The Columbia College Cougars close out the inaugural year of the ESPN College League of Legends coaches poll as the No. 1 team in the country.
Runs to the South regional finals by Texas and North Carolina State gave both teams a big bump in the final rankings. Texas, which was No. 18 in the previous poll, took down No. 11 University of Texas-Dallas and No. 13 George Mason to make the final of that region. NC State, a fringe top-25 team for most of the season, fought past top 25 contenders in Florida International and Virginia Tech to reach the final.
In the East, Harrisburg University, the No. 4 team in the country for most of the season, tumbled after losing in the semifinals of the regional bracket to Western Ontario. Western, which took over the Storm's spot at No. 4 in the poll, will face No. 6 Waterloo in the East championship.
The biggest surprise in the regional playoffs came from the West. Cal Poly Pomona fought to a Game 5 against No. 10 Arizona State and edged its way into a title matchup against No. 3 UC Irvine. The win over a top-10 squad gave Cal Poly a boost in the final rankings as well as the team landed at No. 18 in the last poll of the year.
Michigan State, the lone unbeaten team remaining in the Big Ten, cracked the top 25 for the first time as a result of the team's spotless record in the Big Ten East group. Illinois, a top-10 team for most of the year, is the only other unbeaten squad in the conference and sits at 7-0 in the Big Ten West group.
With title games still to come in the regional leagues and tournament play still remaining in some of the traditional conferences, spots for the College League of Legends play-ins are still uncertain. The loser of the matchup between the Cougars and No. 2 Maryville in the North regional final will have to go through the gauntlet from April 1-28, as will runners-up in the other regional conferences. The top two teams from the Big Ten; Peach Belt; Mountain West; East Coast Conference; Big East; and Landmark Conference will also have a chance to make the eight-team final at the LCS Arena.
The College League of Legends championships will take place May 23-26 in Los Angeles at the home of the League of Legends Championship Series.
To look at the results of past polls, click here.
Others receiving votes: DePaul (34), Case Western (28), Texas A&M (28), Minnesota (26), Penn State (25), McMaster (19), Purdue (19), York University (17), University of Calgary (17), Boise State (16), New York Institute of Technology (12), Southern New Hampshire (10), UC San Diego (9), Rutgers (8), San Jose State (8), Utah State (7), Toronto (7), North Carolina (6), Georgia College (6), Florida International (5), UNC-Pembroke (5), South Carolina-Aiken (4), Lander University (3), New York University (3), Seton Hall (2), Young Harris College (2), Georgia Southwestern (1), Denver (1).