Written by Michael Florek
Inflatable Tunnel Power Rankings: The playoffs are here
After 11 weeks of inflating, deflating, collapses, poor hustle and an occasional small miracle from the grounds crew, 16 inflatable tunnels have advanced to the playoffs, where they’ll go blow for blow to determine for once and for all which hot (or cold, there will be no air bigotry here) air reigns supreme.
It’s time for the first, and in all honesty probably last, inflatable tunnel playoffs.
Here’s how it’s going to work. We’ve got eight matchups in the first round. Each will showcase both side’s inflatable in a photograph. Then you’ll vote. At the end of the week we’ll find out who advanced. Here are your first round matchups. Hustle to Vegas now to get your bets in. The fun gets started tomorrow.
1. Wylie’s Pirate Skull – The wire-to-wire No. 1 seed, Wylie takes the top spot in the bracket, but as the week have worn on the skull has looked more and more upset prone. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this fall in the later rounds.
16. Rowlett’s Eagle – Rowlett is in after a controversial decision by the Inflatable rules committee to SOTAOUITMAOS (State ofTexas Association Of Upright Inflatable Tunnels, Mascots and Other Structures) to put them in over DeSoto. Those DeSoto inflatable fans (both of them) can’t be happy right now. Rowlett has an uphill battle in the first round.
8.Mesquite’s Helmet AND Mosquito – In more for the standalone mosquito rather than the inflatable helmet run throughMesquitehas perhaps the toughest matchup in the first round against a Birdville Hawk that many fans say is underrated.
9. Birdville’s Hawk – The mean-looking bird head, giant wings and terrifying, griffin-like talons are cool, but the coming out of the stomach deal is still a bit bothersome.
5.McKinney’s Lion – Those 5 vs. 12 matchups are always tricky and this could be no different. The Lion is nice and detailed, but with have of its body melting into a tunnel, it could encounter some trouble.
12. Frisco’s Raccoon Tunnel – While a straight-up inflatable raccoon would be more impressive, this tunnel is no slouch and more importantly, doesn’t try to be something it’s not. It’s simply a slick tunnel. The Vegas sharps have this the upset pick of the week. I don’t know if I would go that far, but this one is going to be close.
4. McKinney Boyd’s Bronco Head – After debuting at No. 2, the Bronco head has slipped in recent weeks, but it still remains a contender for the title.
13. Grapevine’s Tunnel and Horse Gate – The creativity of the horse gate earns it extra points, but is it good enough to take on a very well put-together, well thought-out, and color coordinated Bronco head? I’m not sure.
6.Midlothian’s Panther – It has the same cut-out of the McKinney Lion, which causes it to lose points, but it’s black. Black is intimidating.
11. Adamson’s Leopard – The very last entrance in the competition, the cheetah perched and ready to pounce onto of the tunnel is the upset special of the week.
3.Corsicana’s Tiger Head – This is a college-level inflatable and with the purple color scheme, I’m pretty sure LSU would take this tomorrow if it could.
14. Euless Trinity’s Trojan – Trojan Pete has made an astonishing climb to into playoff contention after collapsing at halftime on that fateful day when Trinity played DeSoto, but this might be the end of the line. I’m not sure he has enough to compete with the Tiger Head.
7. Garland’s Owl – The newest built inflatable in the playoffs, this monstrous size of the owl’s wings make up for the fact that it’s face is in 2-D.
10. Colleyville Heritage’s Panther Head – A bit cartoonish and not that intimidating but still a contender.
2. Prosper’s Eagle – Possibly the most intimidating inflatable in the game, there’s not much separation between Prosper’s Eagle and Wylie’s Pirate Skull.
15. McKinney North’s Bulldog – Just a mascot head (no tunnel) and a cartoonish, unintimidating bulldog leave McKinney North as a prohibitive underdog.