As the guys have said it is really too early to tell who the top teams are but we all know the teams that are good based on history. History repeats itself at the 4.5 level and I expect this season will be no different.
Flight 4.5 A--AKA--"The Flight of Death". I really am not so sure this is the stronger flight in terms of depth but this flight certainly has more of the tier 1 teams.
T Bar M/Schnittker
I really think any combination of these four teams could win the flight. Feldman has the free pass to the DCC so they don't have much to play four. Branch's team looks strong as ever so I can't see them not making it to the playoffs. Royal Oaks and T Bar are more of a mystery but based on recent history I would expect them to be solid. Both will probably rely on self-rated ringers for their success, but will they have the same depth as the Oak Creek teams?
Hackberry has been historically right on the cusp of the playoffs. They have strong players but not really any standouts to compete with the big guns. The Village is drastically improved from last season but I'm not sure where the singles wins will come from, especially against the better teams. A lot of senior players, not usually a good sign when the playoffs are in July.
No offense Cary but I put you in this category with the other teams that struggle. I would put CC atop this list because they have almost a guaranteed win at 1 doubles every week and some solid singles players. Bovermann has declined as of late and Stonebridge will be lucky to have 8 4.5s on the roster. HP is a mixture of 4.0s and 4.5s but the roster is going to need some improving to compete with the big guns. I will say that based on Cary's experience as a captain that his team has the best chance to jump out of the bottom and make the QT.
Flight 4.5 B--AKA--"Wonderland". Actually their is greater depth in this flight but less superstar teams. A lot more teams that can make playoffs.
I really don't see any other way the flight can end with these teams as the top three. Brookhaven is looking really strong with the return of Sechen. High Point is still solid although lacking depth at this point. My team has retained 90% of its roster including a couple of key additions to my top 8. The key will be which team can maintain consistency throughout the regular season against the other contending teams. The last three seasons have come down to a late-season matchup between my team and Brookhaven and I expect the same to happen again.
T Bar M/Snow
Greenhill always has talented players but inconsistent lineups lead to inconsistent results. The Lakes has steadily improved over the last few seasons so I would expect them to have the best chance of cracking the top 3. Springpark is always a contender but not sure if they have enough top players to beat the top teams. T Bar has some solid veterans but most of the strong T Bar players are on the other roster. Their split could result in neither team making the playoffs.
Juhn is usually the worst of the four Oak Creek teams but they have the ability to pull an upset. DFW is historically the worst team of the league and they lost their best player so that can't be good. I think Ken is a great guy and will be a great captain but the talent just isn't there yet for his group. Would not surprise me that he, Corry, and Forrest can be successful in singles but doubles looks shaky thus far.
Overall I will put my preseason top 5 as this:
1. Oak Creek/Branch
3. Oak Creek/Feldman
5. T Bar M/Schnittker
Anybody have any thoughts or inside information to influence these predictions?