The Patriot League is chock full of freedom and liberty and eating deep-fried everything. With nine teams dotting the league's membership roster this season, the conference is embarking on unknown territory, not only in volume, but in participants. It's a different kind of reality for Division I's biggest conference, and that reality came into full focus when Loyola -- one of the league's new members -- was tabbed as the conference's preseason favorite.
Loyola University Maryland will enter its first season in Patriot League men's lacrosse as the favorite after the Greyhounds were picked for the top spot in the sport's preseason poll announced on Wednesday's media teleconference.
Here's how the voting shook out (voters could not cast a ballot for their own team):
Based on the point tabulations some tiering in the voting is visible: Tier I -- Loyola, existing at the top of the hierarchy as the league's alpha predator; Tier II -- Bucknell and Lehigh, lumped together in virtual lockstep; Tier III -- Army and Colgate, about as far away from Tier II as they are ahead of Tier IV; Tier IV -- Navy, Holy Cross, and Lafayette appear packaged as one unit, although you could make an argument that Navy and Holy Cross are in their own sub-tier; and Tier V -- Boston University, the new kid getting hazed and disrespected. The only thing that is somewhat surprising about the voting is the number of first-place votes that the Greyhounds accumulated. Given the heat around the Bison this season, it's interesting that Bucknell earned only three first-place votes.
As for preseason all-league honors, John Glesener (Army) earned preseason offensive player of the year honors while Joe Fletcher (Loyola) took home preseason defensive player of the year honors. Here's the full preseason All-Patriot League team: