Imagine my surprise when I got an email from Inside Lacrosse asking me to participate in the D1 men's media poll this year. Suffice it to say it's an honor and a privilege.
(Ed. Note: It came out after the Proscpetus, but please make sure to check out Inside Lacrosse's Full Cascade/Maverik Media Poll that was just released.)
I was always a fan of Hoya Suxa's approach to the polls, where he focused more on getting teams in the correct tiers and focused less on the rankings. This is an approach I'd like to continue and it certainly colors my thinking about where to rank teams. I've provided my reasons for the rankings below.
Seeing that this is a preseason poll, a lot can change. In some respects the idea of a preseason poll is a bit ridiculous because it can color people's perceptions of where a team should be before a single game is played. Just look at the NCAA football polls to see how these things work (and that's why the poll that really counts doesn't come out until halfway through the season). In all honesty, we really won't know what's what until a week or two into conference play, so... mid March?
So that's my rather sizable grain of salt accompanying these rankings.
Below is the first ever Dr. Lunchbox (DLB) media poll ballot.
|ARV||Army, Bryan, Cornell,
Harvard, and St. Joe's
1–6: The Contenders
- Denver: The Pioneers are still the champs until proven otherwise. Are there questions? Sure, but knowing how this team operates they don’t seem insurmountable.
- Maryland: The senior class alone is terrifyingly good, and that’s before you remember they have three other classes.
- Notre Dame: I’m not as high on the Domers as most people, but their big weapons might be enough this year.
- Syracuse: This is a program that doesn’t rebuild, it reloads. If Warren Hill in a full-time gig plays like he did at the FIL in 2014, look out.
- Johns Hopkins: The Jays have some question marks at the midfield, but they had a lot of question marks last year and barely made the tourney. How’d that turn out? This is a squad that can overcome anything.
- Duke: Some of the luster came off the Duke veneer last year. Offense doesn’t seem to be a problem, but the other side of the ball is more of a question mark. Still a contender, but not necessarily a favorite so this seems about right.
7-11: The Hopefuls
Both Ivies really impressed last year and there’s no reason to think that there will be a significant drop off with either Brown or Yale this year. UNC executed their annual collapse is their standard fashion. I’ll believe UNC is for real when they make a deep run and not before then. Virginia is a team that I think gets a rankings boost as an ACC team. The Wahoos are loaded with talent, sure, but slotting them at 11 might be too generous. The post-Lyle Albany era begins and that roster is still impressive. The Scoobies are a top 10 team until proven otherwise, in my opinion.
12-15: The Scrappers
Georgetown made some huge strides last year and I expect the Hoyas to build on that, not retreat from it. Loyola was plagued by inconsistency last year and were a better team than what their record stated. This Greyhounds team won’t be lacking in the offense department and should be fun to watch. Towson’s season starts and ends in the cage. The Tigers went toe-to-toe with Notre Dame in the tournament, and that was no fluke. Some teams can weather the loss of a single, dominant player, I don’t know if Ohio State can be the same team without Jesse King that they were with him.
16-20: The Short Leash
The Golden Eagles belong and are not to be trifled with. A top 20 team for sure at this point, but not elite yet. Penn State seems to always be in the running and I’m hard pressed to find a team that hasn’t already been ranked that I think is better. Princeton has a tough out of conference schedule in addition to the always challenging Ivy League. They could move up or down very quickly. Navy made huge strides last year, showing that they belong in this conversation again. Stony Brook is an interesting team. No Mike Rooney this year, but they will give Albany a run for the America East title again, and this year it will likely be closer than it has been for a while.
Also considered (in alphabetical order):
Army, Bryant, Cornell, Harvard, St. Joseph’s
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!