Defending champions Syracuse Orange are the team to beat in the upcoming NCAA men's soccer season
- Division I men’s footy is arguably the NCAA sport with the most parity. The 2023 preseason poll, for instance, features a whopping 11 conferences — no Power Five domination detected.
The favorites: Leading in the poll are the defending champ Syracuse Orange, who bolstered their roster with 10 transfers this offseason. Their schedule is cutthroat, but considering they’ve already outscored their three exhibition opponents 13-0, we wouldn’t bet against ’em.
- Natty runners-up No. 2 Indiana are a soccer blue blood, so it’s easy to forget that last year’s deep tourney run came on the tails of a brutal regular season. Can their December surge carry over into 2023? Only time will tell.
The underdogs: No. 18 Wake Forest suffered a midseason flame-out last year, plummeting from No. 1 to unranked in just three weeks. But with seven crucial returning vets and a top-notch freshmen class, the Demon Deacons are primed to attack their tough early-season schedule. A few key wins, and they could surge back to the top in a blink.
- Another dark horse? The No. 8 Creighton Bluejays, whose unseeded 2022 Cinderella natty run flew them to the semis. If they can recover from losing 2022 MAC Hermann winner Duncan McGuire to the pros (where he’s crushing it, BTW), they’ll be dangerous.
What to watch: Creighton has a chance to prove themselves right away — they visit No. 7 Stanford in the season’s first Top-10 matchup at 6 p.m. ET tomorrow. And it’s not just the aforementioned PItt with a spicy intrastate rivalry to kick off the year: Indiana will take on unranked-but-typically-good Notre Dame at 8 p.m. ET. Buckle up.