2016 has not been the war of attrition that the TNCBA saw in 2015 when every angler zeroed on multiple occasions, and it has left us with an AOY race that could take many different routes to the championship...so lets take a look at some of the scenarios that could play out over the course of our final two events:
*All scenarios are not factoring in bonus points for Big Fish in the last two tournaments.
Scenario #1 (90%): Ryan Pope stays red hot and is your 2016 TNCBA Angler of the Year!
702 is Pope's magic number. If Pope is able to amass 702 AOY points then he cannot be beaten...even if Bob Harvey wins the last two tournaments. Achieving that magic number of 702 will not be a simple task as Ryan will need an average finish of third place to ensure a championship.
Pope does have a little room to gamble with the three drops in place. Pope has only one zero on the year so he still has a couple of decent finishes to fall back on...if Pope were to have a catastrophic tournament he would pick up a 94. If this were to happen at our next tournament, it would put Pope in a vulnerable position. A 94 equates to a 7th place finish and means that Pope would have to win the last tournament on Boone to ensure victory. Pope's current hot streak will need to continue if he wants to walk away with this championship!
Scenario #2 (50%): Bob Harvey leans on his magical start and sneaks back in for the win!
Bob Harvey lit it up at the beginning of the season, taking back-to-back wins and earning some critical bonus points. As that start cooled Harvey used up his drops in the next three consecutive tournaments. Harvey's max points (leaving out Big Fish bonus) is 701 points if he were to win the final two tournaments.
Similar to Pope's situation, if Harvey were to have a bad tournament in the next event he would take on a 94. Harvey has to make up six points on pope over the next two events, so this is the point where your competitors become your friends. The more people that can finish between Harvey and Pope the better. With Pope having a 94 to fall back on...anything less than top three's to finish out the year will leave Bob going home without the trophy.
Scenario #3 (25%): Cody Dison rides the consistency train to victory!
Dison has not blown the competition away with wins like the other two anglers, but he has found himself in third place by being consistent. Cody's max points for the year is 700 if he were to win the last two events. Cody has only picked up one win and two bonus point over the course of the year, but he currently leads the weight tie-breaker with 56.59 lbs. for the year.
The one positive that Dison has is his fall back score. If all three anglers were to zero, Dison would gain three points on Harvey and Pope because his fall back score is a 97 to the other's 94. Cody is looking at a "Go Big, or Go Home," scenario...his fall back scores are good enough that in the last two tournaments he can shoot for the win or nothing. If Dison were to zero the last two tournaments, the worst score that he would have to pick up would be a 96. Harvey is only one point ahead of Dison so that is a reasonable gap to overcome fishing straight-up, but Cody will need Pope to falter twice to overcome that five point gap.
These last two tournaments are critical and present the anglers with polar opposites. The September event will be held in the darkness on Watauga Lake...the next and final event will take place during the day on Boone Lake. We will revisit these scenarios after the next tournament...