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2016-17 NCAA Wrestling season preview

Here is the info you need to prepare for another cycle of college wrestling.

2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships
The year’s college wrestling season is going to be FIRE

November has arrived, heralding the start of the 2016-17 Division I NCAA wrestling season. For your pleasure, we’ve compiled below the necessary info to follow all the heart pumping, chest thumping, arm-barring, and half-nelsoning action of the world’s oldest and greatest sport.

Now some of you may be asking, “But why follow this year’s college wrestling season when all I really care about is Mixed Martial Arts fighting?” Well, a few reasons spring to mind:

  • A) You will become an expert on wrestling skills, which so many professional MMA fighters lack. For instance, the sprawl technique; often practiced quite shamefully in the octagon. You will be able to notice this and point it out to others, impressing them with your knowledge and perspicacity.
  • 2) You can witness the stars of tomorrow, today. Daniel Cormier, Brock Lesnar, Chris Weidman, Cain Velasquez, Johny Hendricks, the legend Randy Couture, and many, many others, all honed the craft as D1 NCAA wrestlers. As the only scholarship sponsored combat sport, college wrestling is your best opportunity to catch a rising MMA star.
  • D) College wrestling is rad and you will dig it. For serious.

Now that you’re sold on the product, here’s is how to consume it:


This incredible map let’s you locate the college wrestling program nearest to you, including NCAA divisions 1, 2 & 3, NAIA, JuCo’s and more. It’s really quite an excellent map.

See? Nice. So use it, find a program, look up their schedule on the Google, and go check out a live match. Admission will be either cheap or free, and it is by far the raddest of all the ways to enjoy the sport of wrestling.


USA Wrestling curates this master list of every wrestling contest broadcast on television or streamed over the series of tubes we call the Cyberweb.

The slate of televised wrestling matches is rather skimpy and only carried by the deepest of cable channels. However, a cable subscription with ESPN will also give you access to ESPN3, which streams most of the ACC and MAC dual meets.

Likewise a cable package including BTN will allow you to stream the televised Big Ten Conference matches (the only Power5 conference where every school sponsors a wrestling team). A paid monthly subscription to BTN2go Plus yields quite a few more, and is a solid value if canceled at the end of the season.

Another good streaming deal is a subscription to FloWrestling, which can also be purchased month-to-month. Flo does an outstanding job broadcasting non-traditional powers, such as the Mighty Edinboro Scots, whose other sports compete in DII, but whose DI wrestling program puts on a show on par with any of the big names.

(Full disclosure: I am a contributor for FloWrestling, however, no shekels are thrown my way on account of new subscriptions, though to be honest, I wouldn't be too modest to refuse).

Another quality subscription service (that also don’t pay me nuthin) is TrackWrestling. A sub with Track will get you access to the unofficial kick off to the season, the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic, happening this Saturday, in the recently devastated but still thriving city of Cleveland, Ohio. UPDATE: Preview and Predictions


Find that out by checking out the rankings, for both teams and individuals, provided by multiple reputable services. Though a meaningful match has yet to be wrestled, the polls, rankings and computers are invaluable for preseason perusals.

The first coaches’ team ranking poll of the season can be found right here, hot off the presses.

Individual rankings are provided by (at least) the following trustworthy outlets:


Good news! There’s all sorts of other previews and prognostication available on the web, all for free! Gratis even!

Probably my favoritest website, D1CW, created and maintained by the indefatigable Earl Smith, wrote a superb set of previews conference previews, AND an in depth, analytical look at all the D1 coaches entering their first season on the job, which can found here.

On this webpage, the learned experts of The Open Mat make their predictions for end of the year results. And here, the indomitable Christian “Venom” Pyles, of FloWrestling, offers a forecast from his crystal ball.

And finally, in the category of shameless plugs, I’ve been contributing to this ongoing series of articles on Flo, where Dan “Nomad” Lobdell analyzes which schools have been the best at each weight class over the last 15 years.

I’m sure there are other great previews, perhaps school specific, that I have carelessly omitted. Please do share them in the comments, and enjoy the season!


Part 1 of a series of Pac-12 previews by the inimitable @WrestlingQuoter!

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