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Will all five ACC teams start the season in the top 10?

After last year’s disappointment, will it affect how people view the conference in 2018?

North Carolina State v Syracuse

**DISCLAIMER: The Atlantic Coast Conference had ZERO teams at Championship Weekend in 2017**

It all began last night when Safe posted this meme about four ACC teams in a pretty early lax preseason poll:

It continued when Adam mentioned that Inside Lacrosse had all five teams in their really early preseason poll:

You can explore the thread by clicking on one of those two tweets.

We later explored how many ACC teams are actually top 10 worthy. As an ACC guy myself, all the ACC teams are pretty good. We don’t have Michigan in our conference, so we have that to be proud of!

But we’re about three months away from the start of spring practices*, and even though it may still be early to ask, let’s ask it anyways.

Are all five ACC teams top 10 worthy to start 2018?

The short answer: No.

There’s at least five non-ACC teams that are deserving of top 10 status: Albany, Maryland, Denver, Yale, and Penn State. I’ve also seen Hofstra, Loyola, Ohio State, Princeton, and Rutgers make their way into some early top 10s.

I don’t see all five teams cracking the top 10 to start the season. We’re beginning to see a new wave of college lacrosse, which was evident with the coming out party for the Big Ten lacrosse conference.

So if there won’t be five ACC teams, where’s the sweet spot?

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see three ACC teams start in the top 10, as Ryan pointed out later in the aforementioned thread:

ESPN’s Anish Shroff also agreed:

I definitely see Duke and Notre Dame as two definites for top 10 contention.

As for Syracuse? That’s tough. They lose five of their starters from a year ago, along with both of their short stick defensive midfielders, and their record-setting FOGO. There are some big shoes to fill.

I can see the Orange near the second half of the top 10 as well. They can also end up around 11 or 12.

As for Virginia and UNC, I don’t see them as top 10 teams yet. Shroff pointed out the Cavaliers will surprise people this year, which I agree. They need to improve on defense with the loss of Tanner Scales as their notable departure. They gave up a ton of goals and had a big question mark in net with Will Railey and Griffin Thompson splitting time last year. Can Alex Rode stabilize that spot and be the Jack Kelly figure that Lars Tiffany had in his last year at Brown?

I don’t understand how UNC finished the season in the top 10 at 8-8. Any other .500 team would not even be even near the top 15. They lose Luke Goldstock and Austin Pifani as their leaders on offense and defense respectively, as well as FOGO Stephen Kelly. Joe Breschi has a ton of young guys, so it may be rough to start, but it’s possible to see them in the top 10 come mid-March.

With that being said, here’s what I think my top 10 would stand at this point in the fall:

  1. Albany
  2. Duke
  3. Maryland
  4. Denver
  5. Rutgers
  6. Yale
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Penn State
  9. Syracuse
  10. Loyola

And finally, to reply to Jac’s meme:

Nope (but I hope we’re working on it!).

*Even though spring practices begin in January, lacrosse is still a #SpringSport.