2024 ODC Preview

Looking ahead to this weekend’s Ohio Dodgeball Cup, I asked the content team to fill out an ODC bracket and opened up the floor for them to share their thoughts. While there was a lot of consensus on most of the picks, some staff members were bolder than others.

The Easy Pick

This was the most common bracket submitted by the content team, and our staff is here to back up their predictions.

As much as I want to pick an upset and have Cincy winning it all, I think they have more cleaning up to do before Nationals (where I still believe they are title contenders). On the other side, I think Ohio State is more proven and has more pieces on their roster to fend off upsets. Ohio University is on a hot streak, and could keep things close against OSU, meanwhile Miami is trending in the right direction but won’t have enough firepower to get past UC. Akron gets a tough first round draw and will lose to Ohio, but they should be the best team from the first round eliminations.

Kevin Bailey, GVSU Alum

OSU has no real competition in the Ohio region. OU is on a hot streak but the Buckeyes will bring that streak to a screaming halt. I had a tough time between Miami and Cincinnati, but I think with a full roster and their coach in attendance, it gives them the edge over the Redhawks. As for the other 4 teams, this will be a good way to prepare for nationals. Start really implementing strategy and playing to win. We’re in the home stretch of the season and now is the time to bring everything together that you’ve been working on at practice thus far. The last few years the ODC champs haven’t had a good showing at day 2 of nationals. Maybe THE Ohio State University Buckeyes can change that.

Colby Briceland, Akron Alum

I strongly believe that this year’s Ohio Dodgeball Cup is up in the air given the performances in the second half of the season thus far. UC and Ohio State are still title contenders for ODC and Nationals, but they’ve been shaky lately given UC’s disappointing BEAST performance and Ohio State losing to Miami. Ohio is on a hot streak after BEAST and may carry that momentum into ODC. Miami has been an underdog all season and may sneak in upsets vs Kent and UC. Akron and Bowling Green get tough first round opponents and will lose those games, but this will also be an opportunity for those teams to grow and clean things up before Nationals come in April.

Kevin Skiba, UC Alum

Redhawks Red Hot?

These staff members have Miami pulling off a second-round upset over the Cincinnati Bearcats before falling short in the title game to Ohio State. Arik notably did not make a prediction for the Ohio versus Akron game.

Trust me when I say OSU will not be taking anyone lightly on Saturday. With that being said, I wanted to spice up my picks a little bit. Miami over UC is a bold pick, I know, but I would love to get some retribution for our loss at Miami. What better way to do it than in the ODC final?

Ethan Lehmkuhl, OSU Captain

Been Huge on Miami for 2 years as a developing program. The Redhawks won’t let me down now. Akron vs Ohio will come down to who wants it more, they are 1-1 on the season and neither will go down easy. Kent could come out and surpise Miami at first but they won’t have the longevitiy to keep in the game. BG and CSU are just going to have to try to take some lessons from thier first round beatings but could bring some interset in the losers bracket.

Arik Kavanagh, Akron

Bearcats 3-Peat

Two brackets have UC defending their crown. However, Mitchell and Shadeed have the path to the cup playing out a little differently. Here’s what they had to say.

The Ohio Region is truly the wild Wild West in the sense that any team can be beaten at anytime, anywhere. Nothing is a given within this region and everyone will have to be at their best to win the ODC. The Top 3 teams (UC, OSU, and Ohio) should advance in the next round with no issues. Both Kent and Miami (OH) got signature wins against a top team in this region (Kent against Ohio in the 1st semester and Miami (OH) against OSU in the 2nd semester) yet momentum favors Miami (OH) in this scenario. In the semifinals, UC will pull away from Miami (OH) but I do believe this will be a closer match than what most people would expect. For Ohio vs OSU, I do believe two things will play a favor in this for the Bobcats: the experience of the JMU Beast and the strength of schedule. Ohio is on a 6/7 game winning streak, with part of that going into a stressful environment like JMU where the fans are continuously chirping at you for 40+ minutes. They handled the adversity with flying colors and they will rely on their experience once against OSU. Ohio’s SOS is at the top of their region while OSU is at 6th; playing against tough opponents consistently will help Ohio in the tough moments. The championship game: it will go either way and more than likely go into OT. The difference will be coaching: Wes Peters wasn’t there for Beast and UC went 1-2; Wes Peters will be there for ODC, and they will go undefeated. Evan Eschenburg said their best player is on the bench coaching the team, and I can’t disagree with him. He’s truly the difference maker on this team.

Shadeed Drakeford, VCU Alum

This year’s edition of the Ohio Dodgeball Cup is the most competitive we have ever seen in this league, with seemingly any team having the potential to take home the trophy. I believe that the winner of this year’s tournament will be the scrappiest team, and no team fits that description better than the Cincinnati Bearcats. Despite UC experiencing setbacks this year, especially with recent top-10 losses to JMU & Michigan State, I see them finding their rhythm in Cleveland and winning the Ohio Dodgeball Cup.

My rationale for this prediction is that with many people picking Ohio State to win, it sets up perfectly for the Bearcats to surprise everyone by winning. They have an easier path to the finals with matchups against CSU & the winner of Kent/Miami, potentially allowing them to advance with less effort in the first round and then increasing their intensity in the later rounds. The Bearcats have only lost to top 10 opponents this season, and their experience, led by Wes Peters, gives them an edge in close games.

As for the other spots, I believe that Ohio State may struggle to overcome the coaching prowess of Wes Peters. Despite a strong season, a recent loss to Miami (OH) may impact their confidence, but they have the talent to still make it to the finals.

In my prediction, the 3rd place game will feature a rivalry matchup between Kent & Akron, with the Zips coming out on top. These teams showed a clear difference in skill during their previous matchup at Pink Out, but Kent’s improvement could make this game more competitive.

In the 5th-8th place rankings:
5th: Ohio
6th: Miami
7th: BGSU
8th: CSU

Mitchell Porter, Kent State Captain

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