The dust from battling has settled and the snow has fallen. After the Winter break, the Winter Invitational will start, marking the beginning of a new Collegiate Starleague format and our most popular and skilled season to date. While the players kindle the fires in their homes, rather than kindle their bloodlust, let us take a look back on the first semester with rankings and recaps.
If you are unfamiliar with the Southern Methodist University Mustangs, it is because this is their first year participating in the Collegiate Starleague. Rather than testing the waters and taking things slowly, SMU has dived right in and demonstrated dominance against every single team in the South Group. SMU lost one game across the seven series that they have played, taking their team from the registration page on the CSL website to the top of the Power Rankings in one semester. Rochester Institute of Technology, currently the Grand Champions, need to keep an eye on the massacre of the Mustangs or else RIT will soon be remembered as the former Grand Champions.
The Mix Group is the most contested group to date because of its three-way-tie for second place. University of Wisconsin - Madison reigns above the three teams that are squabbling for their scraps. UW brandishes an undisputed first place with six series wins and only a single lost game this season. Arizona State University (4 - 2) managed to take a game off of UW and earn a spot in the three-way-tie for second place with the former Grand Champions, University of British Columbia (4 - 2) and University of Iowa (4 - 2). Perhaps the Winter Invitational will offer more a challenge for UW, because their supremacy in the first semester has left them without a serious struggle for success.
Previously, University of California, Santa Cruz struggled against LAN attendees in the CSL. Last year, UCSC was eliminated by State University of New York - Stony Brook (6 - 1) in the round of 32. Stony Brook continued on to the LAN event and was defeated by the University of California, Davis’ Aggies (5 - 2). Currently, UCSC is the clear winner of the West Group, the same group that is housing the Aggies. UCSC continued carnage is their ticket back to the playoffs. If the Slugs maintain their slithery, slimy and sexy momentum, their hard work will propel them from being the eliminated in the Playoffs to being the eliminator in the Playoffs.
The Current Grand Champions, Rochester Institute of Technology has yet to yield to any team in the East Group, a.k.a. The Group of Death. Not only has RIT not lost a single series for four semesters straight, they are the reason the East group has been given its nasty nickname. They do not bow to any team in their group or in the CSL because bowing may upset the crown sitting atop RIT, who are sitting atop a throne higher than any other school in the CSL’s history. This team has been the undisputed heroes of the CSL and anyone who comes to challenge them faces the terminal velocity RIT reaches on their descent from their throne.
To the other teams competing in the Winter Invitational: do not pray for good luck against RIT over the break, pray for good luck in the generation of brackets... As far away from RIT as possible.
McMaster represented Canada in the LAN event last year. Unhappy with how their canuck comrades performed on the big stage, Carleton has taken it upon themselves to bring frosty finesse and and Canadian carnage to the LAN this year. Sitting comfortably above a tie for second place betweenUniversity of Toronto (5 - 2) and McMaster University (5 - 2), the Ravens have proven they are birds of prey and the apex predator in the North. It is a long flight across international borders to the LAN, but there are plenty of teams for Carleton to feed upon on their way there.
Proven and professional, Stony Brook attended last year’s LAN took their ownage from all throughout last year to the big screen. Sitting behind RIT, Stony Brook is the second place team in the East Group and has proven themselves the most masterful mortal team in the group. Their only loss is to RIT, but Stony Brook has proven RIT can bleed, taking a game off of them before losing 1 to 2. Stony Brook knows what it takes to achieve a top 4 performance and is not holding back anything. They have taken one game off RIT, next time it very well could be a series.
The Midwest group does not have a dangerous nickname like “The Group of Death”, but, if one were to mention “Ann Arbor’s appetizer,” it would not be strange to think they were referencing Midwest. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor has claimed a clean 7th place in the Power Rankings with their impressive 6 - 0 | 12 - 0 in the Midwest. The bloody battle, ravaged warpath in the Midwest, is just Ann Arbor’s straight path to the top of the group and the other teams that tried- and failed- to stop them. They have earned their spot in the Winter Invitational and an opportunity for their first taste of competition.
The only thing that went wrong for University of Georgia is their placement in SMU’s group. Sitting firmly in second place, the Chainfeeders have chain-fed on everyone but the Mustangs. The only thing to bring these post-secondary pwners down is the top team in the power rankings. Having the honour to play against SMU and the time to reflect during the break may be exactly what Georgia needs to bump themselves up from a second place team to the champions after we head into the semester that decides who is going to be crowned the king of the Collegiate Starleague.
Taking second place from the Aggies, the second place finalist from last year, Berkeley has earned their place in the Winter Power Rankings. If Berkley can take second place from the second place team, perhaps their match against RIT, the first place Grand Champions may yield similar results. Last year, Berkeley made it to the Playoffs, and after a performance that has humbled a Grand Finalist, they will likely be returning to the Playoffs.
A clear victory over McMaster for second place finish in the North Group has earned the University of Toronto a spot in the Power Rankings. McMaster finished in the top 4 last year and last year, Toronto was eliminated in the Round of 16 This year, Toronto is outperforming a top 4 finalist. Opposition beware, because the Winter Invitational offers a home field advantage for an avalanche of ownage coming from the teams in the Great White North.
On December 12th, the heroes that will battle in the Winter Invitational will be announced. Stay up to date with the Collegiate Starleague on Twitter and Twitch. Make sure you do not miss out on your chance to spectate the top of the class battling it out in the Winter Invitational as well as the bloodbath between in the lower seeds for the remaining playoff spots.