Welcome to Pongstars.net’s World Series VIII predictions of the top 16 teams. With a smaller field than normal and with an unreal talent base that is growing with every tournament this was the toughest task yet in pong prediction history. If you disagree with the choices made, let yourself be heard, and if it’s because you are not on the list feel free to prove us wrong. Just remember, to do so you will have to get past the teams listed below, and that will be a lot easier said than done.
Ross Hampton and Dane Ellis
It has become clear that almost the entire community views Danegeross as the heavy favorites to win the eighth annual World Series of Beer Pong. This was shown as Ross and Dane went 1 and 2 in each of the major fantasy drafts. Ross has shown all year that he can win with just about any partner that is put next to him, which makes what he could accomplish with a national elite pretty intimidating. Every time these two step up to the table, a perfect game is on the cusp. There will undoubtedly be a ton of pressure on these two as each team they face will have the opportunity of claiming the bounty on their head. Can someone beat them? Maybe, but it will take one hell of a performance. Should Ross and Dane take down the main event Ross will be the first player to win it with two different teammates, adding another amazing feat to his explosive career. Good luck to all. You are going to need it.
2. Moment of Truth-
Kevin Kessler and Vince Catizone
Vince and Kessler return for another rodeo, seeking redemption for possibly the most surprising comeback of last years’ World Series. Kessler has had probably the second most impressive season for any player in the country adding mid-major victories at the Pongstars 10k as well as winning AC. The self-proclaimed “best player in the universe” has one last victory to add to his resume, and who better to do it with than Vince. Vince, like Kessler, has a prestigious resume and needs only that Worlds Series title to put the finishing touches at the end. Saying they will make a deep run is an understatement. They are heavy favorites, and only play better as the pressure mounts. Plus there is always the added bonus of watching Kessler’s antics. He is the epitome of beer pong.
Brandon Marx and Zack Luckey
Stupid Fuckin Easy. Enough said, right? They certainly make it seem that way on the table. Marx and Luckeys’ greatest strength on the table is not their overwhelming ability, but instead their team chemistry. Of all the major contenders no one team appears to be having more fun. That fun creates confidence and these two are not ones to let get confident. Their performance in eliminating Moment of Truth last year was perhaps the most compelling of WSVII, as they survived a heart breaking ruling by the officials as well as a three cup rebuttal. Unfortunately things came to a surprising end last year as they fell to Kingsbury and Cross, but perhaps it was for the best and they can use that as a driving force to finally reach the final table and capture that elusive World Series title.
4. Clinically Proven-
Chris Kingsbury and Chris Cross
The most surprising team from WSVII, Kingsbury and Juggernaut (Chris Cross) made their way through a loaded field finding themselves playing on the big stage, one win away from stamping their names in the history books of beer pong. Though they played under a different team name last year, their name this year is quite fitting as they have proven to everyone that they are a threat to take home the big check. Though it’s incredibly hard to repeat such an impressive performance, these two have every ounce of capability in them to do just that. With Juggernaut’s consistent shooting and Kingsbury’s flare for the dramatic, these two are not going anywhere any time soon.
Thomas Reap and Kris Fraser
The World Series’ most notorious duo, Reap and Fraser have become synonymous with beer pong. Everyone in the ballroom knows who they are, and that they should fear them. Combine their stalling, acrobatics, (Fraser’s athleticism), shit talking, incredible shooting prowess, and their experience as a team and you have the ingredients for a team that could take down this year’s World Series and knock out every big name team along the way. Last year they could quite possibly have taken home the title, but were cut short by some ill-advised actions on their part. With that in the past these two now have yet another opportunity to finish what they started long ago.
6. Drinkin’ Smokin’ Straight West Coastin’-
Michael Seivert and Byron Findley
One last hoorah. Word on the grapevine is that this may be Drinkin Smokin’s last go at a World Series title. A constant in the community, Byron and Sonoma are crowd favorites at the World Series, as well as one of the most feared teams to play against. As usual one would only need look back at their past to understand why these two are always expected to go far in the World Series. Perhaps having the added incentive of it being their last year will allow them to finally push past their previous barriers and finally ride off into the sunset, $50,000 in hand. Only time will tell, but its safe to expect big things out of these two.
7. Carroll County-
Austin Lanham and Jordan McAllister
Austin Lanham and Jordan McAllister had a solid World Series last year by anyone’s standards. They even won the prestigious East vs. West tournament. However, it is possible that these two went home slightly disappointed after missing out on the finals of the World Series. These two have more than enough capability to win the series, but were not quite able to make the final push in 2012. Last years’ short comings will likely be the driving force for Carroll County’s run in 2013. They may not have a ton to say on the table, but their game certainly does.
8. The Blueprint-
Zach Gilkison and Ricky Posada
A rare combination of East Coast and Midwest elites, many took notice when Zach and Ricky combined forces for WSVIII. Many were not sure what to think, but everyone knew that this team was immediately contenders for the crown come January 4th. Each has had quite a bit of success this year, including Ricky sitting out the Louisiana 7k, watching Ross and Dix battle it out for the title, as well as his second place finish at the Pongstars 10k. Ricky has certainly taken huge strides in 2012 and combining that with the well-versed and always consistent shooting of Zach G., makes these two a near certainty for the top 16. Perhaps the only weakness these two have is their lack of playing time together, but it’s obvious that these two should easily overcome that obstacle.
9. Smashing Time-
Michael Popielarski and Ron Hamilton
The legendary team returns. Still the only two players that hold two World Series titles, Pop and Ron became the face of the sport starting at WSV. Ron’s raw emotion and will to win, mixed with Pop’s smooth stroke and intimidating stature make these two the champs that they are. Though they spent a year away from each other after a short run at WSVI, that may have been the time they needed to get back together and start dominating again. Can these two put the puzzle back together and add a third title to the mantle? Ron Hamilton is already guaranteeing it. Time shall tell. I believe everyone in Vegas would be thrilled to see these guys make another run.
10. We Invented Swag-
Arnold Colella and Mark Pimentel
Most of the time no one would take notice to two number 2’s joining forces for a run at the World Series. Unless, of course, they are Mark Pimentel and Arnold Colella. These two have made it clear, via Facebook, that they are out for blood (and cash). Taking on all comers, Mark and Arnold have plenty of confidence to go around. Both have developed into incredible shooters, putting together great 2012 seasons, but like Mark says, “January 4th is all that matters.” There is certainly a lot of talk for these two to back up, but they are as capable as anyone to do just that.
11. Kick Rocks: Plantinum-
Rickey Shepard and Travis Carl
Travis and Shep return to the Flamingo once again in hopes of defending their home field Vegas turf. Last year was the deepest they had ever finished as they inched towards a finals appearance but came just short while playing in the top 16. Along with their deep run they also nearly nabbed the EvW championship, falling to Carroll County on the final table in dramatic fashion. Always in the mix, is this the year they put all the pieces together and take home the dog tags?
12. Mostly For the OJ-
Matt White and Chris Van Nest
There is motivation, and then there is being dropped after winning a World Series. Matt White was unfairly branded after letting Vegas get the best of him at the end of day three last year. Somehow everyone magically forgot that leading up to the finals Matt White played as well as anyone in the World Series last year. His ferocious appetite for getting in opponents heads matched with his shooting makes him the double threat. With his teammate spot open he quickly filled it with fellow STL shooter Chris Van Nest. Chris has been cementing himself in the pong community as a stud shooter, and amazing teammate. He has large shoes to fill without question, but instead of filling them, these two will rework the system and take the series head on. Don’t sleep on these two for one second, because it will already be over for you.
13. Joe G/Vit-
Joe Giammarino and Mike Vitello
Another team formed in December, Joe G and Vit are two of the East Coast’s elite. Members of Long Island and New Jersey respectably, both have the ability to take over a game on their own. Joe G had a breakout World Series VII, where he finished second in the singles event, losing in game 3 to Ross Hampton. It has become clear that Joe G felt a bit undervalued after his breakthrough, and will clearly be using it as motivation come January 2nd. The last thing you want to do is give an already hungry player, a chip on his shoulder and a great shooting partner. Look for these two battling it out late, their success hinging on their lack of experience together.
14. This Ain’t Sea World-
Peter Rusch and Mike Wan
Veterans unite. Wan and Peter came into WSVIII looking for new partners. Though this can be a tough time for a player, they had it easy as they found one another. Their experience playing day 3 combined is astonishing, and should bode well for them as they make their run. The West Coast will be rooting hard for these two, just as they have for years past. Both players have extensive resumes, filled with wins, and great World Series Places. Can they surpass their previous best finishes in Vegas? That means a final table. That would be something amazing to see.
15. Cheech and Pong-
Edan Hemphill and Corey Bareford
Corey Bareford and Edan Hemphill march back into Vegas, looking to add on to a 33rd finish at WSVII. It was clear that these two were disappointed after last year, despite their high finish as rookies. Though they could have went their separate ways this year, they stayed loyal and should only benefit from that decision. Aided by their loud antics behind the table, practice time on the table year round, and their desire to build on last year, ABQ will be supporting this duo late into day 3.
16. Hall of Fame-
Deep Chakrabarty and Sean Foster
A new formation to add to the roster list, WSOBP legends Deep and Foster joined up to make a surprise run at the final table. Both have a bevy of experience to lean on, and though the East Coast has had a slower season than usual, Deep still came out of the woodwork to not only win Atlantic City, but he also won the Atlantic City singles event. Along with a chance at $50,000, Foster could also probably make a run at the costume prize should he ever let his alter ego back out of the cage. Regardless of what happens, this will be a fun team to watch.
Special Thanks to Mr Scott Frew on putting together this list!