A few comments, then questions, then a suggestion:
Southwest seems to be some sort of Academic League power, and back when I played them on something between Academic League and "mainstream" questions in 2001 (2 or 3-line tossups and 2-part 20 point bonuses, IIRC) they weren't that bad. I think part of it is that Southwest brings like 8 or 10 players to a tournament, registers a single team, and then tries to sub them all in and out (I think I've seen 7 or 8 players in a game before). At an NAQT tournament you can't do that and expect to do well; you need your best players to get into some kind of rhythm to succeed. Watching their coach it's been obvious that they know the answers (or at least he thinks they should or do), but they've got some kind of timidity about buzzing, and I'm guessing that this lack of rhythm has something to do with it.
Fallbrook attended a NAQT tournament in May 2003. I remember crushing their freshman team. They haven't been back since, to my knowledge.
Carlsbad made an excellent transition from Academic League to NAQT this year. They were sort of out of it at TWAIN due to problems understanding the format, but midway through CBCT they started to figure things out, had a good game against a top team and made the upper bracket.
Questions: Does the winner of Academic League get a berth in NAC? If so, what kind of financial incentive is there to go the NAC and not, for example, apply to PACE as a wild card?
Also, why does Academic League seem so "monolithic and complacent" (to quote
) ? Shady protest resolutions, requiring moderators to write current events questions directly out of Time
, banning the use of certain buzzer systems due to some perceived "home-buzzer advantage" but requiring coaches to submit 6/6 each? And this is just stuff I can find online without having actually played Academic League (you are encouraged to share your firsthand knowledge with the QB Wiki). Oh, speaking of coaches submitting 6/6 each, who edits the questions? Or is it just you hope that you get questions written by the coaches who can write good questions and not by those who can't?
Suggestion: Correct me if I am wrong, but Academic League is traditionally a winter/spring activity that is currently in the middle of the season. Rancho Bernardo tried running a NAQT tournament at the beginning of the season, and this seems like it would be a good idea if word was spread about it again during Academic League season. If Rancho Bernardo (or any other school in the area) were to hold an "end-of-season tournament" (suppose on an IS-A set) for novice/JV teams and varsity teams that did not make the playoffs, would this be more likely to attract teams? All of this year's sets are spoken for, but someone could probably get something like IS-63A or 65A from last year and run it.
Anyway, and I think everyone on the board would agree with me, Santa Monica would absolutely crush Fallbrook on pyramidal questions this year. That 575-15 pasting of Edison (and it really should have been 600+ but they double-negged the last tossup) was the most impressive performance I've seen in SoCal in a long, long time, especially considering who it was against (probably the best since 2002 Los Al played a 3-way championship match and doubled the other two teams' scores combined).