Anne Marie Gordon of Stanford reels in the catch as Mary Turn of Ohio State bids for the disc. Photo by Paul Andris of UltiPhotos.com.
With the two premier fall tournaments wrapping to a close two weekend's ago - that's Missouri Loves Company and Classic City Classic - and other events, like the Without Limit's tournament Shootout or the Sean Ryan Tournament in SoCal, finishing up we're going to be left with a lot of time before the top college teams take the field in serious games again.
So, what do we make of the results from the fall? Do we take them at face value? Are they a good predictor of how teams will do in the spring? Or should we ignore them entirely?
Don't take the fall results at face value, that's for sure. There is far too much season, and far too many practice opportunities, for these results to be an exact predictor of a team's season. It's well-known that a lot of the top teams have already 'installed' their strategies and have already chosen their season-long rosters. But that's no reason to think a team can't improve, or get worse, between now and Memorial Day Weekend. Just because we're not taking the results of Virginia Tech (Men's) at CCC at face value though, doesn't mean we think their finals appearance happened in a vacuum - they should not be counted out in the Atlantic Coast region as a contender for the auto-bid and, if they find themselves at premier tournaments this spring, earning one of the strength bids. Same goes for Michigan (Men's) in the Great Lakes region.
Generally speaking, the results of the fall can be a pretty good predictor going forward. Odds are, if you played at Classic City Classic (Men's) you'll be playing in late May with the best of the best. It only makes sense. Partly because tournaments like these help those who perform well at them get into great tournaments come the spring - tournaments like the Florida Warm-Up, Stanford Invite, and Easterns have looked at results in the late fall to see who's in, and who's out. Once you've made it into one (or more) of the premier spring tournaments, your chances of earning a strength-bid increase because you're playing the rest of the really good teams in the country.
We can ignore the fall entirely, but it probably isn't wise. Take UConn for example 1, they might not have had the performance at Classic City Classic they wanted, but ignoring two close losses to North Carolina and then Pittsburgh - worth noting they had a lead in both at one point late in the games - would be a disrespect to UConn, UNC, and Pitt. It's not like they weren't playing to win in those games, or like individuals on each team weren't playing for roster spots, spring playing time, etc. It would take some sort of seismic event for a team to drop from that level of competition to something much, much worse come the spring.
Listen to the fall results. They may not count in the rankings come the spring. They may not give one region a strength bid, and the other disappointment. But they're meaningful in their own way.
The plan is to continue this sort of series going forward into the spring, most likely taking a break into January though - at least with the list of teams that are good but are good in no particular order.
To quickly explain the list thing: I got the idea from reading hockey writer Ryan Lambert, who often does something of this nature for both college hockey and the NHL. It works especially well I think for the college teams, because things can fluctuate so much. Also, not assigning a number to each team makes my job writing it all down a little easier - instead of nitpicking who is #3 and who is #4, I can instead focus on who's good and who's not good right now.
Now, a list of College Men's Teams that are good in no particular order! Featuring: questions marks because who knows!
- UNC Wilmington
Finally, a list of College Women's Teams that are good in no particular order!
- British Columbia
And can we ignore for a second that they live in the Metro East? Thanks. ↩