Will these be the teams making a run in Spring 2015?
October 29, 2014 by Charlie Eisenhood in Rankings with 33 comments
We are excited to present the first installment of this year’s preseason College Power Rankings in the Men’s Division! These rankings are based holistically on a number of factors: last year’s performance, roster changes, conversations with coaches, the “eye test”, and assorted other factors.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment: #15 – #6.
25. Northwestern (2014: 3rd in Great Lakes)
The surprise bid earner from 2014 has lost some fifth year firepower but has a quality program in place with some good athletes like Alex Champe. They played a great game v. Michigan at Steel City this weekend and will be very competitive in the region yet again. They finished last season with two heartbreaking losses to Michigan and EMU in the Great Lakes final and game-to-go, respectively.
24. Cal (2014: T-3rd in Southwest)
All that separated Cal from a huge upset win over UC San Diego and a berth in the 2014 Southwest Regional Final was one bad pass. Although the team loses Chuck Cao (Mischief), they have an established base of players ready to step into a bit of a void in the Southwest with UCSD and UC Davis both graduating big senior classes.
23. UBC (2014: 4th in Northwest)
There’s a rising tide at the University of British Columbia, where a strong talent pipeline is going to gradually make this west coast Canadian team increasingly relevant. The team had four players on the gold medalist Canadian Juniors team from this summer. Though they lose two strong captains in Keane Knapp and Kevin Greer, the team has a very high ceiling and will be motivated after last year’s letdown loss to Washington in the Northwest Regional semifinal.
22. Arizona State (2014: T-3rd in Southwest)
Arizona State has been quietly building a strong program in the Southwest for a few years now. They made a little noise in 2013, but were overshadowed by a very good Arizona team. They again had some flashes of strength last year, but bowed out to a very good UC Davis team at Regionals. This year could be their best chance to get to Nationals. They’ll miss Travis Dunn, but they have a lot of quality upperclassmen and a deep roster.
21. Luther (2014: 4th in North Central)
Last year, Luther graduated…nobody. They won’t have that luxury this year, but the consistently good team out of Iowa should still be in the mix in the North Central. They’ll have to watch their heels though, because teams like Minnesota-Duluth and Iowa State are right behind them.
20. Rutgers (2014: T-17th at Nationals, Metro East Champion)
The first team to take out Cornell at Regionals since the regional redraw, Rutgers looks poised for another strong year in the Metro East. While it’s easy to look at their winless Nationals performance and scoff, they played tight games with Carleton and UNC Wilmington in their first Nationals ever. With another year of coaching from Ari Weitzman and strong returners, Rutgers will have front-runner status in the Region.
19. Eastern Michigan (2014: T-17th at Nationals, 2nd Place in Great Lakes)
When you bring back two first team All-Region players and a crop of very experienced role players, you’re going to be in good shape. Johnny Bansfield and James Highsmith look to take EMU back to Nationals in their final season. They may have to grab a second bid to get there, because Michigan is the real deal this year.
18. Central Florida (2014: T-9th at Nationals, 3rd Place in Southeast)
Expectations will be lower for a UCF team that was in the National final in 2013 after graduating much of the talent that got them there. This year, the team loses Mike Ogren and John Best, but does return Jeremy Langdon and Brawley Adams, two top quality players, along with a handful of other key starters. Sophomore Michael Fairley was a big standout last year and will only be better after a summer playing with Florida United.
17. Tufts (2014: T-9th at Nationals, 2nd Place in New England)
Tufts is always competitive with their fundamental-focused and possession-heavy style, and they layer on top of that system a sprinkling of really top talent in Tyler Chan and Carter Thallon. They may come into the season ranked behind some of their Regional rivals, but don’t be surprised to see them rise in the rankings. The Northeast could have a banner year.
16. Texas (2014: T-5th at Nationals, 2nd Place in South Central)
The losses of Will Driscoll, Mitchell Bennett, and Chris Brooks mark the end of an era for Texas ultimate, where the richness of talent was higher than its been in years. The team has now graduated 22 players over the past two seasons. There are still going to be bright spots — Chase Cunningham is back — but they will be an underdog and unlikely to crack the top 10 this season.
#15-#6 will be revealed tomorrow; #5-#1 will be revealed on Friday.