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Fall 2019: Nationals power rankings

By Oliver Mauk

The regular season is over and it's time to look towards the National Championship and National Invitational coming up November 15-17. Here are the NCCGA power rankings headed into the season's culminating event, with a little about each team's season. 

1. Clemson - Last year's National Champions are at the top again, leading the NCCGA with a +11.24 average differential per round. They are the clear favorites and could be the first repeat champions since Georgia in 

2. Virginia - Some impressive tournaments this year winning both Colonial regionals by an average of 13 strokes. Virginia makes their first trip back to Nationals since last fall where they placed 9th as a team. If they play anything like they did during the regular season expect them to be in the thick of it Sunday afternoon.

3. Michigan - Winners of both Midwest regional tournaments, the Wolverines are ready to contend at this semesters National Championship. The beat both other Nationals teams from their region (GVSU and MSU) pretty easily and have the 3rd best scoring differential in the NCCGA. 

4. Florida - The perennial powerhouse makes another trip to Nationals. The Gators won both regional tournaments they played in this fall and they will look to avenge their 5th place finish at the Spring 2019 National Championship in West Lafayette, IN. 

5. Grand Canyon - They seem to be right on the cusp of returning to Spring 2018 form, where they were truly a dominant force in the NCCGA. Great coaching and a membership over 100 students make GCU a tough team to beat every single season. 

6. Providence - Another dominant semester from the Friars as they were ranked in the top ten the entire time. They will be bringing a very experienced team that has competed in several nationals in a row. Could this be the year they finally put two great rounds together?

7. Michigan State - The only negative for the Spartans this season was that they played against the Wolverines in every regional and weren't able to win any tournaments. The positives........everything else! They were one of the best scoring teams in the NCCGA, but they'll have to find a way to beat their in-state rival if they want a chance at a Championship. 

8. Wisconsin - The North region was never close this semester, as Wisconsin absolutely dominated the region. When it comes to playing other top teams however, the sample size is small Can the Badgers step up?

9. Colorado State - The Rams will be making their first trip to Nationals since Spring 2018 where they competed in St. Louis and finished 25th. This is a confident group of golfers and their ranking shows that. Should be an exciting weekend for the boys from Fort Collins.

10. Colorado - Great to see CU-Boulder back and competing as a full team after sending some individuals to the Spring 2019 National Championship. They have played some good golf this fall after splitting regional tournament victories with Colorado State.

11. Arizona State - Finally able to win a tournament this semester after toppling Grand Canyon by a few strokes in the final regional of the season. They can go very low at times, and if everyone on this team gets rolling at the same time they will be very scary contenders. 

12. Georgia - The days of Georgia being the #1 team and winning multiple Championships in a row are over, but there's still a ton of talent here and you can expect them to play in the Championship every semester until the end of time. 

13. Texas A&M - The winners of the ever elusive Texas region, A&M finally was able to best both Baylor and Texas this season. A short drive up to Nationals in Oklahoma should be a bonus for them as well, with other teams traveling longer hours and further distances to reach WinStar. 

14. Oklahoma State - The biggest question for Oklahoma State is just how important is home field advantage. Do any of these players have experience at WinStar? Will the extremely light travel help? A talented team that could easily take this small advantage and run with it. 

15. South Carolina - It's been a while for the Gamecocks, but they finally make their return to Nationals after a 2 year hiatus. They played admirably in the Southeast region and look to continue their trend of playing much better golf than the past few semesters. 

16. Notre Dame - Runner-up at last semester's Championship, The Fighting Irish again dominated the Indiana region. While they lost their best player in Andrew Stineman, a solid core has led this team back to the Championship once again. 

17. James Madison - The Dukes will be bringing six guys who have played some solid golf this fall in a pretty competitive region with two other Nationals qualifiers. These guys will try to beat their Fall 2018 finish of 7th in the National Invitational

18. Nebraska - This team just gets better and better every semester. Kort Steele had a great season and Club President Nathan Hill has done a great job organizing this team into a contender. A definite sleeper pick to take home some hardware.  

19. Virginia Tech - Another semester, another Championship appearance from the golfers out of Blacksburg. This team is experienced and confident going into this championship and will try to beat their region rivals Virginia and James Madison. 

20. Miami (OH) - Representing the great state of Ohio will be the Redhawks, who are making their fourth straight Nationals appearance. They won the very competitive Ohio Valley Region and will look to beat their impressive eighth place finish at Purdue in the Spring 2019 National Championship. 

21. Robert Morris - NCCGA President Tanner Kutek leads his team into battle after an up-and-down season. They lost a tournament to Pitt but still managed to win the region. Supporting cast members will have to help out Kutek if they want to be in the conversation on Sunday. 

22. Alabama - Just like Georgia, here's another team that even in a down year still played well enough to make the National Championship. It will take their two best rounds of the year to contend. 

23. Auburn - A nice surprise team this semester, Auburn is ranked 29th in the country as opposed to their ranking of 63rd at the end of last season. A nice improvement that they'll look to continue at Nationals. 

24. Grand Valley - What a year for Grand Valley! While they never won a tournament because of Michigan and Michigan State, they proved that they can play with the big boys. You may have never heard of this school, but these guys are ready to go. 

25. Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons will be making their first ever Nationals appearance and they could not be more excited. They played some solid golf this fall to earn them a wild card bid and they are ecstatic about making the trip to Winstar! 

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