional champion will be a college team, whose ratings skew lower than the average club champions, and the team will be from the South, whose regional champions have the lowest average Elo rating of any region. However, whatever team takes home the trophy this weekend will certainly still be an outlier, even by those standards. If we assume a normal distribution of previous winners’s Elo ratings, there is less than a 0.5 percent chance that a team with a rating of 1550 would win a regional–club or college–and even when filtering only for Southern teams, there is still less than a 2.5 percent chance that a team rated 1550 would come home with the south trophy. Despite those small odds, this weekend’s pool of teams almost guarantees that we’ll see it. Those groupings, and where this weekend’s champion may fall, can be seen below.

For spectators this weekend in Auburndale, Fla., however, there is a ray of hope. While the stakes for qualification may be low for most teams (winning just two games will almost guarantee any team a bid), the fight for the top spot should be tightly contested. While Florida State is the favorite to win it all, they enter with only a hair of an advantage over the field, with Elo giving them a 26.8 percent chance of winning the title. Hot on their heels is the University of South Carolina, who Elo gives a 26.2 percent chance of winning, followed by the University of Florida at 23.8 percent and University of Central Florida, with an even 20 percent chance of winning it all.

Meanwhile, Florida Gulf Coast University and University of South Florida are poised to battle it out for the fifth-place spot, and with it, what is likely the last remaining bid to nationals for the region. While FGCU is 3-0 against South Florida this season–with two of those games finishing out of range–South Florida is coming off of wins against Florida State and Miami, breaking the second-longest winless streak for a team in recorded USQ history. FGCU enters this weekend as the favorite to leave with a bid, but South Florida’s odds of snagging a ticket to Round Rock lie at 40 percent; their fate is far from sealed.

As we enter this regional, it is likely that the results from the South will only be pertinent to fans of southern quidditch and followers of quidditch superlatives. That said, at the end of the weekend, the South will be guaranteed a new regional champion and, with them, a new record for the lowest-rated team to ever win a regional.

* The second-highest ratio was set last weekend at the West Regional Championship, where nine teams were awarded seven bids.

Edit: The article incorrectly listed University of Central Florida as Central Florida University. This has since been fixed.

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