Defending national champion Boston College is the strong consensus for No. 1 in the 2008-09 preseason USCHO.com/CBS College Sports XXL Division I men’s poll, released Monday.
The Eagles, who defeated Notre Dame last April for the NCAA title and were the preseason favorite in Hockey East after winning the league’s tournament championship last time around, received 36 of 50 first-place votes to top the opening rankings.
Michigan, which won the CCHA regular-season and tournament championships and reached the Frozen Four before falling to the Fighting Irish, was second with five first-place votes, while Colorado College, the preseason pick in the WCHA after winning the WCHA regular-season title in 2007-08, was No. 3, picking up seven first-place votes.
Notre Dame, coming off its national runner-up status, stepped in at No. 4 in the initial rankings, followed by North Dakota, which lost to BC in the national semifinals to end 2007-08. Both the Irish and the Sioux claimed one first-place vote.
Denver, the defending WCHA tournament champion, was No. 6, trailed by New Hampshire, which won the Hockey East regular season.
Eighth was Miami, another of BC’s NCAA tournament victims after taking runner-up status in the CCHA tournament, while Boston University, which missed out on the NCAAs despite a strong second half, was No. 9. Completing the top half of the poll was Minnesota, likewise bowing out to BC in the NCAA regionals last season.
Michigan State was No. 11, while Princeton, the defending ECAC Hockey tournament champion, was 12th.
Clarkson, which won the regular season in ECAC Hockey, was next at No. 13, followed by WCHA members Wisconsin and St. Cloud State.
Northern Michigan was 16th, with Cornell next and then Minnesota State, Harvard and Vermont rounding out the rankings.