Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Preseason Information - The time is here!

The first poll of the 2012 - 2013 season is out and Michigan State came in ranked #16.

The CCHA is well represented in its final season as a league, as Michigan (#3), Miami (#9), Western Michigan (#10), Ferris State (#11), and Notre Dame (#14) all came in ranked in the Top 20. Beyond that, Ohio State, Northern Michigan, and LSSU all received votes as well.

The Top 20 in the USCHO Preseason Poll:

1. Boston College
2. Minnesota
3. Michigan
4. North Dakota
5. Union
6. Cornell
7. Mass.-Lowell
8. Denver
9. Miami
10. Western Michigan
11. Ferris State
12. Minnesota-Duluth
13. Boston University
14. Notre Dame
15. Maine
16. Michigan State
17. Harvard
18. Wisconsin
19. Air Force
20. Colorado College

So does this really matter?  In some sense, yes. As that link  discusses, the worst preseason ranked team to win a national title is #13 in the USCHO poll (#12 in the USA Today). If that pattern holds true, then your 2012 - 2013 champion will be Boston College, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Union, Cornell, Mass.-Lowell, Denver, Miami, Western Michigan, Ferris State, Minnesota-Duluth, or Boston University. In addition, only once has a preseason #1 team since 1998 won the national title, but the good news for BC fans is that team was the 2003 Minnesota Golden Gophers, and they were defending national champions. Seven of the past fifteen champions were ranked in the Top 5, so that gives a higher hope to BC, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, and Union. If BC's chances are down simply because they won last year, then Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, or Union look to be safe bets. The average preseason rank of the last 15 national champions is 6.6.

As far as runner-ups go, up until Ferris State last year, the runner-up had been ranked in both polls. Ferris was ranked in the USCHO.com poll, but they weren't in the USA Today poll. At least half were ranked in the Top 10, and the most common ranks were #1 and #8 (more good news for BC fans?).

The other Frozen Four participants generally were ranked pretty high in the preseason poll as well. 19 of the 30 semi-finalists were ranked in the Top 10, and only one team in the last 15 years made the Frozen Four without being ranked in either poll (this means not receiving a vote).

None of this should be shocking though, because you are only going to get votes now if people expect you to be good, and in the world of college hockey, it's not hard to pick the old traditional programs, then in the end, most of these programs end up back in the Frozen Four with maybe only one surprise team - sometimes two.

Preseason All-CCHA Teams:

Spartan Goaltender Will Yanakeff was named to the second team preseason all-CCHA team.  He was the only Spartan named to either team. This isn't too surprising since most people believe MSU is in rebuilding mode this year, but as we saw last season, the Spartans are going to be a tough beat each and every night. If Yanakeff continues to be a great cornerstone in goal, Michigan State will surprise some people this year.

Tune In to Spartan Hockey:

MSU will be on TV 25 times this regular season. Michigan State's first four games are on TV, including next Monday's exhibition game against Windsor. The Spartans open the year October 12th - 13th at Minnesota, and both of those games can be seen on Fox Sports North. MSU's home opener against Niagara on October 19th will be on Comcast.

In addition, all four contests against Michigan will be on TV, Michigan State's first game in South Bend will be on National TV (NBC Sports Network), both games with Ohio State, and one game with new Division 1 program Penn State will be on TV.  Michigan State will be featured on the BTN numerous times throughout the year, so there will be plenty of time for hockey fans to get their Spartan Icers on TV - who needs the NHL!

Meet the Spartans

The Spartans held their annual 'Meet the Spartans' event tonight. It was a chance for fans to meet the 2012 - 2013 team, get some autographs, and wish them luck this season. 

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