Per usual, the middle and lower-end of the poll saw plenty of shuffling and movement with so many ranked matches occurring – mainly with the Big Ten and Pac-12. One team though weathered that weekly storm as they have done for a few weeks now as the Baylor Bears were one of the biggest risers in this week’s poll behind 15 consecutive set victories.
At the top, for the first time in awhile, we saw some shifting as a pair of teams in that standing lost this past week. That didn’t effect the number one team though as once again we start at the top with Penn State:
1. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 25-1 (15-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #1; Def. at Iowa (3-0), vs. Maryland (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Indiana, at Rutgers
- Once again Penn State stays untouched for the week as they’ve done all but one time. With that, they stay number one yet again following their two sweeps. They’ll have an opportunity to get a few more as they prepare for their final week that features road matches with Wisconsin and Minnesota.
2. FLORIDA GATORS
- 22-1 (14-1, SEC)
- Last Week: #4; Def. Arkansas (3-1), Missouri (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Texas A&M
- The Gators started the week with a four-set home win over Arkansas and added another four-setter by downing Missouri. Outside of Kentucky, those are two of the better wins you can get in the SEC, as a road trip to Missouri still awaits. For now, Florida moves up to two and will look to continue their winning ways in College Station for a one-match week.
3. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 22-3 (15-1, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #2; Lost at #9 Washington (1-3); Def. at Washington State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #11 USC, vs. #20 UCLA
- Stanford finally tumbled in Pac-12 play for the first time as a top-10 matchup on the road was too much to handle. They came back to win over Washington State though, as they only drop a spot. It’s a big week ahead now as they can win the Pac-12 outright by downing the team in second of the conference (USC) as the two Los Angeles schools come to town.
4. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 21-2 (13-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #5; Def. TCU (3-0), at #20 Iowa State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #13 Kansas
- The Longhorns crack the top four after sweeping TCU and earning an impressive four-set victory in Ames against Iowa State – a match they lost in 2016. Of their final three Big 12 matches, two come against the other top teams in the conference in Kansas and Baylor, starting with the Jayhawks this week.
5. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 22-4 (14-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #6; Def. Maryland (3-0), Rutgers (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Ohio State, at Maryland
- Nebraska, not Penn State, are actually the leaders for the Big Ten right now as although it would technically be a split, the Cornhuskers have the head-to-head tiebreaker. None of their final matches come against ranked foes either, as they should be sitting pretty to win out and claim that Big Ten title for the second straight season.
6. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 24-3 (13-3, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #3; Lost at (RV) Purdue (1-3); Def. at Indiana (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Northwestern, at (RV) Illinois
- Minnesota’s 11 match winning streak came to a screeching halt in West Lafayette this week as they were downed by a Purdue team who was on their ‘A’ game this week. They did respond with a sweep at Indiana, as they drop just below Nebraska – a team ahead of them in the Big Ten standings who also swept the Golden Gophers earlier this year.
7. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 22-3 (13-1, SEC)
- Last Week: #7; Def. at Alabama (3-1), at Auburn (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Georgia, vs. Ole Miss
- Kentucky went to the state of Alabama and took down the Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers as they keep pace with Florida atop the SEC standings with just one loss each. They will look to continue putting the pressure on the Gators as they are home for a pair of matches this week with just four to go in SEC play.
8. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 21-6 (11-5, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #9; Def. #2 Stanford (3-1), California (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at (RV) Oregon State, at #16 Oregon
- Washington became the first Pac-12 team to take down Stanford as that was enough to hop up to number eight following a sweep of Cal as well. A tough week lies ahead at Oregon State and at Oregon, but Washington looks to have some things figured out after working through the injury bug and have been serving tremendously.
9. BYU COUGARS
- 25-2 (14-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #8; Def. at Gonzaga (3-0), at Portland (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. San Francisco, vs. Santa Clara
- The Cougars remain in a tight race for the West Coast Conference title with San Diego as they’ve now won four straight since their loss to the Toreros. Just three matches remain for the regular season, as they will look to win out to at worst earn the conference title split.
10. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- 19-6 (12-4, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #11; Def. (RV) Illinois (3-0), Northwestern (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Michigan, vs. Indiana
- The Spartans earned a pair of sweeps for the week, including a very impressive one over a team on the cusp in Illinois. With the wins, they re-enter the top 10 which they will look to stick in as a difficult road meeting with rival Michigan sits on this week’s ledger.
11. USC TROJANS
- 20-7 (12-4, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #12; Def. #16 Utah (3-1), #17 Colorado (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at #2 Stanford, at California
- It’d be hard to have a better week than USC, who downed a pair of top-20 opponents in Utah and Colorado. Although they’ve had a few questionable losses, they continue to show up in a big way in big-time matches. A meeting at Stanford could be the crown jewel win for USC, who look to stay in second of the Pac-12.
12. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 22-5 (15-1, Big East)
- Last Week: #14; Def. Xavier (3-0), at Butler (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at Villanova, at Georgetown
- Creighton swept Xavier before getting tested by a 21 win Butler team on the road. They just squeaked by, as the win gave them at least a share of the Big East Title. Additionally, they move up in the VolleyMob Top 25 as with things on the same tier with the team below them, the tiebreaker becomes head-to-head as Creighton moves in front of Kansas.
13. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- 21-5 (10-3, Big 12)
- Last Week: #10; Def. Kansas State (3-1); Lost vs. #18 Baylor (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #4 Texas, at Texas Tech
- Kansas was without All-Big 12 outside hitter Madison Rigdon for the week, and it surely showed. The Jayhawks best hitter at passing was sorely missed as Kansas needed to overcome a set deficit to Kansas State before getting dominated by Baylor. It won’t get any easier at Texas this week, but if they can win two of their final three they should still be good to go in terms of first/second round hosting.
14. BAYLOR BEARS
- 21-5 (11-2, Big 12)
- Last Week: #18; Def. at #10 Kansas (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Kansas State, at West Virginia
- Back on October 18, Baylor was swept at home by Kansas. Since that point, they have won five consecutive matches. Not only that, but make it 15 straight set victories without a loss as they swept #10 Kansas on the road this week – albeit without Madison Rigdon. Two wins and a Kansas loss in Austin this week would clinch second in the Big 12 for Baylor as they try to accomplish that for the first time in program history.
15. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 21-4 (14-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #19; Def. at Portland (3-0), at Gonzaga (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Santa Clara, vs. San Francisco
- San Diego has won 11 straight matches now after their home loss to BYU, which they have avenged as part of that winning streak. It’s also been four consecutive sweeps with the pair this week included. Just three matches remain as San Diego looks to win out and earn at least a share of the WCC title.
16. OREGON DUCKS
- 16-8 (9-7, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #15; Def. at Arizona State (3-0); Lost at Arizona (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Washington State, vs. #8 Washington
- With the two Pac-12 bottom dwellers on the slate for the week, Oregon swept Arizona State but couldn’t avoid the upset against Arizona. The Wildcats may be one of the bottom teams in the Pac-12, but they’ve shown an affinity to knocking off top competition as they also took down USC earlier in the year so Oregon isn’t penalized much with a strong overall resume and a win on the road against the team right below them.
17. UTAH UTES
- 19-8 (10-6, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #16; Lost at #12 USC (1-3); Def. at #22 UCLA (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Arizona State, vs. Arizona
- The Utes have lost five of seven, but things are trending up as they’ve won two of four – not bad considering three of those matches are against ranked teams – and have the two Arizona schools coming to town this week. They’ll look to build up wins for the week before matches at Stanford and at Colorado to finish the year as they may need to win one of the two to secure a first/second round hosting bid.
18. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 20-7 (10-6, Big Ten)
- Last Week: RV; Def. #3 Minnesota (3-1), #14 Wisconsin (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Rutgers, at Michigan
- Back with a vengeance, Purdue returns to the VolleyMob Top 25 with style after two top-15 victories. Not only do they re-enter it, but the wins were a huge boost to their resume and they slide right in front of a team they just swept as they are also ahead of them in the Big Ten standings.
19. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 17-8 (8-8, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #14; Def. at Indiana (3-0); Lost at (RV) Purdue (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at (RV) Illinois, at Northwestern
- Wisconsin did earn a win over Indiana, but were swept at Purdue in a match where the set differential was an average of five points in each. They continue to go up and down at 8-8 in the difficult Big Ten but if they can finish strong they should still be in a good position to host in the first/second round.
20. UCLA BRUINS
- 16-9 (9-7, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #22; Def. #17 Colorado (3-0); Lost vs. #16 Utah (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #2 Stanford, at California
- UCLA got a big sweep of Colorado as they win both in the season series with the Buffaloes. They did fall to Utah, but it was in four sets and with others losing around this area they impressed enough to crack the top 20 in the VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings.
21. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- 18-6 (8-5, Big 12)
- Last Week: #20; Def. at West Virginia (3-0); Lost vs #5 Texas (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Oklahoma, at TCU
- The Cyclones earned an impressive road sweep at West Virginia but just couldn’t overcome the Texas Longhorns at home. It was a big opportunity to potentially solidify a first/second round hosting spot as now they need to win out to have a shot at it.
22. COLORADO BUFFALOES
- 19-8 (9-7, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #17; Lost at #22 UCLA (0-3), at #12 USC (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Arizona, vs. Arizona State
- The Buffaloes came into the week winners or four straight and seven of eight, but ran into a buzz-saw in Los Angeles as they were swept by UCLA and outlasted by USC in five sets. They’ve got a good chance to bounce back with the Arizona schools this week as they are another school on that first/second round hosting bubble.
23. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 24-2 (14-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #21; Def. UC Davis (3-0), UC Irvine (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at UC Riverside, at CS Fullerton
- The Mustangs clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as they secured at least a share of the Big West title but own the tiebreaker. They get two cracks at taking home the Big West championship outright this week as they will be on the road twice to do so.
24. WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS
- 24-3 (16-0, AAC)
- Last Week: #24; Def. at East Carolina (3-0), at Cincinnati (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Tulsa, at SMU
- Make it five straight sweeps for Wichita State with two more coming this week over East Carolina and Cincinnati. The Shockers continue to dominate their way through their first AAC season, but will be challenged this week with last year’s champ SMU in Dallas.
25. MISSOURI STATE BEARS
- 24-5 (16-0, MVC)
- Last Week: RV; Def. #25 Northern Iowa (3-0), Drake (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Valparaiso, at Loyola
- Missouri State handled Northern Iowa for the second time this season, with this coming in sweep fashion. That clinched at least a share of the MVC title until a day later they downed third in the conference (Drake) in straight sets to claim the Missouri Valley regular season title. They’ll finish things up this week before taking that one seed into the MVC Tournament where they can punch an automatic bid.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Northern Iowa (24-7)* (25)
Colorado State (25-3)* (23)
Western Kentucky (27-3)
Oregon State (19-9)
NC State (19-8)
Others who Dropped Out:
Note: * signifies dropped out (previous ranking)