Not only did they take home the grand finals of the CSL CS:GO 2017 playoffs, they also are one of the fiercest rosters we’ve seen play college Counter-Strike to date. Baruch’s arsenal this year consisted of both semi-professional veterans and deadly new bloods, whose powers were severely underestimated. Their perfect playoff record along with their confidence and performance on stage has certainly proved to all their opponents that, this year, they were number one.
2. University of British Columbia
Apparently, the only thing UBC does not do well is fly under the radar. This CS:GO squad has been in the spotlight the entire season because of their confidence and ability – not to mention a nearly spotless preseason record, only losing one game. Although this Canadian team was not able to leave the grand finals with a gold medal, they managed to leave us fans of collegiate CS:GO with a plethora of amazing plays to remember them by. UBC sits right near the top of this list not just because of their ability in-game, but because this season would not have been anywhere near as electric without them.
3. University of California, Irvine
I would like to give thanks for such an amazing season, one that now has come to a close. Behind all of the clutches, headshots, and nail-biting plays that UCI provided us with this season, I will remember them best for their personalities outside of the game; this group of gamers is an absolute hoot. UCI earned their spot on this list with their excellent performance which led them to Toronto, Ontario to play LAN. However, UCI earned their spot in my heart as a hilarious, talented group of individuals who made the already easy task of cheering for esports even easier. I am thankful that entertaining teams like UCI are around to make esports even better than it already is.
4. University of California, Los Angeles
One of our semi-finalists this year, UCLA is an oldie CSL team that has surpassed its playoffs run in 2016. They beat SJSU in the first round of 2017, who were last year’s champions, and they had to beat this year’s champions too in their semi-final matchup. Alas, they fall 2-0 and did not manage to make things interesting, barely achieving any rounds against Baruch. Worthy of their top 4 placement.
5. Robert Morris University
Robert Morris University was the only team able to take a map off of UBC during the online playoffs. RMU is also the team that eliminated the Senpai Squad, the slayers of the veritable force to be reckoned with: Université de Montréal. RMU went undefeated during the Fall preseason and only had a single game taken off them during the Spring. Although RMU was unable to take home the biggest accomplishment of them all: the grand prize, their road to the playoffs was not an easy one and their performance proved that this team is more than capable. I will not be surprised if RMU returns with a vengeance next season and we see them in the playoffs once again.
The UCSC Slugs had the misfortune of running into UBC early in the round of 16s and they put up a decent enough fight. Sadly, it made the team look weaker than they really were. A team that was really excelling in the regular season, UCSC’s match record was up there among the top teams and they looked like they were going far this year. It really makes you wonder what could have been if they did not have to face a finalist team so early on.
Another roster with a great match record that was taken down early by a finalist team. RIT fell to champions Baruch College, after having beating them in a single map before in the regular season. Admittedly, they did not look their best when playing their last best of 3 and the possibility of nerves or lack of experience comes into question.
8. University of Houston
Houston has looked up and down all year. On the one hand they claimed maps off some good teams, but when facing the top contenders they did not look better than the foes they had taken down. Their playoffs run this year looked like a struggle even against lesser known adversaries, and it ended when they battled UCLA and lost 2-1. They were solid enough to make eight but believe me, they were cutting it close.
9. Waterloo University
Waterloo had a long road from the preseason to make it into playoffs, sadly, they finished just shy of being able to drive the short road from Waterloo, Ontario to the grand finals. However, Waterloo has earned a spot on this list for a reason. After a shaky Fall preformance, Waterloo stepped it up and demolished their competition during the Spring, finishing 7-0. Competing in the Collegiate Star League is a marathon, not a sprint, and Waterloo demonstrated their ability to improve, learn, and adapt in order to stay sharp and competitive. Waterloo’s players have demonstrated they know what it takes to compete and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more of them in the future.
10. Senpai Squad
The Senpai Squad earned their spot on this list because of their ability to secure the last playoff spot in their group and then go on to take out a top team of the season: Université de Montréal. Although this underdog story came to a close not long after their triumph, the Senpai Squad made history when they took down Université de Montréal 2 to 0 following their almost missed opportunity to even make it to playoffs.