Penn State's membership in THUNDERDOME! in 2014 is like having provisional membership at a country club: You're expected to do whatever the club expects and demands of you, but you aren't permitted to enjoy in all of the benefits of full club membership. The Nittany Lions -- destined for the Big Ten's lacrosse concern in the 2015 season -- are required to play a full THUNDERDOME! regular season schedule while being precluded from participating in the THUNDERDOME! Tournament (and, consequently, are ineligible for the league's automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament).
Regardless of this situation, THUNDERDOME!'s head lacrosse coaches chose Penn State as the preseason favorite to win the conference's regular season title. To the press release!
Penn State, which captured its first Colonial Athletic Association men’s lacrosse regular season title a year ago, has been picked to finish atop the conference standings and win the CAA regular season title again in 2014 according to a vote of the league’s head lacrosse coaches.
Here's how the voting shook out:
That's . . . that's kind of the mess that you'd expect from THUNDERDOME! Every team is down a limb and bleeding from the ear and still trying to maim their opponents with a rusty chainsaw. It's hauntingly beautiful.
The tiering in the voting is fairly clear: At the top rests Penn State, Towson, and Drexel, mashed together with only five votes separating the three teams (these were the only teams to receive first-place votes); under that tier is Massachusetts and Hofstra, separated by only a single vote (although they exist in a solid gap to the top tier); and bringing up the rear is Delaware, as far away from the Hofstra-Massachusetts tier as the Hofstra-Massachusetts tier is from the Penn State-Towson-Drexel tier (in fact, no voter had the Blue Hens higher than dead last).