Was it really only a few weeks ago when Ian Hetu was looking toward next season, wondering whether he'd still be competing in the Premier League? With his second win week - going 1-2-3 in his bracket to defeat second-place Hunter Howe - Ian rolled his boulder into the first wildcard slot and can make the playoffs with some decent play next week.
It was a topsy-turvy week across the board for the Premier League. The top competitors in the standings - Dan Gibson and Alex Hetu - managed to come in last and second-to-last. While neither is in too much danger of not making the playoffs, it gave Dave Miotke a chance to sneak into second place. Miotke will need all the points he can get; he only has a single win and is a single point above 3 other Premier Leaguers.
Our reporters tried to catch up with Ian after his victory, but all we could get out him before he left was a triumphant, "I'm going to the ranch!" Whether the "ranch" is a physical location where Hetu is vacationing or a metaphor to the oft-rumored secret UGT training camp was unable to be confirmed.
When Isaac Epp claimed his fourth win this week in Crossover, he did a few things. First and foremost, he made a statement: "I'm good at playing video games." With a lock on the playoffs, Epp's goal has changed. "I now have my sights," he said, "firmly set towards not derping in the playoffs." Some UGT fans may remember that aside from one fateful day of Haxball, Epp may have been competing in the Premier League. With his dominant performance so far, it would surprise no one to see him there next season.
Epp's win also meant a lost opportunity for Jim Larimore and Dave Miotke, both of whom are knocking on that playoff door but would have loved a win to help solidify their spots.
Most of the drama for the week had seemed to have occurred by the time the Champions League winner was decided, but John Berges wasn't about to step out of the spotlight. He managed to keep pace with Epp, placing him solidly in second place, in position for that first-round playoff bye. It's been a terrific season for both Berges and Epp, but Berges gives the mental edge right now to his opponent. "The pressure seems to be slowly getting to Gabe [Rodriguez] and I, and Isaac just remains as calm as ever. I must admit it's unsettling."
Speaking of Gabe Rodriguez, the Aussie finished strongly in second, with Lyndsay Pearson and Eric Holmberg-Weidler rounding out the top 4. The strong showing by the Champions League favorites pushed the surging Geoff Mitchell out of the top 4. Mitchell still has one week to make his Cinderella story come true; he'll just need to finish strong and hope that either Rodriguez or Holmberg-Weidler have an off-week.
In the rest of the Champions League, Pearson and Gast look to hold on to the two wild card slots, though dark horse Nick Corea could upset everything with a win. Over in the Premier League, Dan Gibson doesn't even need to show up next week in order to take the #1 seed going into the playoffs, but the rest of the playoff picture is still fairly up in the air. With only 7 points separating 2nd and 8th place, a win - or even a second-place finish - could make the difference for who's fighting for the crown and who's fighting to stay in Premier League.