High Point, which will be entering its first year of Division I competition in 2013, announced its inaugural schedule yesterday on the Internet machine. Like Michigan last year and Marquette last week, these first-year schedules always give you a glimpse into the insanity that grips a head coach when he puts together a season's slate. Jon Torpey, not unlike his peers, is only partially insane, which is a good thing.
The Panthers aren't taking the easy way out next season, man. No way. This is a team that tried to find the sweet spot in all areas of its schedule, mixing in pure terror, some potential wins, and even a few games that are within reach if the universe smiles on them that day. It's solid, and compared to Marquette's schedule (which only features two home games), has a nice balance to it.
Let's break it all down.
COMPLETE TOTAL INSANITY (PEEING IN THE DARK IN YOUR CLOSET INSANE)
April 27: @ Drexel; April 29: @ North Carolina; April 5: @ Duke
That's three teams -- at the end of the year when they should really be clicking -- that will be in and around the top-20 of the country for the entirety of the season. All road games, High Point is going to get a crash course in getting off the bus and seeing what high-end Division I lacrosse looks like (and it will likely look like pain). The Duke and Carolina games are huge to try and build a sense of local pride in the club, but those things are going to be mushroom clouds of hurt.
INSANE, BUT THE BEST THINGS ARE BUILT FROM INSANITY (THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, BASICALLY)
February 2: Delaware; February 8: Towson; February 10: Air Force; February 16: @ St. Joseph's; February 23: @ Bellarmine; March 2: @ Jacksonville; March 16: @ UMBC; March 24: Brown
Here's why I really like the Panthers' decision to play Delaware, Towson, and Air Force in the span of eight days: Those are ballsy decisions to put superior teams on your schedule, but if you get them early in the season when they may not be ready to really play (especially if you're getting them at home), it allows some of that ridiculous magic to happen that gripped college lacrosse all last year. High Point will be underdogs in all those games, but weird stuff happens at the beginning of the year, man. (But the Panthers will likely lose all three.)
UMBC and Brown are reach games for High Point, and what St. Joseph's is going to be in 2013 isn't quite clear after the serious surge they showed in 2012. (But, you know, the Panthers aren't likely to touch those games.) Bellarmine and Jacksonville are probable losses, only because both schools have been around the block and High Point is still breaking in their PF Flyers. But, again, those two games come before everyone has heat in their legs in mid-March; I don't expect the Panthers to win any of them, but anything is possible, right?
GATORADE BATHS! (MAYBE)
March 6: Michigan; March 31: @ Mercer; April 13: Marquette
I really thought that High Point would try to put more schools on their schedule that are in this tier, mostly because it's easier to sell wins than trying to explain why a loss to Brown -- at home -- isn't a bad thing. Credit Torpey, though, for choosing to hammer the brick.
None of these are gimmies for the Panthers, and I would expect the Wolverines to drop High Point given how well Michigan showed itself last season despite a fairly difficult schedule. Marquette is definitely a 50-50 game, and Mercer is kind of an unknown as to what, exactly, they'll have in 2013 from an overall competitive standpoint (the Bears did lose to Michigan last season).
My prediction for High Point? Best case scenario: 2-13; worst case scenario: 0-15. There's nothing wrong with any of that.