In the interest of transparency, here's how I voted in the final Inside Lacrosse media poll of the year. Some brief explanations follow the ballot. The full poll will be released later today.
Some brief notes on this:
- New this week: Air Force, Army. Dropped out this week: Hofstra, Princeton. Also seriously considered: Penn State, Ohio State, Princeton, and Hofstra (in no particular order). I'm not sure how the Hofstra decision is going to hold up -- look at it this way: if a team is hanging on the back-end of the poll, there isn't a lot of arguments around whether it should stay -- but I decided to give Air Force and Army a little push at the end of the year. These are all decent-but-not-great teams, and I'm not sure that Hofstra's exclusion from the NCAA Tournament means much here.
- Drexel: The Dragons are probably higher than they should be, but I'm willing to accept Drexel in its position in the poll given the charge that the Dragons made at the end of the year. Drexel is weird -- that will make sense after the site moves through its team-by-team decompressions -- but it's hard not to give the Dragons a nod for accelerating at the end of their season.
- Albany/Pennsylvania: It felt like the Danes and Quakers each needed a recalibration. The biggest movers on the board have less to do with their efforts in the tournament and more to do with missing their purpose during the regular season.
- Bryant: Maybe too low? I don't know. I tried not to overreact to the Bulldogs' victory over Syracuse in the first round. I think this is fair.
- The $10,000 Issue: My final ballot doesn't necessarily reflect how the NCAA Tournament played out. There's an important reason for that: The tournament is weird; it isn't designed to determine which team is the best, but rather to crown a champion. You could play the tournament out 1,000 times and have vastly different results. So, this ballot reflects tournament results, but doesn't treat them as canonical law.