ASC -- #2 Texas Lutheran (blapo21) is coming off a Sweet 16 appearance and 25 wins last season and begins this year with three players rated 700+, one of them a junior. This isn't the only elite team in the ASC this season, but it's the one the other 11 schools will be chasing.
Capital -- #17 St. Mary's (tardhesticle) is where the discussion begins and ends this season. St. Mary's is the only school sporting a rating over 500 and will likely be a 16-0 at season's end. Assuming they do that, St. Mary's could make its first NT appearance since Season 50.
Centennial -- #3 Ursinus (barjaz) hasn't lost a conference game in five seasons, which has to be approaching some sort of record in the Rupp world I would think. There's little reason to think it won't be six straight at year's end.
CUNY -- From a purely math standpoint, John Jay might be the best in the league, but the human elements are close enough that I think they can tip the scales. My call is Staten Island (scuba1253), building on a 24-win season and looking for his first NT trip in four years at the helm.
CCIW -- My call is for Martin Luther (kgilman18) to edge out Illinois Wesleyan and Northland in what should be a spirited three-school chase this season.
Coast -- Wentworth (chewchad) is young this season, but who else can you call in this league besides this juggernaut program?
Commonwealth -- #11 Susquehanna (zeuspole) will get the better of Penn St. Altoona this season as the two perennial powers are again at the head of the pack.
Empire -- Vassar (theriddler) is in reload mode, but should have enough bullets in the chamber to hold off Medaille, Utica and Union, all of whom should be tripping over each other in the race for next-best.
Freedom -- Those Mellon-heads from Carnegie Mellon will be looking to get simmed to the NT for a second-straight year. Coming off 22 wins last season and slightly better than King's or Drew, also sims.
GNE -- Guess who's back...back again...yep, it's #10 Johnson & Wales (spasticity) who has made the changeover to the fastbreak and is poised to resume his national title hunting this season. The GNE is as topheavy as they come with what I believe are five sound teams..
Heartland -- Manchester simmed its way to a 24-win season and the league title last year. I don't know about 24 wins again, but I'll say they're slightly above a pool of four other teams that could also contend.
Iowa -- #5 Buena Vista (westcoast22) continues to look good on the national scene and we'll give them the edge ahead of a powerful Simpson team and a Cornell squad that might be the toughest Sim-controlled team in Rupp this season.
Little East -- UMass, Dartmouth (pureh21) hasn't been to the NT since docwooden took them to the Final Four four seasons ago. I'm going to say they've got the edge in this league, but the next three in the rankings can all make a push to contend.
Michigan -- What a fun league this is going to be as the top three teams look insanely balanced in terms of strength. I'll call #24 Eureka (usjgt) by the thinnest of margins ahead of higher-ranked Kalamazoo and Calvin. It's the 36th season for usjgt at the helm of the program.
Midwest -- Beloit hasn't had a human owner since Season 50 has only been to the NT once in that time, but they're building off a 20-win season and look better than the other equally-simmed contenders.
Minnesota -- #13 Hamline (foofighter13) is stacked and looks ready to build on 25 wins from last season.
NESCAC -- Connecticut (rwright) hasn't made it out of the first round of the NT for five straight seasons and would love to change that. First thing's first, win the league, which they look slightly better than Tufts to do.
New Jersey -- The top five teams in the ratings for this league can all make a run at it. Montclair St (bigpapamatt) gets my call in what could be a photo finish. From a 2-25 start, matt's built the program to back-to-back 20+ win campaigns. He's looking for NT no. 1 though.
N. Atlantic -- Superclass Sim Castleton St. has nine seniors off a 27-win roster from a year ago. They should cruise in an all-Sim conference.
NCAC -- Another league with nice balance as I dug six teams deep into it. Wittenberg (darnoc29099) gets my nod in a league where the first to 12 wins might take a title.
Norhtwest -- Willamette (bullman17) still looks like the best of the bunch to me. Great depth in this league.
Ohio -- John Carroll (whit6r) is carrying two walk-ons, but will still carry this league. Nobody else begins over 500 in team rating.
ODAC -- Lynchburg (googs04) changes owners this season, but is still the team to chase. Keep an eye on Virginia Wesleyan, which is playing small ball for robbman21.
Penn -- Babson is simmed, but starts the year as the only team over 500 in the league. We'll see if that's enough.
Skyline -- It's a little odd to see US Merchant Marines (lynchmob1414) unranked to start a season. That might change as they fight Old Westbury and SUNY Maritime down the league slate.
So. Cal. -- #16 Whittier (windixies) with the nod ahead of Colorado. Eastbay may have dropped off a smidge so the normal three-team chase might be down to two-way for this season.
St. Louis -- #8 Webster (mschulte24) is going for its fourth consecutive 16-0 league season. It'll take a creative imagination not to see them pulling it off.
SUNY -- The human factor gets SUNY Cortland (cuck) my nod over an equally-evaluated US Coast Guard team. After a 24-win rookie campaign at the school, let's see what cuck does for an encore.
University -- After back-to-back years as the preseason No. 1, Millsaps gives way. Defending national champ Emory would be a good call. #4 Louisiana (discodave) looks even better. Great conference here, possibly as good if not better than the GNE up top and definitely the best conference 1-12 in Rupp this season.
Upstate -- New York U. (lotsabooze) was saved from its first Sim-coached season in 33 years. Looks like booze's first season in Rupp, but he's in two other worlds so he should be able to pilot NYU to glory this year. Besides, who can resist a coach named after copious amounts of alcohol?
USA South -- Another deep league, but the shark in the waters is #7 Shenandoah (zagman73) who will have to hold off N. Carolina Wesleyan for the chase to the top.
Wisconsin -- Wisconsin-Superior (thbro) has an interesting situation. They are the preseason #1 team in the land. And they're being run by a user name that's a complete rookie to HD. Maybe it's an alias, maybe it's the mother of all first-time grabs for a school. Wisconsin-Oshkosh will be poised to move past should the learning curve prove too steep.
Overall Afterthought -- Holy crow are there a lot of stacked teams in Rupp this season!! I'll hold off calling it the overall best year since I started the divisional threads until I can do more analysis, but there are A LOT of teams that are at/above my normal rating cutoff for consideration into the Way-Too-Early Final Four.
7/2/2013 4:46 AM (edited)