Turkey: Final Top 8 rankings

With the regular season over and the playoffs set to start May 27, the final rankings of the Turkish American Football League – TAFL – for the 2017 season are out.

Having started the season as consensus number one, the Koç Rams proved to be the top program in the country. They have not lost a regular season game in last five years. They are considered to be favorites en-route to their back-to-back Turkish Bowl title.

Sakarya Tatankas managed to clinch the number two spot in the league the very same placed they have started the power rankings at the beginning of the season. Having won back-to-back championships in the college level Sakarya shows consistency. They won home-field advantage where they will play against ITU Hornets in the playoffs. During the season they managed to beat ITU Hornets.

The ITU Hornets have progressed during the season. Their import skill player Gabriel Chambers contributed to the team in the season. After starting the season with a heavy loss against the Koc Rams they struggled down the road barely winning an overtimer against the Bogazici Sultans and with another bad loss against Sakarya Tatankas. However they toppled the Yeditepe Eagles the previous week in a hard fought contest and finished the season solid against the ODTU Falcons with a shut-out (50 – 0). Throughout the season they have climbed up the rankings from 5th position to number three spot. If they can win an away play-off game against Sakarya Tatankas they may mange to play in the final game first time since year 2000.

The Bogazici Sultans, the Turkish football dynasty had their first-ever losing season in their history. After starting the season 0 – 3 they have beaten their opponents in their remaining games but Sakarya Tatankas. Shutting out Hacettepe Redders (35 – 0) and the Gazi Warriors (40 – 0) in their last two games their final standing reads 3 – 4. However having lost their games with less than a possession deficit they are ranked at number four spot. Sultans were pretty much stable through-out the season. If they can tackle organizational issues in the summer they have a chance to regain their title. Meanwhile they managed to win Division two in college level undefeated and their U19 program dubbed Istanbul Janissaries continues undefeated in last 5 years.

The Yeditepe Eagles lost their magic at the end. They have not won a single game since April 1st. Initially they lost in college play-offs against the Gazi Warriors. Actually they were shut-out 12 – 0. Then they have lost their league games against ITU Hornets (17 – 20) and Koç Rams (7 – 39). Meanwhile, they also lost a game with their U19 program against Bogazici’s U19 program dubbed Istanbul Janissaries (12 – 22). Apparently they are playing with a limited choice of plays. Lack of variety in their play-book keeps them from reaching higher scores. Although they were promising at the beginning of the season having ranked at number 3 spot and even though they managed to clinch play-offs now at the end of the season they are ranked at fifth spot. The last regular game against the Koc Rams which was a 39-7 whitewashing, may well turn out to be the carbon copy of the play-off game which would pave the way for Rams reaching the Turkish Bowl game.

ODTU Falcons kept their stable 6th position. It is a consensus. Turkish Federation just announced a new initiative where they will be financially supporting clubs. Whether ODTU will opt out for such a subsidy and hire American coaches remains to be seen. Otherwise they are not very promising for a play-off race next year.

Hacettepe and Gazi who used to win back-to-back championships are now being relegated. Once the powerhouses of Turkish football they will seal their own fate.

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