I'm trying to think of the Hodge in terms of who can actually win it. So here are some thoughts from a guy who's probably overthinking it.
- A lot of favorites this year, and three of them are going for their third NCAA titles in their career giving them a leg up. Mr. Dean has been dominant in what is widely considered the most loaded weight class of the season. Himself, the guy he beat in the 2016 finals, the Big Ten champ, and three of the 174 semi-finalists all helped load out a ridiculous field. Yet still, Gabe Dean looks poised to win his third title despite the best #2 ranked guy being in his class.
- IMar moved up a weight and there are a lot of legit challengers to make it a tough transition. Instead, he still has just the one loss in his career (to the leviathan known as Nolf) and poised to win his third title in as many seasons.
- While the "Whether or not Olympic medals are a factor" argument will undoubtedly ramp up in the coming days, Mr Cox is on the path to win his third title. He has a knack for looking his best in big events making not voting for him with all these credentials pretty difficult if the two previous listed gentlemen don't perform as expected.
- Of course, the phenom and Olympic gold medalist appears to be on the way to winning his second title. Many people will say he is the best and most dominant wrestler in college wrestling, and it's a tough argument to go against. Being a part-time collegian, something you can easily do in Columbus, voters may not think of him as a better candidate for this award and vote for the previous listed fellas. I don't know of many Heisman winners who played in just four games, but I won't be surprised if Snyder received the Hodge trophy in St Louis.
Jason Nolf has dominated, Zain Retherford can win his second ever since Stieber graduated, Bo Nickal & Connor Medbery could do the unthinkable, Nathan Tomasello could take out a tough weight, and Tommy Gilman could cap off an undefeated season. All of this is ridiculously impressive, but I truly don't think the voters will choose any of these guys in front of the four listed above.
It's still a really fun argument to have and will be thoughout the next three weeks. My bet is still on Gabe Dean though.