With the 2015 season cooling in college lacrosse's graveyard, various cats have started to publish their frighteningly early 2016 rankings/death sentences. With the transfer market open, the lack of clarity around freshman contributions, and the usual attrition inherent in Division I rosters, these projections are obviously built on a heavy foundation of "Well, if . . ." Regardless of all the issues inherent in trying to forecast the future without a flux capacitor, brave souls have embarked on this journey and have returned the following:
|RANK||SYRACUSE.COM||LACROSSE MAGAZINE||BALTIMORE SUN||INSIDE LACROSSE|
|1.||Notre Dame||Duke||Duke||Notre Dame|
|2.||Denver||Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Denver|
|5.||Johns Hopkins||Johns Hopkins||Denver||Harvard|
|7.||North Carolina||North Carolina||Brown||Syracuse|
|9.||Yale||Brown||Ohio State||North Carolina|
|10.||Ohio State||Yale||North Carolina||Yale|
|19.||Stony Brook||Stony Brook||Albany||Marquette|
Some brief thoughts about this:
- Among teams ranked in at least one top five and excluding Harvard (the Crimson were included in only the Syracuse.com and Inside Lacrosse projection), this is the average position of those clubs: Notre Dame (1.50); Duke (2.75); Denver (3.00); Maryland (3.75); Johns Hopkins (4.75); and Virginia (7.00). With respect to those same teams, the standard deviations of their positioning broke down as follows: Maryland (0.50); Notre Dame (0.58); Johns Hopkins (1.26); Denver (1.41); Virginia (2.00); and Duke (2.36). (This basically means that Duke's positioning was the least consistent among the rankings while Maryland's and Notre Dame's were the most consistent.)
- Seven teams appear on only one set of death sentences: Colgate, Drexel, Villanova, High Point, Boston University, Penn State, and Bryant. Interestingly, five of the stray bullets are localized to one set of rankings: Christian Swezey's projection at Inside Lacrosse was the only estimate to feature the Wildcats, Panthers, Terriers, Nittany Lions, and Bulldogs. Patrick Stevens has faith in the Raiders at Syracuse.com and Ed Lee is feeling good about the Dragons for the Baltimore Sun.
- This is obviously misleading, but here's a conference breakdown detailing the number of teams positioned in one of the four rankings that did a full top 20: ACC (5); Big East and Ivy (4); Big Ten and Patriot (3); THUNDERDOME! and America East (2), and Southern and Northeast (1). Only the ACC had each of its teams included on every set of premature outlooks. The conference with the largest standard deviation in the number of teams committed to each set of predictions was the Big East (the league had as few as two and as many as four) with THUNDERDOME! slotting in behind the Big East (the conference was not represented in one determination and had as many as two in another).
- Marist was the only team that participated in the 2015 NCAA Tournament that was completely left out of the early rankings.