That's a great breakdown, owl. I don't push back on HC being a clear #1 but bristle a little with the "not even close" ending. As you say, we may have more overall talent than HC and I feel like the last 3 games had us playing better football overall for 1/2 or more of each game. I tip my cap to Chesney when it comes to the adjustments they've made to turn the tables in each and also tip my cap to their players who stepped in key moments of each game (the freshman blocking the punt and grabbing it for a TD when we were rolling early that helped turn things around). I think we're pretty close but HC has earned the title of definitive best team in the league, no doubt.
This season's schedule scares me with how tough our OOC is. Nebraska of all places!!! Holy crap. But then we follow it up with Monmouth, Florida Atlantic (another FBS) and then Stony Brook! We may be a VERY good team this year who starts out 0-4! Will we recover from a possible slow start? Not sure. Scary stuff for me as I remember starting the Moorhead era out against Slipper Rock and there was always an early season tune-up game or two in there. I like aggressive scheduling but seriously concerned that this may be over doing it.
In terms of the league, I feel like the needle is pointing up on HC, Fordham, Bucknell and possibly Lafayette although maybe LC is more neutral or unknown. Needle pointing down at Lehigh and Colgate and who knows at Gtown. I think that's just reiterating your rankings, though.
Last point - the biggest unknown heading into this year is what the impact of the easy transfer market will be - both for PL schools who may lose players to kids who want a more big time experience as well as having our schools possibly be the recipient of P5/FBS transfers down? It's so easy for kids to transfer that there is no way we'll be immune to the free agency like moves taking place in the rest of college football. Penn State is a good example as a school who has a clear #1 at QB and can't find a good transfer to compete for the back up job. They've whiffed on the kid from LSU who ended up at Auburn, for example. It's tough to convince a kid who got playing time at a school like LSU to come to Penn State for a chance to be the back up there but that may be a dream scenario for an FCS All American type to take the leap and enjoy a year of football at that level imo. Surprised that hasn't happened all over the place, including the PL