Wednesday, March 08, 2006

2006 Season Not Previewed

Now that I’ve finished my season previews, a reader or two have dropped me a note expressing disappointment that their school was not covered. I have two points about my selection of schools, one of which is an explanation, the other of which is a mea culpa. First, the schools I covered were those ranking in the top ten of my final 2005 spring rankings. Some judgment was required to do that ranking, but I feel pretty confident about how that turned out. There are other schools that may have deserved coverage, but I needed to limit it so I stuck with the top ten. Now comes the mea culpa. If you looked at the top ten, you’ll notice that Bucknell was not among them. UCSB was ranked but their coach told me that they won’t be racing lightweights this year so I dropped them, replacing them with Bucknell. I chose Bucknell for more or less arbitrary reasons, and therein lies the problem.

One of the benefits of actually having readers, is that they immediately call you out if you make a mistake or show questionable judgment. An MIT rower wrote wondering why the Engineers weren’t covered. If it weren’t for that pesky UCSB-Bucknell switch, I’d have the answer in the top ten. There were at least three other programs deserving of coverage by virtue of their longevity, performance, and consistency with lightweights – MIT, URI, and Cal. There are other programs, such as LMU, that take lightweights pretty seriously, but which aren’t as consistent. So the question is, “Why did I choose Bucknell?” I’m not sure I can answer that, other than to compare it to a new, small, tech stock receiving press while larger, more consistent performers receive very little. The value stocks just keep chugging along providing returns to their shareholders while the little guys bounce around sometimes turning into value stocks, other times flaming out. This is particularly true of “value stock” MIT and only a little less true of “value stock” Cal (a club program). Both of these programs consistently row lightweights (they are, in fact, lightweight programs) and do well. URI is newer to the game, but a serious contender, and actually fits the Bucknell “high-tech stock” mold. I really should have done the previews on my pre-season top ten, but I started them to fill the dead of winter and I just couldn’t do the top ten in time. So, my apologies to those schools, I certainly consider them to be top lightweight programs and expect that at least one of them will make it into my pre-season top ten.

On another subject, I hope to have information on this year's IRA weigh-in procedures posted later tonight.

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