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Ottawa University Gold Crowned Champions of 2021 CCL Playoffs

Ottawa University Gold Crowned Champions of 2021 CCL Playoffs

College COD playoffs took place over this past weekend, where fans were treated with some of the best Call of Duty the CCL has ever seen. 64 of North America’s best collegiate teams fought tooth and nail for a chance at their share of the $25,000 prize pool.

The start of playoffs were already shaken up with two #1 seeded teams in Purdue Gold and Sheridan College, as well as #2 seeded OSU Scarlet unable to compete. But one of the craziest shocks happened before the tournament even started. Due to exam and class commitments, 16-1 Penn State and 10-7 McMaster University played their match on Thursday the 15th. Penn State were massive favorites to win this series quite easily, but McMaster were able to shock the Nittany Lions by winning a map of Control, and both Search and Destroys. CCL’s Paliiboy described the Penn State communications as “passionless”. It was something disappointing to see from a team that was expected to go very deep in the playoffs. 

Cal State University at Long Beach (Black), who were ranked 6th overall in the weekly CCL top 25, were knocked down to the loser’s bracket much sooner than expected after being upset by the 9-5 St. Clair Saints. CSULB were able to get back to top form quickly though as they strung together a very impressive loser’s bracket run. They sent home Penn State in LR2, before steamrolling three more teams on their way to loser’s round 6, where they met up with a red hot UNI Gold. The series would end with a 3-1 loss and a top 12 finish, just outside of the money, but a successful inaugural season for the boys in California. 

The upsets did not end there. UTD Orange, CU Black, E4 Knights and GSU Gold were all knocked down after WR2 losses. It is hard to consider Humber beating E4 an upset though, as the Hawks really hit top form at the right time. UTD were bumped down by a well practiced SIUe Red, then were shocked by GSU Blue in one of the tightest series of the tourney. Their journey would end in a top 48, a big step backwards from last year’s results. CU Black simply couldn’t regain heading down to the LB, falling to Full Sail Armada, who ended up having a decent lower bracket run themselves. Carleton were able to take down the unanimous fifth best team of Georgia Southern Gold. GSU kept it extremely close after going up 1-0, with a 6-5 loss in map 2, and a 3-2 loss in Control. Those two heartbreaking losses proved to be too much for them in map 4, losing the series 3-1. Hawk and 47 looked just unbelievable in every series they played which pushed their squad all the way to the top 4. 

The most impressive run had to come from Concord University’s B team, Concord Grey. The hopes were high for this team at the beginning of the year, being led by 2020 CCL runner-up, Paraylxsis. Niko played the first series of the year, before having to step away because of the birth of his son. CUE Grey strung together a few wins before struggling mightily in the second half of the season. It was just enough to give them a chance to qualify, although they were met with two difficult opponents. Grey were given the spark they needed with Paraylxsis announcing that he’d be returning to the squad. Defeating GSU Blue and #24 ranked UTK Orange. For playoffs they were knocked down to the loser’s bracket immediately, but put together an immaculate run. Their first three opponents had at least 13 regular season victories, but it clearly did not matter. CUE’s most impressive wins came in their final two. They beat #25 Texas State by a score of 3-1, winning both Hardpoints. #18 SIUe Red would be next on the docket, but Concord just rode with the momentum and crushed SIUe 3-0. Their run would end in the top 8, but it was an incredible Cinderella  story to watch throughout the weekend, securing their spot in the money. 

Finally came the top 4. Hawk and 47 were massive parts of such a successful run by Carelton. They clinched their spot in the winner’s semi finals by winning in game 5 against Humber College. Concord Maroon proved to be too much for the Ravens players. Sending them down to play undefeated Ottawa Black. Once again, Carleton would fall and that would end their season with an unexpected 4th place finish. Concord Maroon ran the upper side of the bracket en route to a winner’s finals berth against Ottawa Gold. The series was amped up to be a great one, but Ottawa Gold came out flying and essentially crushed Concord to play their counterpart, Ottawa Black. OU Black just came off a convincing win over Carleton, which must have given them extra life in this win or go home situation. The Braves started off with two strong wins in the series, which means Concord had to pull off the impossible. CUE managed to take a tightly-knit Control but could not complete the comeback in game 4, losing 3-1. 

So the stage was set: An all-Ottawa College CoD Grand Finals. Gold entered the series with only one map loss on the entire season including playoffs. Black came in with only 1 regular season map loss, and was the only team to take a map off of Ottawa Gold. Being the two teams expected in the top two, everyone knew they were in for some amazing Call of Duty. OU Black, led by top amateur players Fame and Noysii, came out extremely hot by winning the first two maps of the series. Black were poised to force the second best of five to reset the bracket. However the likes of Ottawa Gold had other plans. A dominant 3-0 victory on Control, led to them clutching up in the final set of hills in map 4 Hardpoint, which would then bring a game 5. The Raid SnD for the most part was very back and forth, after Black jumped out to an early lead. Cruelty led the way to a 3-1 OU Black lead to start, but Gold were quickly able to tie things up in a matter of two rounds. Fame answered with a three piece in round 7, and a MASSIVE 1v3 clutch to propel Black to map point. Gold’s aggressiveness to get in behind enemy lines without getting spotted out granted them two dominant round wins to push it the distance. Game 5, round 11, $12,500 on the line. While Gold would have a second BO5 to bounce back if needed, they wanted to close it out here. Black needed to win to stay alive. Round 11 saw Gold on the favored defensive side. Ethan2Nice drew first blood within the first fifteen seconds of the round which allowed Herby and Radial to get extremely aggressive towards the B bomb site. A few quick trades evened things back out which left Gold’s Proffecide and E2N against Lightning and Noysii. Noysii was caught out alone and Proffecide was able to capitalize on it. This left Lightning by himself, and a 1v2 clutch was needed to win the series. He got bomb down on A with 11 seconds left, managed to get Proffecide off bomb, but E2N came in from behind and took down Lightning to win the CCL Season 3 Championship for Ottawa Gold. 

It was a terrific weekend of Call of Duty action. Upsets, dominance and everything in between for all of these talented teams and players. Ultimately, it was the two schools out of Ottawa, Kansas that came out as the two best collegiate teams in North America. Although, it was Ottawa Gold that reigned supreme over these 180 teams. They are the 2021 College CoD Champions.       

- Zarin Bartholomew (@ZaarinCOD)

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