It seems the coaches simply put the teams in the order they finished last season.
If Wood is healthy and back to form - our Sycamores can legitimately challenge for a 2nd-5th finish. She has the ability to beat anyone - definitely in our league, and most teams in the country as evidenced by wins in her career over nationally ranked teams like Georgia Tech, North Carolina State. Anyway, if she is back to form after her injury that kept her out a year ago, she gives ISU a chance every time she throws.
Now, that still won't score the Sycamores any runs. Simpson was terrific at the plate last season, but she'll need some help if ISU is going to be a consistent offensive threat. Armour, Childress, and Markowski will have to increase their numbers from last year - and they each had decent offensive years. Boyer, Myers, and Fakes have all shown flashes of being solid offensive players, but need to be more consistent. From what I saw in the fall, I would expect some contributions from Wittenauer, Garringer, and Robinson of the freshmen group - and maybe Doyle and Marcum. Overall, they have a chance to be very good.
Defense will have to be better than it was a year ago, but again if Wood is healthy there aren't near as many balls in play that have to be fielded.
In conference play, it is a 27 game schedule playing 3 games against each opponent. If Wood throws two of those, ISU could easily win 70% of those starts which puts them at 13-5 with 9 other contests to go. McCurdy is better than almost every team's #2 pitcher in the league, but some teams might "throw off" with Wood in game 1 to put their #1 against McCurdy - which makes it hard to figure out what will happen.
Obviously, I think they have a chance to do very well - but lots of variables could come into play (weather, injuries, etc.). In terms of talent level, this should be the best Sycamore softball team in at least 20 years that I've seen. Coldren has done a nice job in getting this program respectable from where it was when she arrived. There are actually spectators at home games - kids from the community, high school players from the Wabash Valley, Indy area, Casey, etc. that come to games. If you went to a game 8 years ago, there were only parents. With that being said, they haven't quite been able to completely turn the corner. The last three seasons they have finished 6th, 8th, and 8th - making the first three year stretch where they didn't finish either last or next to last since the '91, '92, and '93 seasons. I'm not sure how much longer she will be given to turn that corner if they don't do it this year. But again, she started with one of the worst D1 programs in the country when she arrived and is playing in a league that has sent 3 teams to regionals every year since the field went to 64 teams except for last season when only 2 teams advanced. She has a tough job.