We once again have a unanimous number one team as UCLA continues to drop in the polls after being the unanimous number one just a few weeks ago. LBSU has certainly earned their top spot by beating highly ranked foes BYU and Stanford and by sweeping many of their other matches. BYU has rebounded from their loss to LBSU with 8 consecutive sweeps and Stanford rebounded with 5 straight wins against ranked opponents, including two victories against No.4 Hawaii and one against No.3 UCLA. The other two teams that some serious movement up the polls were the MIVA’s Ohio State and the EIVA’s Penn State. All 5 of these teams have recovered from difficult stretches to find their way to the top. This can be seen in the VMRI as well when you run it over the past four weeks.
The 5 best teams over the past four weeks have been the 5 teams that have made significant moves up the polls. Since that time Ohio State and Penn State both saw time ranked 9th, Stanford was as low as 6th – 63 points lower than where they are now (roughly 3 points per voter). BYU and LBSU have never left the top 3, however they have had to have some impressive victories to move up over the past few weeks.
After almost two months of play we can see some natural breaks starting to form. LBSU, BYU, Stanford, and UCLA have a claim on the top spots as they hold a 47 point advantage over 5th place Ohio State in the AVCA Coaches Poll. OSU, Penn State, and Hawaii make up the next group “The On-lookers” as they have 42 points more than 8th place Santa Barbara. UCSB, Ball State, Pepperdine, and Loyola make up the “Something to Prove” club as they have all played well but have lots of work to do to catch the leaders. 41 points behind them we find CSUN, UCI, Lewis, and Cal Baptist who round out the top-15. We could argue for a long time as to whether these teams deserve to have a “ranking”, however, needless to say they are going to need a miracle in order to find themselves in the championship bracket at the end of the year.
Loyola and Lewis square off this week as Lewis tries to break into the top-10, UCSB can certainly prove themselves this week as they will face Stanford, and LBSU has a test playing at Hawaii twice. Tune in next week to see how these matchups affected the polls.