Finally, we get to the Top FIVE teams in my D1 Preseason Top 20 and beyond the obvious number 1 (it was obvious to me anyway), this may just have been the hardest portion of the Poll to finalize. Lots of returning talent, very slim margins and pure unpredictability made spots 2 through 5 a total bear.
Without further delay, here’s my Top 5:
Do I really think that Rob Pannell’s return to Cornell will provide this much of a boost? Obviously, I do. He made this team so much more dynamic and dangerous on offense in the past, and now that he’s healthy, and has been granted a final chance to succeed, he’s going to take it. And the Big Red should be thrilled to have him back. There was already talent at Cornell, and now that the “spark” is back, the blaze could spread quickly.
Duke is dangerous all over the place, and seems fully stocked with talent on both ends of the field. This team is well coached, well prepared and capable of some very big things. Duke could definitely lose some games earlier on, and then get that second wind for when it comes down to things later on. With a little luck, 2013 could be a banner year for the Dukies.
#3 Notre Dame
Notre Dame is not flashy, but of all the teams that could see a bump from the new rules, I think Notre Dame could benefit the most. The new rules simply require teams to be a little more adventurous, not a lot, and if ND can tweak their game plans just a bit, they could be a dominant team in 2013. It won’t be run and gun lacrosse, and it won’t result in tons of blowouts, but it will result in wins.
The Terps are for real again, year in and year out. There is a chip on their shoulder and you can see it in how physically they play. This is a team that also returns a lot of their 2012 talent, and one that will not be satiated by a mere taste of the championship game. They’ve been building this beast for a while, and 2013 looks like a great year for Maryland to make another run at a title.
First off, I’m the kind of guy who thinks that a preseason number 1 should always be the national champion from the year before. It’s not always a super strong argument and more of an act of principle, but in the Greyhounds case, it is also very well deserved. They really looked like a team on fire at the end of last year, and even during earlier portions of the year, and they bring it all back. Well, not all of it, but most of it, and this is more than enough to make the #1 spot all theirs, at least until the games start.