Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
There are 17 currently winless teams, but only five look like they could battle until the end for the right to become college lacrosse's last team to win a game against a Division I opponent.
17 teams haven't had the opportunity to engage in a Gatorade bath yet this season, hygiene for the soul and proof that something terrific happened. That number is likely to heavily dwindle over the next few weeks or so for three reasons: (1) A handful of currently winless teams aren't going to spend very long without a number in the left-hand column of their win-loss record, simply because they can play; (2) Teams win even when they shouldn't, ruining my gigantic brain; and (3) Reverse Survivor tends to figure itself out by late-March and early-April, leaving only a team or two with a dastardly null set when asked, "Hey, how are things going?"
Of these 17 teams, there are five teams -- Mercer, Michigan, Vermont, VMI, and Wagner -- that, for one reason or another, are probably the favorites to stand alone as the last team in Division I to win a game against another Division I opponent that is wearing uniforms and everything. This isn't because these programs aren't trying hard enough; rather, it's a function of playing a schedule that may be a little above their heads, or talent issues, or a myriad of other reasons (poisoned Gatorade jugs?) that make them look like they're going to have to wait a while for a victory in 2013 (if one even comes). This is the race that matters, people; the race to Championship Weekend is merely a generic product compared to the glory that is Reverse Survivor.
Let's break this down and see what happens. (Please note: Marquette is not eligible for Reverse Survivor in 2013. As a new program, it would be downright cruel to expect the Golden Eagles to put a spike through someone's brain stem before other Division I teams.)
Lees-McRae -- March 2nd
Chance of Victory:
Lees-McRae is a Division II school, not a local Georgia clothier specializing in fine women's blouses and accessories. I looked it up on the Internet to confirm. You can trust me on that one. Considering that Mercer handled Rollins in the Bears' opener this year, Mercer should get the win on Saturday. If the Bears do win, though, it doesn't change their status in Reverse Survivor -- only wins against Division I teams count. (Update: According to Firelaxer, this one is off the board. Drats.)
Next Reasonable Opportunity for Victory: Wagner -- March 9th. Mercer has St. Joseph's on March 6th, and if the Bears hang around like they did against Towson this past weekend, the Bears could notch their first Division I victory of the season against the Hawks. It's just . . . there's nothing better than when Reverse Survivor pits its constituents against each other. So Wagner is the choice here, mostly because I'm looking out for everyone's best interests around these parts.
Next Opponent: Army -- March 2nd
Chance of Victory: I'd estimate these chances at bad-but-could-be-worse; not-raining-blood-from-the-sky-at-the-moment. I don't think that the Wolverines will knock off the Black Knights, but Army hasn't exactly been playing a lot of terrific lacrosse to open the season: They were sloppy against Massachusetts; if Sam Somers didn't play like a meth addict on the run from the cops against Syracuse, the Orange could have blown the doors off of Army; and the two wins -- against Manhattan and VMI -- are just kind of "meh." This is a team that is somewhere between average and the bottom third of the country, and if Michigan comes to play on Saturday, it could be a major upset. Of course, Garrett Thul was built to break things (including the opposition's face), so it may be a bit of an uphill climb for the Wolverines to pull of a magic trick.
Next Reasonable Opportunity for Victory: High Point -- March 6th. "Come here, freshman. I want to show you something."
Next Opponent: Dartmouth -- February 26th
Chance of Victory: After the way the Big Green battled with Colgate in the first half in their season opener, the Catamounts may need to dynamite the field if they’re going to snap their three-game losing streak to Dartmouth. I'm not saying that Vermont has no chance of winning tonight, but Dartmouth isn't Providence, and that could be a problem for a Catamounts squad that has been almost scoring on accident in its first two games.
Next Reasonable Opportunity for Victory: Wagner -- March 16th. If Ryan Curtis can't generate a result tonight that will force Burlington's mayor to throw a parade in his honor (complete with a petting zoo!), it's going to be a bit of a wait for the Catamounts to get a win -- the team's three games prior to hosting the Seahawks are against Bryant (not happening), Virginia (bloodsport), and Quinnipiac (maybe, but the Bobcats just dumped Brown). Which raises the obvious point: Everybody's medication for curing losing is Wagner.
Next Opponent: Lehigh -- March 2nd
Chance of Victory: Nope. Next.
Next Reasonable Opportunity for Victory: Wagner -- March 12th. I'm calling it right now: I will be following this game, pantsless, wrapping myself in the haunting beauty that this will provide. This isn't Game of the Century-level anticipation. No, this is the Mayan Prophesy coming to fruition.
Next Opponent: Lafayette -- February 26th
Chance of Victory: As they say, nothing is impossible (except smelling colors). However, Wagner has been known to Wagner from time to time.
Next Reasonable Opportunity for Victory: Mercer -- March 9th. The clouds will part, rainbows will appear, and children from across the globe will join hands and sing a song of peace and love if the Seahawks beat the Bears in two weeks. If they don't, there will be three more months of misery for everyone.