It's starting to smell a little like lacrosse season.
Last night on the Twitter machine I was bemoaning the fact that lacrosse season seemed disgustingly far away:
The offseason blows. January needs to be here now. Write to your Congressperson to demand the calendar be changed immediately.— College Crosse (@SexyTimeLax) November 26, 2012
Alas, a new dawn brings a new beginning: Lacrosse season is now just one day closer, and I know this because people and things are starting to write about the 2013 season in earnest. Face-Off Yearbook, a publication of Inside Lacrosse, is available for purchase today, and with that announcement comes another sign that your weekends will soon be filled with stick: Preseason polls are starting to roll in. Yippie!
Preseason polls -- especially preseason polls that arrive well before spring practice is on anyone's radar -- are always kind of weird but are simultaneously useful. Expectations are nebulous things, and these polls tend to put that fact into focus. Even this site's pre-fall top 20 was a bit of an effort in hoping for the best while standing dead still in the middle of a minefield, but preseason polls do have a purpose other than simply generating chatter -- they shine a light on possibility and promise, which in the dark of late-November strength and conditioning is a welcome occurrence.
Here's the top 10 in Face-Off Yearbook's Division I rankings (with preseason rankings from the coaches poll as well). You can see the entire list right here, college boy. Some brief notes follow:
|TEAM||FACE-OFF YEARBOOK RANK||COACHES RANK|
- If you ever wanted to see the early manifestation of regret, look no further than where people that are employed to toot whistles placed Cornell and Lehigh. The Big Red pooped their pants down the stretch last season, but with Rob Pannell -- and a host of other talented weapons -- returning in 2013, keeping Cornell out of the top 10 is a special kind of silly. Lehigh, a darling last year and the presumptive favorite with Colgate to win the Patriot League next season, returns all kinds of meat for the spring, with the notable absence of the Lao-Gosney twins. A ranking of 13th seems to ignore what the Mountain Hawks accomplished in 2012 and what they are capable of achieving in 2013.
- Look: I had the Tar Heels ranked sixth in my pre-fall rankings, but that was based purely on the amount of talent that Joe Breschi has crawling around Chapel Hill. (I also ranked Carolina there prior to Nicky Galasso's departure for Syracuse; that's an important mitigation here regardless of whether you believe that Galasso was going to find his way back into a substantial role with the Heels.) I'm assuming that Face-Off Yearbook and the coaches are approaching this the same way: There is all kinds of potential, therefore Carolina gets the benefit of the doubt (even if they haven't earned it due to results in recent seasons). This is always a dangerous preseason slotting to make.
- In the full release, Fairfield charts in at 16th in Face-Off Yearbook's rankings and 18th in the coaches tally. I'm still a little skeptical about the Stags. Andy Copelan has the program going in the right direction and Sam Snow is an animal, but this was a Fairfield team that had a lot of things go in its favor last year, including four overtime wins and five other games that were decided by three goals or less. These kinds of things tend to even out over time, and I could see the Stags taking a step back in the wins department in 2013 (partly due to karma, partly due to the loss of Charlie Cipriano). This is a Fairfield team that may have been overvalued in 2012 and may not sit around the top 15 next season.
- For Hofstra, the Pride appear to be receiving inverse treatment from Fairfield. Not ranked by the coaches in the preseason, Hofstra may be being overlooked a bit. Face-Off Yearbook has the Pride in the 17th hole -- which is just about where I had them pre-fall -- and that seems pretty fair given what the Pride need to replace entering the spring. I really don't think the coaches are giving Seth Tierney's team enough credit as we approach the season.
- It's confirmed: Nobody has any idea what the Elis are going to be in the spring. I had them ranked 17th entering the fall, but didn't feel good about it at all. The coaches have the Bulldogs 14th, and Face-Off Yearbook gave Yale the nod at the last spot in the tally. There are all kinds of questions in New Haven, and that shows in these rankings.