Since the blog has been clamoring for contributors I figured I would throw my two cents in for the league this season. Making predictions before season begins is probably about as accurate as the preseason NCAA polls. Very difficult to evaluate teams when rosters are often times less than half-filled so I would say these predictions, particularly with the playoff teams, are based on past history and reputation probably more than anything else.
I will start with 5.0 since that's the group I'm most knowledgeable about and there's only one flight so it's easy to evaluate.
Greenhill/Rossouw--Marc has really loaded up his team from last season. Honestly there are a few players who I don't know but not really many weaknesses. This team will certainly have the ability to compete with any team now but I wonder how available some of his players will be which is THE biggest factor in 5.0 with only three lines.
Cooper/Noel--My team is kind of in the same boat as previous seasons. Good 5.0 players but no ringers and no 5.5 players to compete with the top teams' singles players. Looking forward to it though!
Greenhill/Barnard--This is Marc's "B Team" in 5.0. A lot of quality players though that will give teams some trouble. Majority of the players look to be just dipping their toe in the 5.0 water, or dare I say increasing their chances of staying or dropping to 4.5??
T Bar/Flores--Fresh off their second place finish at Nationals Oscar has some serious recruiting challenges but once again, the three lines makes it still achievable. Biggest factor for this team will be if he can get a singles ringer which is a necessity to advance in this league.
Lakes/Wagner--Nobody on the roster (yet) that scares me but no easy wins for the opposition either. This is the team that everybody hopes for a home match against because it usually means a weaker lineup.
Village/Perkison--A lot of the big names from his roster are missing but I expect that will change. Assuming he has the players back from last season this is the frontrunner for the league. Without Blake and Loren though this could make a very competitive league.
JCC/Reiman--Michael's first attempt at a 5.0 team looks to be just a chance for his 4.5 guys to get tough matches. If he can sprinkle in another 5.5 and more 5.0s it could be a contender though.
Gleneagles/Gonzales--A lot of strong doubles players on this team as always. I don't see a playoff-caliber singles player as of yet though so that could be an obstacle for them to advance.
Playoff Predictions (format is 2 vs. 3 and 1 vs winner for sectionals):
Village vs T Bar rematch for Sectionals berth, won by the Village this time around. Not enough depth for TBar to go back to back in one day in July and win two matches.
4.5 League--my knowledge of the 4.5 league isn't like it once was but a lot of the players are still the same. Always interesting to see if any new teams can break through.
Flight A--Pretty rough group with JCC, T Bar, and Herget in one group
JCC/Reiman--To be honest this team has really come on since I've been out of 4.5 so I don't know all the players very well but I expect similar results from previous seasons with a Sectionals run as the goal.
McKinney/Rodriguez--Not seeing anyone on this roster who can do any damage against the top teams. But sometimes getting players to drive to McKinney is not so easy.
Eldorado/Browning--A mix of 4.0 and 4.5 players not looking for playoff matches. A beer-drinking team (which we need more of in this league!)
High Point/Somabut--Another mix of 4.0 and 4.5 players, some of which may want to be back to 4.0. I don't expect much here.
Brookhaven/Ware--Interesting that Pro Dave Ware has taken this team over (at least in name). A lot of players with playoff experience so they could easily play spoiler if taken too lightly.
Stonebridge/Nix--More 4.5 players than years past for a Stonebridge team but still not the strength or depth to make a run at playoffs in my opinion. Sidenote: third team from McKinney in this group which is a potential brutal travel schedule for Dallas teams.
T Bar/Fikes--A lot of doubles depth and experience as normal. Missing the younger, dominant singles players they will need to go through DCC. But it's early.
Oak Creek/Loose-Herget--Very similar to TBar. Doubles experience and skills but where are the singles players??
Royal Oaks/Charles--Rothwell is MIA and this is a very watered-down version of Royal Oaks teams from years past. Still talent on the roster though so a few additions could make all the difference.
Flight B--Gleneagles, Rossouw, Goswami, and Lakes in this group. Good thing Marc has some eggs in the FW basket.
Gleneagles/Juhn--Without the two Chris's this team is significantly weaker. I like the doubles players but still a few players short of a serious playoff run at this point.
Greenhill/Rossouw--This team has been in the crosshairs of everybody for a while. I see a ton of top-tier doubles players with playoff experience. Not sure who can step up and play singles though. Certainly the most impressive preseason roster though.
Collin County/Aud--A lot of 4.5 lifers here. Don't expect much resistance for the top teams from this group.
Brookhaven/Goswami--This roster really impresses me. A lot of 5.0 bumpdowns with some strong 4.5 players. And they actually have singles players!! If Tridib can fill in a few more players of similar level it could be very interesting!
Lakes/Way--Another very impressive roster with some returning bumpdowns. This is the most balanced team I've seen with players who can win singles (Le and Whitaker) and high-level doubles players (Pollock, Jannasch, Oberg). If those guys can play often I like their chances.
Oak Creek/Sands--A very big roster but not the necessary strength to vie for playoffs, especially in this group.
Springpark/Walters--A for-fun team with limited firepower. A good opportunity for lower guys to get some 4.5 experience though.
Northwood/McDaniel--Nice to see a 4.5 team out of Northwood again! A few players who could actually cause some problems but not enough 4.5 members for a playoff run.
T Bar/Essenburg--T Bar leftover team shouldn't provide much of a problem for the opposition. A good way for the other teams to get their guys some matches.
Flight C--Probably the weakest flight overall but sometimes those are the most interesting to see who can sneak into playoffs.
Garland/Sisk--Not a bad team but not enough top 4.5 talent thus far to get to the next level. Strong depth as usual for Sisk though.
High Point/Le--A roster full of new 4.5s so far. Not seeing where the wins come from though.
Fretz/Noel--Poorly-captained team with great guys!! Seriously pretty good depth on the team but not enough firepower for deep run.
Lakes/Wise--Second Lakes team?!?! A possible Brookhaven situation brewing. Unfortunately I think that hurts the chances for both teams but this team is certainly the weaker one.
Oak Creek/Pribadi--A team of mostly low 4.5s. Without serious additions not much of a chance to contend even in this flight.
Village/Warren--Jason takes over captainship of this team with Lynn moving to Canyon Creek. Will be interesting to see if he can get the same players/level of commitment. Stephan/Shawn are as good as it gets in 4.5 but it takes more than that to win matches. Jason can win singles but missing more than one of those guys in a match would make it very difficult.
Brookhaven/Harllee--Interesting how this team has turned younger over the years. Not seeing a number one singles player but plenty of players who can win in dubs.
Canyon Creek/Khaing--Of course this team ends up in the same group as Lynn's old Village team. Unfortunately I don't see the players on this team to compete with the old one. But can't wait to see if/who Lynn plays.
LB Houston/Moore--Actually a better team than expected. Kind of an amalgamation of several different teams on one roster. I think in this group they can get some wins.
Playoffs (assuming 1st goes to DCC automatically and 2nd goes to QT)
Flight B (extremely tough)
1st--Rossouw (only because I think he will find the singles players needed, and also based on this flight can we stop the DTA-Rossouw talk)
3rd--Noel (why not)
JCC, Rossouw, and Brookhaven advance to DCC. I will take Goswami to come out of QT.
I will take Rossouw's team to win but a lot will depend on what happens in FW too I would assume.