Introducing the Schuylkill 16

Last week, I hatched an idea for a reader poll-based ranking of the men's basketball programs in our region.

Tonight I can report that said idea has broken out of its egg and taken flight.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Schuylkill 16. Each week, a panel of voters will come together to rank a wide range of teams with ties to Philadelphia and its environs. They include the City Six schools, Penn State, Lehigh, Lafayette, Bucknell, Rutgers, Princeton, Monmouth, Rider, Delaware and Delaware State.

The voting panel is just as wide-ranging, from bloggers to podcasters to fans and even a few mainstream media types. There are a lot of them, so I won't introduce them all here, but rest assured you'll meet many of them over the course of the season.

The technical side of how the teams are ranked is that each team gets a point for the rank at which it is voted. So the team with the fewest points (i.e. 1 for the top rank and 16 for the bottom) will be ranked first.

(Yes, this is in part because I'm too lazy to assign points based on rankings, which is how the AP and every other poll in civilization works.)

Voters also have the opportunity to offer commentary with their ballots, which will be referred to here as Pithy Comments in honor (and with the consent) of the Washington Post's Atlantic 11 poll. There may also be write-in candidates from time to time.

With all that said, here are the official Schuylkill 16 Pre-Season Poll Rankings and the accompanying pithy comments.

1. Villanova, 24 points (12 first place votes)
- "No. 1 due to fantastic returning class" (Rob Falcone, DAC Pack president)

2. Temple, 43 points (1)

3. Saint Joseph's, 44 points (3)

4. Penn State, 95 points
- "If coach Ed DeChellis wants to coach for as many seasons as Joe Paterno, he'll have to stay on until at least 2045." (Zach Klitzman, The Daily Pennsylvanian)

5. La Salle, 108 points
- "In Goodridge I trust... hope... pray... beg." (Bob S.)

6. Rutgers, 117 points
- "12 losing records for the field last season. That leaves plenty of room for upward mobility." (Jeff Shafer)

7. Penn, 143 points
- "Glen Miller hopes the Quakers are "In the Mood" for 7 a.m. practices." (Zach Klitzman)

8. Rider, 145 points
- "Strong squad despite loss of Jason Thompson" (Rob Falcone)

9. Bucknell, 146 points

10. Delaware, 156 points
- "They were 7th on my ballot, but I'm expecting big things out of Delaware this year." (Rob C.)

11. Drexel, 176 points
- "Bruiser Flint is complaining that St. Joe's didn't want to play all of their home games in his team's stadium." (Zach Klitzman)

(Note to Bruiser: I will not be sitting behind the Drexel bench on Tuesday, so please don't take it out on me.)

12. Lafayette, 194 points

13. Lehigh, 207 points

14. Princeton, 219 points
- "Could Princeton be the worst team in college basketball? As a product of state education, me hope so." (Dan Levy, On the DL Podcast)

15. Delaware State, 241 points

16. Monmouth, 254 points
"Preseason polls are about as useful as a pith helmet in Buffalo." (Tim AumAn)

So there you have it. I'm no Jim O'Connell or Ralph Russo, but it's a start. We'll see where it goes from here.