As of 5pm Tuesday, February 15th, 61 MCLA Division 1 teams have played games. In a purely coincidental occurrence, MCLA Division 2 also has 61 teams with games under their belt but we’ll stick with the D1 guys for this post. Considering it’s the middle of February and some NCAA teams (like the NESCAC squads) started practice today, the MCLA is pretty far along, all things considered.
Texas is off to a great start with a big 12-11 win over Florida State at the end of January, and the Longhorns also have HUGE wins over LSU and Rice. FSU followed up the loss with a pounding of Auburn 19-3 and they should be counted on to keep winning until they face Virginia Tech on March 5th. Virginia Tech opens up with Indiana on February 18th, in what will be the first game of the season for both teams, and this should be a spirited game between a consistently competitive club in the Hokies, and a program in Indiana that is undergoing big changes.
South Carolina is off to a nice start with a 7-3 win over Wake Forest, at Wake. The GameCocks followed that up with a dominant win over Wofford 18-1. SC might not face another tough game until Clemson on April 8th and could conceivably be 11-0 if they are for real. Clemson has dominated early on and taken down Tennessee, East Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kansas and they’ve won each game by 7 goals or more. Clemson’s next tough opponent looks like Florida State, and the Tigers will travel to Tallahasee on February 27th for that contest.
Central Michigan, Florida and BYU are all undefeated as well but none have really been tested. Central Michigan and BYU playing on March 21st will tell us a lot more about both of these teams, but we will know a lot about BYU at that point of the season because BYU plays Loyola Marymount, Cal, Claremont, Simon Fraser, Duluth, Colorado, San Diego, Michigan and Michigan State before they play the Chippewas. CMU plays Ferris State and Oakland in that same period. They’ll need some good practices to make up for the lack of game competition, otherwise it won’t be close.
Cal Poly is looking solid early on at 2-0, with a big one goal win over UCSB as their crowning achievement so far. Cal Poly has to be considered a darkhorse to make some serious waves in 2011. And I’m not just talking about winning their conference either. Think bigger. Duluth is also at 2-0 and should be considered a team to watch, but their wins came against weaker teams. When they play BYU on March 4th, and then Utah on the 6th, we’ll know a whole lot more. While UCSB lost to Cal Poly, they also dropped UC Davis 15-9 and eeked out a win over Cal, 11-10, in OT.
One game a lot of people are excited for is coming up soon and features Chapman and the aforementioned Cal Poly. Chapman will get CP at home on the 19th and I think a lot of people are curious to see what a Connor Martin-less Chaptown can do. The difference will be striking in my opinion and Chapman’s D will be the focal point. They’ll get points off transition and a few from set offense. Should be an interesting year for them but they have a lot of talent and good athleticism so you can’t count the Panthers out.
Central Florida is 3-0 and has beaten FIU, North Florida and South Florida in MCLA action. They played Rollins (and lost 16-14) according to laxpower, but I doubt either of these schools treated it like a real game, because in terms of playoff hopes, it isn’t. Rollins is an NCAA D2 school. Either way, it’s nice to see two teams play each other even though they play in different leagues. Tip of the hat to both squads for making that happen. On the 18th, UCF plays FSU to (so that they can play every team in FLA) and that game should be a good one as FSU is hungry for some wins after their early loss to Texas.
Oregon has been the biggest disappointment so far. They’re 0-2, and before dropping a game to Santa Clara 7-6, they got dominated by Cal and lost 10-2. With Texas, Chapman and Michigan making up 2 of their next 3 opponents, Oregon better switch it up quick, or 2011 is going to be a VERY long season. Staying in Oregon, there is definitely a little dark horse team out there and I’m not talking about Oregon State. I’m talking about Portland State. Sure, they lost to Washington 11-10 but that’s a good sign for a team that wasn’t as competitive last year, when they were usually losing games to “better” teams by 3 or more goals. It will be interesting to see if the Vikings can keep it up.
Perennial powers like Colorado, Colorado State and Michigan are still yet to play a game but all that changes in the coming weeks as the MCLA picks up more and more. We’ll keep providing the updates, all you have to do is read them!
BYU Photo courtesy Victoria Harris of All American Shots
Purdue – CMU Photo courtesy Megan Heurich of Heurich Prductions