The time has finally arrived for the beginning of the University League of Legends Campus Series. January 14th will mark the first step that 219 universities across the United States and Canada will take on the journey to being crowned champions of the uLoL Campus Series. The first obstacle teams will encounter is the Regional Group Stage. Each of the 219 teams have been divided up by geographical location of their university, North, South, East, West, and have been placed into individual regional groups composed of 5-6 teams. The top two teams from each individual group will advance to their respective Regional Bracket, so we are here to highlight 4 “Teams to Watch” for each region as well as highlight 1 “Group to Watch” during the Regional Group Stage.
The South Region
In past events, the South Region has been one of the weaker regions. They have appeared to be behind the curve of the collegiate scene. This year, teams are getting stronger and looking to prove that it’s not just college football that the South can domination.
University of Houston
The first university to start off the Group Stage Highlight is the University of Houston, from South 9. Houston’s team posted a very impressive 6-1 set record (12-3 overall) this preseason, notching them a 2nd place finish in their group. Led by a dynamic Top/Jungle synergy, Houston is looking to utilize carry potential from each team member to make some noise in the South.
George Mason University
The next spot goes to George Mason University of South 1. Instead of participating in preseason, the team focused on individually climbing the ranked ladder. With 4 players on their roster finishing Season 6 in Masters, and one currently in Challenger, GMU is looking to use brute force and individual talent to carry them deep in the tournament.
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University, another team from South 9, comes in as our next Team to Watch due to their previous performances. A Top 16 finish in CSL last year and a dominant 5-0 (10-1 overall) preseason record gives TTU a promising outlook this season.
Mississippi State University
The dark horse in the South this year is Mississippi State University from South 5. Despite being a new team, MSU seemed to stand their ground against teams of higher MMR during the preseason. Led by Challenger ADC, Danny “Danny Cute Body” Wang, and former semi-pro CS:GO shot caller, Andrew “NightSeeker” Miller, MSU is looking to make a Cinderella story out of their debut season.
Group to Watch: South 6
My Group to Watch from the South goes to South 6. At first glance, 4 teams have the potential to make it out of this group, setting up potential key matches that make for an exciting group stage. This group will also view a League of Legends rematch of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Clemson University and the University of Alabama.
The North Region
When thinking about the North Region in League of Legends, one must mention the run Maryville University made in last year’s Collegiate Starleague. They’re back once again, and looking to lead the charge for a group of dominant teams in the North looking to hoist a trophy come spring.
The first Team to Watch in the North is Kansas University from North 3. KU posted a flawless record in preseason, going 7-0 (14-0 overall). Excelling in communication and team play, KU looks to make a name for themselves amongst some of the more dominant, well-known teams that the North brings to the table.
Robert Morris University
The next team is very familiar with the uLoL Campus Series, Robert Morris University of North 1. RMU is known for their outstanding talent, esports program, and championship caliber teams. This season, they’re looking to surpass previous results and win it all with a powerhouse Master/Challenger composed team.
The CSL champions are back, and looking to make a repeat run in 2017. Maryville University of North 2 excels in dominating force and unique strategies to string together wins. Having yet to drop a single game within the CSL, Maryville is aiming to keep that trend up in dominating fashion.
The dark horse for the North is also in their debut season, Columbia College of North 4. Exhibiting extreme confidence, CC will be displaying a roster that can potentially stand toe to toe with the likes of the other 3 teams in this watch list. Strong support from the college and coaching staff could propel this team to great heights this season.
Group to Watch: North 5
If you’re looking for teams that aren’t as well known, but still look to have a promising season, North 5 is the group to watch. University of Chicago, Case Western Reserve University, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis all have chances of topping this group, so matches between these teams have potential to be entertaining
The West Region
2-time defending uLoL Campus Series champions, University of British Columbia, look to put the West on top for a third straight year. However, with more talent flourishing out West, we may be seeing a new representative after the Regional Bracket Stage concludes.
University of British Columbia
When highlighting the West Region, the first team to note is defending uLoL Campus Series champions, University of British Columbia of West 1. The loss of BobqinXD was only a small bump in the road for UBC. The defending champions are bringing a roster just as good, if not better, than their championship roster last year, so expect another run from this Western powerhouse.
University of California, Irvine
The University of California at Irvine from West 2 slots in as the next Team to Watch in the West region. Despite not reaching their goal in CSL last year, UCI is bringing together strong individual talent alongside a quality esports training facility to try and dethrone UBC as champions of the West. Prepare to see California begin to be well represented throughout the tournament.
Simon Fraser University
The next team is seen as the “little brother” to UBC out West. For the past two years, Simon Fraser University of West 3 has had their run cut short in the Western Finals by UBC, but this year has different perspective. A revamped roster and changes in coaching staff have SFU fans hoping to finally break the 2nd place barrier and top the West Region.
University of California, San Diego
Rounding off the Western Region group highlight is the dark horse from West 4, University of California at San Diego. Like UCI, UCSD is looking to string together young, prominent talent to create a team capable of withstanding the impact of teams like UBC and SFU. This team has shown great intelligence in analyzing gameplay, so be on the lookout for advanced and calculated playstyles.
Group to Watch: West 1
The West Region has their headline teams evenly spread out amongst the groups, so there isn’t a loaded group to keep an eye on. West 1 is my Group to Watch to keep track of how the defending champions, British Columbia, will perform in their group. Will it be smooth sailing with a new mid laner, or will there be some stumbles around trouble teams like UC Santa Barbara?
The East Region
The East has been a region consistently pushing out remarkable collegiate talent in League of Legends. This year is no different. The most competitive Region in the uLoL Campus Series is looking to field quality talent to pose a threat for the title this season.
University of Ottawa
University of Ottawa from East 6 is the first Team to Watch in the East Region. A very impressive Top 16 finish in last year’s CSL tournament and 7-0 (14-1 overall) record in the preseason proves that UO has the talent to create positive results. Confidence is key as UO looks to become known as the top Canadian team in the East.
University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo from East 5 is still riding high after an appearance at DreamHack Austin last year made them known as a Final Four competitor. Although filling in some new talent, Waterloo is not to be overlooked in the upcoming season. Expect them to make a repeat run at taking the East Bracket.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University of East 2 is back again, and hungry for another shot at collegiate fame. After falling just one series shy of a trip to DreamHack Austin last year, CMU looks to bounce back even stronger in hopes to shine this season. Don’t be too shocked if you see them atop the Eastern Region this season.
University of Toronto
The final dark horse team in the Group Stage is University of Toronto from East 1. Toronto is looking to step out the shadows created by other Canadian powerhouses in hopes of becoming the next team to beat in Canada. A Master and Challenger filled roster aims to create a spark this season out East, so be on the lookout for this new contender.
Group to Watch: East 11
East 11 has a similar storyline to North 5. Vanier College, Ryerson University, Rowan University, and George Washington University have rosters that show promise for a competitive group. Be on the lookout for some upcoming talent within this group.
Do you agree with any of the teams or groups mentioned in the article? Let us know who your teams to look out for in each region are this season on Twitter or Facebook! Group Stage ends February 11th, so stay up to date with the teams to see who advances to bracket play!