Virginia Commonwealth University and Robert Morris University being undefeated come as no surprise here seeing both of these teams having placed in the top 4 last year.
Northeastern University is a team that competed in Junior Varsity last year, and being undefeated this semester is a huge accomplishment for them.
University of California, Santa Cruz was able to defeat all of their tough opponents - UCI, UCR, and UCSD - in historically one of the toughest regions of the CSL. Typically no team goes undefeated in this region, but UCSC was able to do it.
Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Central Florida are both solid teams that house ESEA-Intermediate and ESEA-Main players. Both of their regular seasons gave them no trouble at all. It’ll definitely be exciting to see how they stack up in the Winter Invitational.
University of Arizona maintain most of their roster from last year (which made the top 32), and maintain their success in this fall half. This school has been around in the scene since 2014, the beginning of collegiate CSGO.
University of Akron is the biggest surprise with convincing wins over Ohio State University and Ashland University, as this is their first year in collegiate CSGO. This team also competes in ESEA-Open, where they finished the regular season 14-2, and are currently 3-0 in the playoffs.
Carleton University was a dark horse last year that made it to the round of 32, falling to UC Riverside. This year they’ve had lots more success thus far, maintaining the three of the same five players from last year.
The match-up in Week 1 between University of Texas Dallas and University of Houston was considered a huge upset to me because Houston competed as a full ESEA-Main team last season, while UT Dallas doesn’t have nearly the same amount of experience under their belt. Texas A&M, UT Dallas, UT Austin, and University of Houston are the four teams that normally contend and battle it out in this division. Traditionally by the end of the semester, you’ll see that there is no clear distinct winner between them.
One of the only double overtime games in the Varsity division so far with University of California, Santa Cruz beating out University of California, Irvine. This West 2 division is home to UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Riverside, all teams that are considered powerhouse teams in collegiate CS:GO scene, and have had great placements so far. I’d recommend giving this game a watch because it shows how skilled this division can be.
Maryville University and Kansas State University went to overtime in Week 3, and they’re both top contenders in the Midwest 1 division. Kansas State has many players who have competed in ESEA-Intermediate including Pure_Penguinz, who is one of the CSL’s biggest fraggers in the previous years and also played in last year’s all-star game. Maryville is home to three ESEA-Intermediate players who currently play on the #2 ranked team in the Central division of ESEA-Intermediate: -AM-, -Cal-, and ttocSick. This game has a lot of firepower and is definitely the top match to watch in Week 3.
University of British Columbia and San Jose State University met for the very first time in the CSL despite both schools being very storied in the collegiate scene. SJSU was so dominant in the 2015-2016 collegiate year where they won almost every collegiate competition there was to win (CSL, AVGL, NCeSPA). Meanwhile, UBC has been one of the very top teams in the collegiate scene for the past 4 years, making many finals appearances and have always displayed a high level of skill. Although both teams’ rosters have changed drastically over the years, these two schools facing off for the first time is definitely a special occasion. Both of these teams are at the top of West 3 along with Simon Fraser University.
The match-up between Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University was a highly anticipated match as both teams were 4-0 coming into the match. To put to perspective, VCU placed in the top 4 last year and have continued to put more and more practice in to improve their game. Most notably competing in ESEA-Main and finishing with a 11-5 record, I’d say VCU is looking better than they ever have before. GMU, on the other hand, has revamped their roster from last year. Their biggest addition of “conman”, an ESEA-Main player, have made them an extremely dangerous team full of ESEA-Main and Intermediate players. Both teams put it all on the line and it’s definitely the match to watch in Week 5.
Kennesaw State University and Georgia Southern University had to be one of the biggest upsets of the semester. Georgia Southern was a bottom-tier team last year that only won one game the entire year before forfeiting the rest of the season. ClassicSchnei has to be one of the biggest reasons for this team’s rise as he’s posted incredible statistics in all of the team’s victories. This game was no exception for him. Although Kennesaw State didn’t have Scottiyio fielded for this match, it is still definitely a big upset.
Northeastern University and University of Connecticut squared off in the final week of the semester, as the two final undefeated teams in their group. This game was by far the most exciting game broadcasted, and it delivered in every way. Double overtime, huge clutches, and mid-round plays by every player in the game, especially Lightyyy from UConn who posted 42 kills. Northeastern ended up winning the match, but it was a rollercoaster of a match. I would highly recommend watching it.
UglyAsian (Kills, ADR, +/-, FK) - 16-14 W vs CUNY Hunter http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/983818/
^Sage (1vX) - - 16-9 W vs Brock University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/983829/
prex (Kills, ADR, +/-) - 16-5 W vs San Diego State University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/983986/
bokuMboP (FK) - 16-12 W vs University of Kentucky - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/983967/
ClassicSchnei (1vX) - 16-13 W vs Georgia Tech - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/983949/
magister- (Kills, +/-) - 16-11 W vs University of Delaware - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984605/
Panzor - (ADR) - 16-3 W vs University of Arkansas - Fayetteville - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984583/
lost- (FK) - 16-6 W vs Auburn University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984578/
Nisei - (1vX) - 8-16 L vs University of Kentucky - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984597/
magister- (Kills, ADR) - 16-11 W vs University of Maryland - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984732/
xPie (+/-) - 16-3 W vs DePaul University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984724/
ProSavage (FK) - 16-10 W vs Robert Morris University (Pittsburgh) - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984735/
Chonny (1vX) - 16-6 W vs University of Utah - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984751/
dach^g - (Kills) - 19-16 W vs San Diego State University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984868/
ZeusMeister (ADR, +/-) - 16-1 W vs Marietta College - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984833/
alloysius - (FK) - 16-0 vs University of Arkansas - Fayetteville - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984831/
Chody Walrus (1vX) - 16-7 vs Iowa State University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984850/
Prophet - (Kills, +/-) - 16-6 W vs Indiana University Bloomington - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984962/
Bubby (ADR) - 16-1 W vs Wilfrid Laurier University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984985/
Nuked (FK) - 16-3 W vs Pennsylvania State University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984972/
TreyHa (1vX) - 5-16 L vs University of Pittsburgh - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/984974/
Lightyyy - (Kills) - 19-22 L vs Northeastern University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/985101/
FenixSoars - (ADR) - 16-1 W vs Saint Petersburg College - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/985067/
G4CShooter - (+/-) - 16-1 W vs Tiffin University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/985078/
ADIL - (FK) - 19-16 W vs Kennesaw State University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/985071/
Windeez KC - (1vX) 16-2 W vs Full Sail University - http://cevo.com/event/csl/match/985065/
magister- is the leader of the University of Pittsburgh squad, the team’s first year in the CSL. magister has competed in multiple seasons of ESEA-Main, and he brings such immense skill and raw firepower to the UPitt squad. In the 5 games he has played, he has dropped 30+ kills in 4 of them. He is stepping up big for this team and leading by example.
ZeusMeister has been destroying the competition in his first year of the CSL. This should come as no surprise though as he has competed in the past two seasons of ESEA-Advanced. He brings a lot of skill and firepower to the Ashland University squad that currently sit 3-3 in Midwest 4.
ClassicSchnei is Georgia Southern University’s star player. He is fragging unbelievably for someone who doesn’t have any experience outside of the CSL, as he’s making a case to being a top player in the scene. Coming onto the team only last year, he is definitely the difference-maker and a huge reason for their success this year.
G4CShooter is one of the best awpers to come out of Ohio State University. Having played since the beginning of CSL where Ohio State made a run to the top 4 in the 2015-2016 season, it’s great to still see him competing at this level. He’s also played a couple seasons of ESEA-Main with the Ohio State University team.
Zxav is one of RIT’s best riflers. He has competed in multiple seasons of ESEA-Main, and his current team right now finished #1 in the ESEA-Main regular season. His skill and experience definitely brings tons of great things to the RIT squad.
Editor's note: This ranking may not be accurate due to Virginia Commonwealth University's recent ban.