Inside Lacrosse is proud to release the 2015 Face-Off Yearbook Division I Top 20 rankings, featuring Denver at the top for the first time.
The Pioneers are followed by national runner-up Notre Dame. Duke, last year's champion, comes in at No. 3 in the Face-Off Yearbook rankings, and is followed by Syracuse and Johns Hopkins in the top five.
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The Face-Off Yearbook is back in printed form for 2015 and on sale now, shipping immediately. The print run will be limited. The Face-Off Yearbook will also be available as a digital download in the coming days.
Here's how the top 20 shook out in the annual:
Short pops about each team are also included in Inside Lacrosse's website. Otherwise, here are some brief thoughts on the annual's preseason rankings:
- Three teams -- Princeton, Towson, and Army -- did not appear in the final media poll of the 2014 season (Army closed the season receiving votes but not ranked in the top 20). It's interesting that these three teams comprise the back three of Face-Off Yearbook's preseason top 20. Of the teams that were ranked in the final media poll in 2014 and included in the annual's preseason top 20, the standard deviation from a team's final 2014 position and its preseason Face-Off Yearbook position is just over two positions and the variance in ranking is just shy of five positions. On the whole, that's relatively static positioning from the close of last spring to what the annual projects for the coming spring. The biggest ranking differences between the final media poll of 2014 and the annual's preseason 2015 rankings lie with Drexel (seven position drop), Cornell (six position climb), and Albany (six position drop). Five teams are within one position of where they finished in the last media poll of 2014: Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and Yale.
- Five teams have started in the top 10 in each of the last five editions of Face-Off Yearbook (2011-2015): Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia. The highest average ranking among those teams belongs to Duke (3.00) with North Carolina (4.60) and Notre Dame (5..00) rounding out the top three. Three teams -- Denver, Syracuse, and Cornell -- have appeared in the top 10 of four of the five periods examined. Consequently, only 13 of the possible 50 top 10 positions (26 percent) have been filled by a team other than the aforementioned seven schools (and those 13 spots include three appearances from Johns Hopkins).
- Interestingly, Face-Off Yearbook has failed to include an eventual Championship Weekend participant in its preseason top 10 three times between 2011 and 2014: Denver (2011, started 12th in Face-Off Yearbook), Loyola (2012, started unranked), and Syracuse (2013, started 14th). I don't know what that means, exactly, but it's a thing.
- Conference breakdown: ACC and Ivy (five); Patriot (three); Big Ten and THUNDERDOME! (two); and Big East, America East, and Northeast (one). Average league ranking position: Big East (1.00); ACC (5.00); Big Ten (7.00); America East (13.00); Patriot (13.33); Ivy (13.60); Northeast (14.00); THUNDERDOME! (17.50). Only the MAAC and Southern Conference were not represented in the preseason top 20.
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