I feel your pain JC0101!
We had a great robot and drive team, but a horrific Q match draw! The lowest TRSP in the 80-team Opportunity Division was 34 (we finished 8 spots ahead of that team, BTW) and the highest TRSP in the division was 130. Our team’s TRSP was 125, the 4th hardest schedule (by number) of the 80-team field (I couldn’t believe there were teams that had a more difficult path than us when I started looking at the TRSP numbers, but there were actually 3 TRSP’s of 126, another of 127, and a 130). Of our 10 matches, our highest-ranked alliance partners finished #7 and #26 (and #26 had a mechanical issue during our match that resulted in a lopsided loss). The final rankings of our 8 other alliance partners were: #51, #52, #58, #64, #68, #70, #71, and #74 (out of 80 teams)! On the flip side, the average final ranking of our 20 opponents was 36.4.
The most amazing thing is that we finished with a final division ranking of #32 (5-4-1), finished with a higher ranking than the average final ranking of our opponents, and we did it with alliance partners who had an average final ranking of 56.7! Somehow we won 5Q matches and had 1 tie, and did so by winning only 1 of those matches with an alliance partner ranked higher than #51 in any of our winning/tied matches! I firmly believe we had a Top-10 robot and drive team, but our draw simply made our path too difficult and we were not selected to a finals alliance. To pour salt in the wound, the #7-seeded alliance selected the #70-ranked team as their 3rd alliance partner. I suppose that since playing 8Q matches with teams that ranged from 51 to 74 in the final rankings contributed to our ‘seemingly’ unimpressive 5-4-1 record, it was only fitting that a #70-ranked team was the final death-blow to us advancing to the elimination round, LOL!
I know we are not the first team to fall victim to the random draw Q-match setup, but it still doesn’t make our team feel much better. We won 2 of our matches against the #6-ranked team from China, and the #14-ranked Singapore team, and we lost a close 34-24 match to a #2/#11 alliance … and our alliance partner in that match ended up being ranked #71! We certainly tried to sell ourselves to potential alliance captains by showing them this data early Saturday morning before the final two Q-matches, but to no avail. A side consequence of having a difficult schedule is that you often don’t get the opportunity to be in alliances with top teams during Q-matches, and thus, they don’t know anything about you (other than, perhaps, that they have probably beaten you during a Q-match), so you get the double-whammy of not getting consideration as a 3rd alliance pick as well.
I wish there was a better way to schedule Q-matches, but we all have to deal with it until a better method comes along. I also wish there was more time between the final Q-match and alliance selections at Worlds so that the top teams could actually look at the numbers and get their heads together about making alliance picks. The first alliance pick is usually pretty easy, but picking the 3rd alliance partner is where a team has to do their homework…unfortunately, the cattle herding method from Q-match completion to alliance selections leaves little time to do actual homework.
We advanced to the semis of the Opportunity Division last year as a 3rd alliance pick, but in many ways, I’m more proud of what we accomplished this year given the circumstances. Of the 7 Opportunity Division teams who had a TRSP of 120+, we finished as the highest ranked team, and the only team with a winning record. The next closest 120+ TRSP team finished with a ranking of #42 (5-5-0—also great given their schedule). Considering the difficulty of our schedule, there’s no way we could have had a winning Q-match record at Worlds this year without having a great robot and a great drive team! It’s a testament to our kids and to how far our program has come!
PS…sorry for the long post — just had to ‘rant’ a bit and “let it out” for therapeutic reasons, LOL! I feel better now…a least a little bit better