A new season of College Dodgeball is only a few short months away. As we gear up for another year of the best sport known to man, I want to take a quick look at where each region stands when it comes to their chances to take down the Michigan Region.
We all know Michigan is the dominant state in Collegiate Dodgeball. 11 consecutive National Titles is hard to ignore. With that said, the streak must come to an end at some point. Some out of state team will eventually steal it from the Michigan Region. Let’s take a quick dive into that discussion today. Which region is most likely to achieve that feat, and what team might it be? Here are the three most likely regions in my eyes… one region at a time:
East Coast Region
If we’re talking short-term likelihood, the East is the clear choice. No region (outside of Michigan) has more potential to take home a national title over the next two or three years than the East Coast Region.
For starters, we have Towson. As far as I’m concerned, they are the new top dog out east. As we enter the 2017-18 season, I expect them to be the favorite to come out on top in their region. I ranked them #2 on my way too early preseason rankings, and I stand by that. If any team is going to take down Grand Valley State this season, it is going to be either an in-state foe, or Towson. And, oh yeah, after Towson it would be James Madison.
Yep, that’s right. The top two contenders to end the Michigan streak right now are both East Coast teams. The narrative surrounding JMU over the past two seasons has been “they’re a talented team, but they can never put it all together”. Despite all of that, JMU still is a dangerous competitor, and if they recruit well and schedule a lot of games, they will be a very, very tough opponent next year.
Beyond those two squads, we also have one of the most promising programs in the country out east: Virginia Commonwealth. VCU has built from the bottom up, and this program is hungry for success. Maybe not this year, but down the line I can see this team competing to win an NCDA Title. Oh, and I’m really optimistic about Virginia as well. Keep an eye on UVA.
Let me start by saying I view this as more of a long-term scenario. For all we know, the Michigan Region could rip off 5 more National titles before anyone else ends the streaks. Maybe 10 more… who knows! If that’s the case, then I think the most likely region to end it would be Ohio.
The East has some top level teams in the current NCDA, but in when it comes to long-term potential, Ohio has the upper hand. Having such a large region with 9 teams is the biggest advantage here. Young programs like Akron, Ohio, and Miami will continue to improve while more established teams like Ohio State, Bowling Green State, and Kent State will benefit from the increased competition. Close competition makes everyone stronger, and that is what I expect to happen in Ohio over the next half decade. These teams will develop and grow together to form a stacked region, with multiple teams on the cusp of taking home a national championship. Sure, it’s an optimistic view, but I like the potential in the Ohio Region. It’s going to take a few years to put it all together though.
Okay, this is sort of my bold call of the day. I was tempted to say the Kentucky Region simply because I like UK’s potential, but I chose the South Region instead. Right now, the south has a few promising young teams in North Georgia and Georgia Southern, and also Northwestern State (they just rejoined the NCDA, so I count them as a young program). Beyond that, we have a few new teams forming this season with Florida and Central Florida. I am very optimistic for each of those four teams.
Just as the East Coast teams all joined the league at relatively similar times, the South is doing the same. This is a huge benefit because the schools will have competitive games with teams close to them and they will all grow together. The East Coast was lucky to all develop as programs at the same time because it kept tournaments competitive, and spirits high. I predict the same will occur down south. After a few seasons we might see four of five solid programs in the South Region, just as the East put together a handful of solid programs after two or three years in the league.