November 20, 2001

Preseason Poll Ranks Cornell No. 4

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Everybody likes preseason rankings and all the professional sports have them. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, etc. The abilities of these teams are pretty well defined, yet, has a poll ever been able to accurately predict the final standings at the end of the season? In the pros, the worst team is a fairly obvious choice in the beginning of the season because the team that ended the previous year at the bottom of the standings supposedly has a huge mountain to climb if it wants to be the best.

Despite the wide gap a losing team must jump to get to the top, the worst team at the beginning of the season may not always be the worst at the end of the season.

“Rankings don’t mean anything to me until the end of the season, and I think every coach in America will say the same thing,” head coach Marnie Dacko commented.

The uncertainty of rankings is what makes sports great, and in no other conference is there more uncertainty than in the Ivy League. With a 14 game conference schedule, a bad weekend can spell doom for any team’s quest for the title. Although the Ivy preseason poll places Cornell fourth, with Harvard, Penn, and Dartmouth garnering the first, second, and third-place spots, respectively, the Red will not be out of the running for the championship.

“It just gives us something to shoot for, so I kind of like where we are,” Dacko said of the fourth-place ranking. “We grew some attention and respect, and we certainly still have to prove our worth.”

“We like the fourth ranking because no one will be looking for us. Basically, we will step in the back door and hopefully take everything,” senior guard tri-captain Do Stevens stated.

Last year, Cornell was picked in the preseason poll to finish sixth, but ultimately finished tied for third with an 8-6 Ivy mark and only one game behind second place Harvard.

“Having the pressure on the other teams in the league to accomplish [what is expected from the rankings] is a great situation for us because it makes us the underdogs,” sophomore guard and tri-captain Karen Force said. “I am one that could care less about the rankings.”

Determining who is going to finish in the third spot versus who will be sixth when the season is over is difficult, but the Red’s finish is indicative of the fact that these rankings do nothing more than give fans a glimpse into a cracked and clouded crystal ball. While the ranking my sway fans into prognosticating the upcoming season’s outcome, it carries no weight in the Red’s mindset.

“Nothing is said and done until the season finishes,” Dacko concluded.

Archived article by Katherine Granish