I know we’ve been pretty quiet over here at IB, but that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention. Also, I’m now the head coach at UCSC while Neeley is more involved with his club team, so a lot of our ultimate thinking is not making onto the internet. We’re still trying to use this space for our thoughts on the game, so I thought I’d throw out a ranking set and some observations about the state of college ultimate. As it’s still early, we’re ranking teams based on tiers instead of a Top 20. Lets revisit the definitions of the tiers from last year
“Rather than pretend that we know the 11th best team from the 12th, we sorted our loose projection of the Top 20* into three tiers.
Tier One: These are the teams that we know are good. It would be surprising not to see them in the Quarterfinals, and they are high on the list of championship contenders.
Tier Two: Maybe they are a traditional power that is rebuilding. Maybe they’re on the rise. Either way, these teams are those that don’t quite stick out as dominant, but very well could be by May.
Tier Three: Those in tier three either barely missed in  or are now missing most of the players that made it happen. Look for them to give opponents trouble throughout the year, and watch out if they get hot en route to Boulder.
Maybe it’s a cop-out. After all, people like lists. But really, we see it as a start. As the season progresses, we’ll know more about where teams around the country stand. Until then, take a look.”
With those rules in mind, here are our first set of rankings!
Carleton, Colorado, Pitt, Wisconsin, Oregon
California, Central Florida, Luther, Minnesota, Tufts, Whitman
Cal-Poly SLO, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, UCSB, UNC, UNCW, Washington
Tier 1 is full of teams returning lots of talent after making the quarterfinals or better last year. Nationals experience counts for a lot, and the extra 3 weeks of practicing and playing at your peak between regionals and nationals counts for even more. I expect these squads to ride their collective experience to success during the regular season and into the series.
Tier 2 is full of ‘Our Year’ type teams. Most of these teams have nationals experience within the last two seasons, and they all are returning lots of talent from last season. While there are plenty of ‘Our Year’ teams around the nation, it’s the top level experience that separates these squads (for Central Florida it’s the top quality results).
Tier 3 is a big mixup of different types of teams. There are some of those ‘Our Year’ squads but without the experience, some former powerhouses that are down from years past, and two teams I want to mention specifically, UNCW and Washington. These teams were both overlooked in the fall, and their quality was downplayed before recent tournament results. What these two teams have in common aside from solid showings at early season tournaments is not only quality coaching, but continuity in their coaching staff. I think that we as fans/commentators play up rosters full of returning players (as well we should) but underestimate the importance of continuity in coaching.
Those are my thoughts as of now, what do you all think?
P.S. I know there are 21 teams, who should get left out?