With most major competitions going on hiatus, the year will close with multiple Fall champions un-crowned. So we take a look at some of the schools that had the best 12 months despite a global pandemic. Top finishes, competent infrastructure and competitiveness across multiple esports. So here are the top college esports teams of 2020.
Maryville University (Town and Country, MO)
There are multiple reason as to why certain teams are on this list. Some teams have great infrastructures, others seem to pick out great young talent and others consistently overperform. Maryville do all of that. The two-time College League of Legends Champions have only improved in the 2020 year.
They clinched the CLOL chip, won the UCLA Invitational and took it to a new level at the HUE Invitational. During that tournament, hosted by Harrisburg, the Grand Finals ended up being Maryville vs Maryville B. Another testament to their dominance in the worlds biggest esport. And now two of their most promising League players, Aiden “Niles” Tidewell and Ethan “Ic0nic” Wilkinson, are starters for Golden Guardians in the LCS. If the two of them can light it up in North America’s pro division, Maryville could emerge as a hatchery for new talent.
Even with the most dominant League team in the land, Maryville hasn’t rested on their laurels. Their Overwatch team also counts itself among the top 5 programs in the game. The future looks bright for Maryville on multiple fronts.
Northwood University (Midland, MI)
Fall 2020 BELONGED to Northwood University. Their Rocket League team catapulted itself into the national conversation with wins in multiple competitions. They are the current favorites to win the College Rocket League crown, after already topping the NACE and UGC Rocket League events. However, some say that the Rocket League team has a bit of an unfair advantage as they went out and recruited three fringe pro players to be the cornerstones of their RL team.
Northwood’s Overwatch team has a similar explosion onto the esports scene, with their debut win at the HUE 2020 Invitational. Northwood also took the NACE Overwatch championship for the Fall semester. Based on their performances at multiple events, Northwood looked ready to take on powerhouse teams during the Blizzard sanctioned, Varsity Series. But Northwood’ run for the fall would come to a premature end as they dropped their semi-final match against Utah.
Harrisburg University (Harrisburg, PA)
Harrisburg is one of those schools that has to be included in nearly every “top college esports teams” lists. Other teams have won more, but very few perform on a consistent basis the way Harrisburg does at League and Overwatch. As the 2019, Overwatch champions, Harrisburg proved that they belong in the same conversation as Maryville as one of the top teams in the land.
However, the HU Storm were hit but the hosting curse, where a team never wins an event that it hosts. At HUE 2020, they got close. Both semi-finals in League of Legends at HUE were Harrisburg vs. Maryville. It didn’t end well for the home team. But even still they have a championship in this calendar year to hang their hat on.
UC – Irvine (Irvine, CA)
In many ways, UC- Irvine is the prototypical esports program. Much of what we know as standard in the space was revolutionized under the leadership of Director, Mark Deppe. In 2020, UCI took to Overwatch strong and dominated the mostly, all California based, UCLA Invitational. But their biggest forays come by way of Valorant. Not only did they win the UCLA Invitational bracket for the game, they currently are one of the top teams in the Conference 1 Valorant competition as well.
UT – Dallas (Dallas, TX)
One of the bridesmaid schools of college esports UT-Dallas has a habit of doing very well up until the later stages of a tournament. This is painfully evident with their very talented Overwatch team. During the UMG Collegiate Clash over the summer UT-Dallas hit the ground running and wiped the floor with virtually every team besides UNLV and Utah. While they would get to the final stages of each weekly group there
Their foul luck continued into the Overwatch Varsity Series where they ended up falling to UCI. Hopefully 2021 can be the year that UT-Dallas take their stellar play and put the finishing touches on it with a championship.
Akron University (Akron, OH)
The Zips for a couple of seasons were the undisputed lords of College Rocket League. Since spring of 2019 they’ve walked away with the title in CRL. That’s 3 championships and a Spring Showdown win. And going into the Fall 2020 season it looked like they would continue their run of dominance. However, they came up against Northwood University.
Akron would face Northwood on the last match of the Fall 2020 Regular Season as the only two undefeated teams. Akron would win that match but ultimately lose to Northwood in the conference playoffs. Looking to redeem themselves in the National bracket in the new year, Akron would love nothing more than to put down the Michigan upstarts.
Akron also improved their Overwatch team significantly, going deep into the Varsity Series. The Zips are slowly but surely branching out from their Carball roots and establishing a rich esports legacy.
University of Utah
University of Central Florida