D-I College Championships 2023: Seeding Predictions

Here's what we expect to see!

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UPDATE 5/12: USA Ultimate has changed the men’s division rankings: now, Colorado is #3 ahead of Vermont at #4, SLO at #5, and Pitt at #6. I’ve made some updates to my predictions below.

After the excitement of Regionals, we now have the full field of Nationals teams. It’s time to start thinking about what the seeding and pools might look like for the College Championships.

We are back to a normal seeding approach from USA Ultimate. The post-Regionals rankings will be heavily leaned upon, and the order of finish at Regionals “will be strongly considered in determining seeding for Nationals, but will not be binding.”

Please note that we do our best to follow USA Ultimate’s unstated guidelines for seeding: head-to-head wins matter at the margin and historic success is considered.

Let’s kick things off right away with the pools generated by my predicted seeding.

Men’s Division

North Carolina (1)Massachusetts (2)Colorado (3)Cal Poly SLO (4)
Oregon (8)Brown (7)Pittsburgh (6)Vermont (5)
UC Santa Cruz (12)Minnesota (11)Carleton (10)Texas (9)
Tufts (13)California (14)NC State (15)Washington (16)
Georgia (17)Utah State (18)Michigan (19)Cornell (20)

1. UNC — The obvious #1 seed. Two-time defending National champs. Their lone loss to UMass was swiftly avenged at Easterns.

2. UMass — Yes, UMass lost to Brown at Regionals. No, it’s not going to matter. At the end of the day, UMass’ resume is too good for them not to get the two seed. They are a strong #2 in the rankings, have a win over UNC, and have basically beaten everyone at some point.

3. Colorado — Colorado is #3 in the rankings and the South Central regional champions. They are one spot ahead of Vermont, against whom they are 0-2. However, Vermont is one spot ahead of Cal Poly SLO, against whom they are 0-1. So where do you draw the distinction? I’m going to give Colorado the nod here based on their higher ranking, winning their region, and the team’s history as a program.

4. Cal Poly SLO — 1-0 vs. Vermont. Regional champs.

5. Vermont — Crazy to think that the small ranking change pushed my prediction from Vermont in the 3 seed down to the 5 seed. It’s still possible USAU could rule that their 2-0 record vs Colorado reigns supreme, but this does feel more reasonable, given their lower finish at Regionals.

6. Pittsburgh — Next up in the rankings. They are 1-0 vs SLO, but I think that SLO will ultimately push up higher. It’s a weird grouping here with conflicting results! Pittsburgh could end up in Pool D instead.

7. Brown — This is what the rankings dictate. Historically (i.e., going back to 2019, the last time we had rankings), USAU has not done much to alter seeding due to regionals upsets. Those results are baked into the rankings. And it seems clear that Brown’s overall resume wouldn’t warrant them getting seeded much higher. They are 1-0 vs. Oregon so I expect them here, even though it creates the regional rematch with UMass.

8. Oregon — Definitely getting a two seed in a pool.

9. Texas — Texas’ ranking plummeted from #3 pre-Series to #9 after some shaky results at Regionals. That’s where I have them getting seeded. They are 1-0 vs. Carleton as well. It unfortunately creates a regional rematch with Colorado but it’s hard to seed Texas anywhere else.

10. Carleton — Pretty decisive seed for Carleton here with rankings and H2H loss to Texas.

11. Minnesota — #12 in the rankings. I’m arbitrarily moving Minnesota up past UC Santa Cruz in order to avoid a regional rematch between UCSC and Cal. I could twist some logic and say that Minnesota finished very close to winning the NC while UCSC finished third, but this is just a “it feels right” shift with the two teams so close in the rankings. I know that USAU doesn’t explicitly avoid rematches, and I already have a couple of others, but I see no reason not to make more interesting pools given the situation here with two teams with no connection to one another.

12. UC Santa Cruz — They could easily be at #11, of course. #11 in the rankings.

13. Tufts — Next team up in the rankings.

14. Cal — 2-0 vs. NC State.

15. NC State — Next team up in the rankings.

16. Washington — Rankings. I thought about swapping them with Georgia to give UGA the nod for winning their region (they are basically ranked identically), but that creates a NW regional rematch.

17. Georgia — Clear seed here.

18. Utah State — Very clear from rankings.

19. Michigan — Very clear from rankings.

20. Cornell — Very clear from rankings.

Women’s Division

North Carolina (1)Colorado (2)UBC (3)Vermont (4)
Washington (8)Stanford (7)Carleton (6)Tufts (5)
Colorado State (12)Northeastern (11)UCSB (10)Oregon (9)
Virginia (13)SUNY Binghamton (14)UT Dallas (15)Victoria (16)
UCLA (17)Georgia (18)Chicago (19)Carnegie Mellon (20)

1. UNC — Undefeated, two-time defending champs, #1 in the rankings and possibly a top-ranked PUL team as well.

2. Colorado — 1-0 vs. UBC. Made the final last year.

3. UBC — #2 in the rankings. H2H loss to Colorado. Way out in front of other teams in the rankings.

4. Vermont — NE champs. 2-0 vs. Tufts.

5. Tufts — Yep, the regional rematch is happening. Tufts is 1-0 vs. both Stanford and Carleton.

6. Carleton — 2-0 vs. Stanford.

7. Stanford — Clear #7 seed.

8. Washington — Clear #8 seed. Beat Oregon in 2/3 game at Regionals. Although they are 0-1 vs. UCSB, they are ranked 100 points ahead.

9. Oregon — 1-0 vs. UCSB.

10. UC Santa Barbara — #10 in the rankings.

11. Northeastern — Next up in the rankings. 2-0 vs. Virginia.

12. Colorado State — Although they are way behind Virginia in the rankings, they are 1-0 against them in a key game at Centex. Ultimately, it won’t matter what USAU decides to weigh more as these two teams will likely be in the same pool either way.

13. Virginia — 0-1 v. CSU but way ahead in the rankings. Will go at #12 or #13.

14. SUNY Binghamton — Next in the rankings.

15. UT Dallas — Next in the rankings.

16. Victoria — Next in the rankings. 1-0 v UCLA. I looked at bumping Victoria to another pool to avoid the Oregon/Victoria combo but there’s no logical way to do it without just creating a different regional rematch.

17. UCLA — Very clear from rankings.

18. Georgia — Very clear from rankings.

19. Chicago — Very clear from rankings.

20. Carnegie Mellon — Money Mellons!!

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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