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College Hockey:
What’s in a number? If it’s 1, be careful

It’s no surprise that Boston College is going to be the target for a lot of teams this season. It comes with the national championship trophy, and it comes with the level of success that the Eagles have reached.

Here’s what might surprise you: Being No. 1 in the preseason poll, as BC was anointed Monday in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll, has recently meant an early end to that team’s season.

Four of the previous seven No. 1 picks in the preseason poll have then missed the NCAA tournament. Boston College is part of it, picked for glory before the 2008-09 season but ending up on the outside of the NCAA field. The others: Denver in 2005-06, Wisconsin in 2006-07 and Notre Dame last season.

Of the 15 previous No. 1 picks:

• Only one has ended up as the national champion (Minnesota in 2002-03).

• Five have made it to the Frozen Four, but none since North Dakota in 2007-08.

• The average record posted by the teams was 26 wins, 11.53 losses and 3.93 ties.

Things are a little better for majority No. 1 picks (those who earned more than 50 percent of the first-place votes cast), as Boston College is this season.

Eight of the 15 preseason No. 1s have fallen into that category, and of that eight, only one missed the NCAA tournament (BC in 2008-09) and three made the Frozen Four.

This is Boston College’s fifth time as No. 1 in the preseason poll. North Dakota is next with three, followed by Denver and Minnesota with two apiece. Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin each have been the preseason No. 1 once.

Here’s the rundown on the No. 1 teams in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll and how they have fared (first-place votes in parentheses):

1997-98: North Dakota (30/30); 30-8-1, won WCHA regular season title, lost in NCAA quarterfinals

1998-99: Boston College (6/30); 27-12-4, won Hockey East playoff title, lost in NCAA semifinals

1999-2000: Boston College (26/40); 29-12-1, lost in NCAA championship game

2000-01: North Dakota (24/40); 29-8-9, won WCHA regular season title, lost in NCAA championship game

2001-02: Michigan State (33/40); 27-9-5, lost in NCAA first round

2002-03: Minnesota (22/40); 28-8-9, won WCHA playoff title, won NCAA title

2003-04: Minnesota (25/30); 27-14-3, won WCHA playoff title, lost in NCAA quarterfinals

2004-05: Michigan (17/40); 31-8-3, won CCHA regular season and playoff titles, lost in NCAA quarterfinals

2005-06: Denver (17/36); 21-15-3, missed NCAA tournament

2006-07: Wisconsin (17/40); 19-18-4, missed NCAA tournament

2007-08: North Dakota (13/29); 28-11-4, lost in NCAA semifinals

2008-09: Boston College (36/50); 18-14-5, missed NCAA tournament

2009-10: Denver (20/46); 27-10-4, won WCHA regular season title, lost in NCAA first round

2010-11: Boston College (45/50); 30-8-1, won Hockey East regular season and playoff titles, lost in NCAA first round

2011-12: Notre Dame (11/43); 19-18-3, missed NCAA tournament

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