Image courtesy of Riot Games

Written By: Jacob Brothers

The time has come! Starting on January 20, the College League of Legends 2020 season begins. With over 350 schools involved, it’s impossible to keep track of who’s doing what. Listed below are top top ten schools you should have on your radar.

  1. Maryville University (1st last year)
    Maryville University is the reigning champ of the 2019 CLOL season. Instead of being able to soak in that victory, MU saw five players leave in less than a month. West, ckg, Prototype, Saskio and initially Clyde left. Ckg, Saskio and Clyde were part of the championship roster.
    With Clyde coming back in January of this year, that leaves Niles and Wolfe as the other remaining members of the championship roster. Around the same time of people leaving, MU brought on an entire new wave of players. Maryville brought on HyBriDZz, Ic0nic, Kind, Julien,
    EvanRL, Value and Shady. This roster has already found pieces of success most notably through the Upsurge Premier League (UPL). The UPL is a league that involves top teams in the amateur and collegiate NA scene. In this tournament, Maryville lost in the semifinals to Frost
    Aura, a non-collegiate program.
  2. Western University (lost in the finals 3-0 last year)
    Western University knows they have a good thing going. Their situation is similar to UCI, except their circumstances stayed positive. The only issue the Mustangs faced in the offseason is losing top laner Gorica in December. Gorica was replaced by Loyal, and sub/jungle Autolock Saber was also brought onto the roster. Besides their top laner getting used to a sudden change, Western University should be looking forward to a realistically smooth season.
  3. UC Irvine (3rd last year, won the championship in 2018)
    UC Irvine is a team that keeps on chugging. They were top three last year and won the previous year, so what’s there to change? This seems to be the direction Irvine took with their team composition for the upcoming season. Unfortunately for UCI, it looks like their season won’t be as smooth as their last two. Jungler Im Avi, support Bloodwater, sub/bot Frostalicious, and head coach Coachman (James Bates) left. The team is still managed by Shoogle (Allison Lee) with the
    help of three assistant coaches. Duong pro and The Cookie are listed on the CLOL page but there’s no record of them being picked up, as well as there being no record of Captain Nuke or Multitasker leaving, so it could just be name changes. Long story short, UCI looks like a team of five players spread too thin with different management.
  4. Michigan State (7th last year)
    Michigan State looks like the team who has the greatest chance to make the leap this year. Their whole starting roster is back in addition to bringing on sub/jungle Noobsquid, who’s likely going by a different name for CLOL. Head coach Warbirds (Evan Olzem) was replaced with ArgentumSky (Akash Gupta), who moved up the ladder to take the position. These changes have already started to see improvement as they were undefeated in their group stage of the UPL and then they lost in the quarterfinals to Obsidian Dread, a non-collegiate program. Unlike most Michigan sports, this CLOL team moved around their front office while keeping the core and kept all of their starting players.
  5. Columbia College (5th in 2019, lost in the finals of 2018)
    The Cougars have been significantly more quiet than most other programs. They haven’t played in any other tournaments besides CLOL 2019. They lost bot laner EvanRL, who went over the
    Maryville. Columbia College brought on Andybendy as a replacement. There isn’t any record of BukZacH leaving, but he’s currently not on the CLOL roster and could be going by a different name.
  6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (4th last year)
    Outside of head coach Gino (Peter Shyu) being replaced with ido (Ian McCormick), University of Illinois hasn’t seen many changes. Their starting roster appears to be in tact. The only exception is jungler InwProjectONE, who could have just gone through a name change due to there being no record of his departure. If University of Illinois picked the right person to take over as head coach, this team could definitely knock on the playoff’s door.
  7. University of Waterloo (8th last year)
    The Waterloo Warriors main offseason activity was restructuring. The team lost some substitutes, but the main loss was when top laner Shawner left the team in October. Lyo moved to top lane and BTM (who renamed to easy 10) switched from coach to jungle. Platoon (Daniel Zhou) moved from bot to head coach, and bot laner In01 moved into the starting roster to replace Platoon’s old position. While the team may suffer briefly from all the position changes, the coaching change should help the players overcome that hurdle.
  8. Robert Morris University (didn’t make playoffs, got 7th in North Conference playoffs)
    RMU is the ultimate “clean slate” team coming back for this season. Outside of bot laner Merrjerry, the team is all new. Not only did RMU really need this fresh start, they also have the ultimate spin-zone this season: they’re in a different conference. Last year Robert Morris played in the North Conference and squared off against teams like Maryville University and Columbia College. Now they’re in the Midwest Conference where victory is much more obtainable. With
    this new roster, RMU has already proved progress by playing in the UPL where they made it to the round of 12 and lost to the non-collegiate program SN Sentinels.
  9. Harrisburg University (missed playoffs last year, got 3rd in East Conference

    HU Storm is the main team who missed the playoffs last year that’s getting the most buzz. One reason is most likely due to the school’s journalistic success, but they’re also a team who’s at a
    tipping point. The bad news is that HU Storm could just as easily tip for the worse. The excitement for the potential of the team comes from the pickup of four new players (top, middle, bot and jungle respectively). The unfortunate part is that the team has hardly touched their starting roster, as well as head coach Geoffrey Wang leaving. The new head coach is Xpecial (Alex Chu). Their only notable change to their starting roster is having Ran as a replacement for
    Tails, who switched over to coaching. In all of the tournaments HU Storm has played in since their changes have seen lackluster results.
  10. University of Texas at Austin (made it to play-ins, lost to Columbia College)
    This school was also a surprise candidate to be receiving significant hype. Texas barely missed the mark last year, and it looks like they’ve made the right moves for this 2020 season. The team dropped both of their supports and bot laner xRequiem. They moved Railgun to support, and picked up two top laners and two bottom laners. It looks like Longhorns were able to pinpoint what they didn’t like about the team, the support, and tackled that problem directly. Texas has now built their 11 player team in a way that’s incredibly flexible and if they learn when they should play what player, this team could definitely make it to playoffs