The first national ballot of the season

The College Sports Division I preseason men’s poll is out today, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that it doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot.

Really, what do we have to go on? Last season and a lot of conjecture, neither of which tends to amount to anything definitive a few weeks into the season.

Let’s look back at last year’s preseason poll. We had Boston College ranked first and Colorado College third. Neither made the NCAA tournament.

If that happens again, only one of Denver, Boston University and Michigan will make the field of 16. Sounds pretty far-fetched, right? Maybe it is, but just remember that being near the top of the poll at this point isn’t as much of an indicator of success as it is a forecast of potential. And you’ve always got to be careful when throwing the word “potential” out there.

That being said, I tried to put together as educated a guess as I could when I filled out my first ballot of the season. Here’s how it looked:

1. Denver

2. Boston University

3. Michigan

4. Notre Dame

5. Miami

6. North Dakota

7. Yale

8. UMass-Lowell

9. New Hampshire

10. Minnesota

11. Vermont

12. Wisconsin

13. Cornell

14. Princeton

15. Boston College

16. Ohio State

17. St. Cloud State

18. Harvard

19. Northeastern

20. Air Force

If you’re counting, that’s six teams from Hockey East, five from the WCHA, four each from the CCHA and the ECAC and one from Atlantic Hockey. That’s the same breakdown as the top 20 in the RPI at selection time last season. That’s not a coincidence.

The actual poll shows six teams from Hockey East, six from the WCHA (I didn’t think Minnesota-Duluth would get as much attention after losing so much from last season), four from the CCHA, three from the ECAC and one from Atlantic Hockey.