Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fight in the Dog's Best in Show* - 2005 Fall WLV8 Rankings

My 2005 fall rankings based on fall results:

1 Wisconsin
2 Princeton
3 Radcliffe
4 Georgetown
7 Dayton
8 Stanford
9 Penn State
10 Ohio State

First of all, this is a fall ranking, not a spring pre-season ranking, so there is no speculation about who will do well in the spring. If a crew didn't race as a designated lightweight 8 (so that I could tell by looking at results), it's not in this ranking. That means that some schools I expect to compete this spring aren't listed, such as UCF, UCSB, and Bucknell.

Wisco and Princeton are pretty uncontroversial - they finished one-two at the HOCR and Princeton won the Chase (in Wisco's absence). To be serious about fall rowing you must race the HOCR. I know, not everyone can get an entry, but you need to try every year and once you do, race well. This means that the next four places are based on Chuck finishes. Of those four places, some controversy arises between Radcliffe and Georgetown. Radcliffe beat Gtown at HOCR but Gtown beat Radcliffe at the Chase. The Chuck is more important (but the Chase is close) and more prestigious so Radcliffe stays ahead. Dayton only raced once (that I could tell) but they beat Ohio State by over 40 seconds over 2500 meters, suggesting that they have some speed. Combine that with some credibility from last year, and they get 7th. They may be faster than URI and MIT but with only one race who knows, and the other two took up the challenge and raced in Boston. Stanford stayed on the west coast this year and mostly raced in heavyweight races, making results difficult to interpret. Nothing stood out as outstanding, however, so they fall in behind Dayton (which may have been where they would have been last year had Dayton raced IRAs). In a surprise, Penn State, which won the Head of the Occoquan and the Philly Frostbite regattas, comes in at 9, followed by Ohio State at 10, living off the credibility it earned last spring.

Several readers suggested a light four ranking and maybe I'll give that a try. We have the fall results so a fall ranking could be somewhat informed but a preseason ranking would be tough because you never really know who will race fours so you could rank a boat that never actually races.

One reader posted her/his own rankings in the comments section (although it may have been a spring preseason ranking?) so let me know your thoughts. Maybe in the spring I can also post a composite of readers' rankings.

*A reader already noted that the title is rather weak, so if you have a better one...


Anonymous said...

I'd have to disagree with at least part of your fall rankings. True, the Charles is obviously a more important race, however, i don't think that justifies ranking Radcliffe ahead of Georgetown. What's most important, i would think, would be the result the most recent time the two boats raced which, in this case, is the Chase. Unless for some reason Radcliffe did not boat their top eight at the Chase, which seems highly unlikely, Georgetown's late fall victory would lead me to believe that, at this point, they are faster than Radcliffe....

JW Burk said...

There is a good case to be made for your view, and I think the problem lies in the fact that what I consider the fall championship race, the HOCR, is not the last race. To me, it's like having one more race after IRAs or one more game after the Rose Bowl. I'd still base the season ending rankings on IRAs, not the next race, because that's the championship. In the case of the HOCR, that's the only fall race where the top crews all meet, because Wisconsin wasn't at the Chase, so it must be the ranking race. If Wisco was there, then you have an even better case. The Chase results will be more important for spring pre-season rankings. In the end, if I were a coach and my crew could only peak for one race (although that's not quite realistic here), I'd peak for the Charles, not the Chase. But I'd really want to win both.