This has been sitting in the draft queue for the better part of a month, and given the fact that the expiration date on its applicability is quickly coming due, it's probably time to publish it and pretend that the mold growing on the edges is intended rather than due to lazy neglect.
Four cats -- Patrick Stevens of Syracuse.com, Ed Lee of The Baltimore Sun, Christian Swezey of Inside Lacrosse, and Corey McLaughlin of Lacrosse Magazine -- put together early 2015 rankings/death sentences. A lot of this makes sense now, but given the fact that the transfer market is still open, eligibility considerations haven't come into focus, wash out rates are unclear, and freshman qualification remains undefined, the hyper-definiteness of any of these rankings is borderline bonkers. Teams will change their shape from the end of May to the late-fall period, so there isn't any reason to taking your Anger PitchforkTM and Score-Settlin' TorchTM from the garage and get yourself in the police report section of the newspaper for having feelings.
Anyway, here's an aggregation of those four cats' early top 20's. (Lacrosse Magazine only published an early top 10).
|RANK||SYRACUSE.COM||BALTIMORE SUN||INSIDE LACROSSE||LACROSSE MAGAZINE|
|2.||Notre Dame||Syracuse||Duke||Notre Dame|
|3.||Duke||Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Syracuse|
|4.||Johns Hopkins||North Carolina||Denver||Maryland|
|5.||Maryland||Johns Hopkins||Johns Hopkins||North Carolina|
|7.||North Carolina||Virginia||Penn State||Duke|
Some brief thoughts about this:
- Among teams ranked in at least one top five, this is the average position of those clubs: Denver (1.75); Notre Dame (2.50); Maryland (4.00); Syracuse (4.25); Johns Hopkins (5.00); Duke (5.25); and North Carolina (6.00). With respect to those same teams, the standard deviations of their positioning broke down as follows: Notre Dame (0.58); Johns Hopkins (0.82); Denver (1.50); Notre Carolina (1.83); Syracuse (2.06); Maryland (2.16); and Duke (3.30). (This basically means that Duke's positioning was the least consistent among the rankings while Notre Dame's was the most consistent.)
- Six teams appear on only one set of death sentences: Colgate, Delaware, Fairfield, Pennsylvania, St. Joseph's, and Villanova. Interestingly, five of the stray bullets are localized to two set of rankings: Swezey took Fairfield and Villanova at the back of his rankings and Lee put some faith in St. Joseph's and Colgate while also spreading some fire at Delaware. Stevens was the lone palm reader that saw Pennsylvania in next year's future.
- This is obviously misleading, but here's a conference breakdown detailing the number of teams positioned in one of the three rankings that did a full top 20: ACC and Ivy (5); THUNDERDOME! and Patriot (4); Big Ten (3); Big East and Northeast (2); and America East (1). Only the ACC had each of its teams included on every set of early rankings.
- Three teams that participated in the 2014 NCAA Tournament were completely left out of the early rankings: Air Force, Richmond, and Siena (these were all play-in competitors).