As we get ready to begin conference action this week, our final week of non-conference play provided several big-time upsets creating chaos in the middle and toward the end of the Top 25. In total nine teams in the Top 25 – all ranked between seven and 25 – lost at least one match. Beyond that, the best of the best remained strong at the top.
This week more than ever, with certain teams defeating opponents who have beaten someone else who beat the original team (essentially a triangle), resume becomes of added importance along with the eye test. As opposed to just simply slotting teams up and down based on performance, we utilize that criteria each and every week as we saw plenty of movement this week.
1. FLORIDA GATORS
- 7-0 (0-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #1; Def. Florida A&M (3-0), Northern Kentucky (3-0), Lipscomb (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #22 Florida State, at Arkansas
- The Gators got their schedule back on track after missing a week due to Hurricane Irma (one that we didn’t penalize them for). This next week will be a nice test for them as they get rival Florida State followed by a road trip against a 10-2 Arkansas team.
2. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 10-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #2; Def. Yale (3-0), Wake Forest (3-0), Ohio (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #14 Nebraska, vs. Iowa
- Penn State played more of a down schedule in week four as they now get ready for the Big Ten schedule when there is no down week. That’s apparent right off the bat as they face last year’s conference champion Nebraska and look to make a statement.
3. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 11-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #3; Def. Oregon State (3-1), at Boise State (3-2), Idaho State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #24 Michigan, vs. RV Michigan State
- Minnesota had their undefeated record tested a few times – once by an upstart Oregon State squad while almost faltering on the road to Boise State. They came out with victories though, as they look to keep rolling into Big Ten play with the two Michigan schools at home.
4. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 9-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #4; Def. Marquette (3-1), Southern Mississippi (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. RV Michigan State, vs. #24 Michigan
- For the first time all season, Wisconsin dropped a set as Marquette took the opening game. The Badgers quickly responded, winning the second 25-13 and eventually the match. They get the same schedule for the week as Minnesota, just flipped around in order of which Michigan school they play first.
5. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 7-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #5; Def. Pacific (3-0), at Saint Mary’s (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. California, at #20 Colorado
- Still, Stanford’s lone two losses have come to Penn State as they continued to flex their muscle vs. weaker competition by sweeping two west coast mid-majors. This week’s slate starts with rival Cal and finishes up with a Sunday road trip to a Colorado team that made a big jump this week with a win at Colorado State.
6. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 7-2 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #6; Def. at Texas A&M (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at UTSA, at West Virginia
- The Longhorns played just one match this week and dominated the Aggies in College Station. They have one more non-conference trip before making the long trip to Morgantown where they face an upstart West Virginia team that gave Texas a scare last season.
7. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 10-1 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #9; Def. Oklahoma (3-0), at Maryland (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at RV Washington State, at Arizona State
- The Huskies continue to roll since their home loss to Creighton as they’ve now won eight in a row. That includes a road match this past week at Maryland in straight sets – an impressive one considering what Maryland did to USC. They’ll be tested on the road early in Pac-12 play, starting with Washington State.
8. OREGON DUCKS
- 7-1 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #10; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. Oregon State, at #15 UCLA
- After a strong week three that featured wins over Wichita State and Cal Poly, Oregon had a bye week in week four. That should help them prepare for rival Oregon Start as well as a big road test against UCLA coming within three days of each other.
9. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- 11-2 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #8; Def. San Jose State (3-1), Idaho (3-1); Lost at Santa Clara (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Kansas State
- Kansas earned a good victory over a MWC contender in San Jose State, but faltered at Santa Clara. Due to it being in five sets and starting at 9 pm Kansas’ time as well as several others in this area of the poll losing, KU drop to just nine. Dominant wins over Kentucky and Purdue help keep them here, but they’ll need to avoid an upset to Kansas State, a team that upset Northern Iowa, this week to avoid a further fall.
10. BYU COUGARS
- 11-1 (0-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #17; Def. at #15 Utah (3-2), Weber State (3-0), Utah Valley (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Santa Clara, at San Francisco
- After their first loss of the season came a week prior to Baylor in five sets, BYU responded nicely with a road win over rival Utah, followed by two more victories. Five teams lost that were ranked between seven and 15 last week, leading to a big boost for the Cougars who now have a resume featuring wins at Utah, at Hawaii, vs. Ohio State and a sweep against a Boise State team that went to five with Minnesota.
11. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 9-2 (0-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #13; Def. Louisville (3-0), Kennesaw State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Missouri, vs. LSU
- Kentucky swept rival Louisville before defeating an underrated Kennesaw State team that swept Georgia earlier in the week. Their biggest boon though was Northern Iowa’s two ranked wins, as Kentucky’s resume wins of Utah, USC and Northern Iowa look even better now. They’ll be tested this week with a 9-2 LSU team and a road meeting with last year’s SEC champion Missouri who has struggled in 2017.
12. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 10-1 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #16; Def. Miami (OH) (3-0), Loyola (IL.) (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Northwestern, vs. Ohio State
- Purdue took care of business with two sweeps this past week over teams that should be in the top-half and compete in their respected conferences. They haven’t played an overly difficult schedule, but do own a four-set win over Creighton with their only loss coming on the road to Kansas.
13. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 7-4 (0-0, Big East)
- Last Week: #7; Lost at RV Wichita State (1-3), vs. #23 Iowa State (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Georgetown, vs. Villanova
- The BlueJays drop, but not overwhelmingly so even with two losses. Beyond the defeats coming away from home vs. strong competition, All-American setter Lydia Dimke got injured in the Wichita State match and also didn’t play vs. Iowa State. Their resume still has wins at Washington, at Kansas, vs Kentucky and Northern Iowa in a loaded schedule too. Keep in mind Creighton went 6-6 last year before rolling through Big East play and to the Elite Eight, so they’re already a step ahead of that.
14. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 7-3 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #11; Def. Kansas State (3-0), at Omaha (3-0); Lost vs. RV Northern Iowa (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #2 Penn State, at Rutgers
- Nebraska was winners of seven straight with Kelly Hunter rejoining the team from injury until Northern Iowa ended that streak. They hold at 14 though with two big wins vs. UCLA last week as they get a big opportunity to take down #2 Penn State this upcoming week in their Big Ten opener as they hope Briana Holman is healthy after suffering an ankle injury against Omaha.
15. UCLA BRUINS
- 7-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #12; Def. Loyola Marymount (3-0), at Long Beach State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #18 USC, vs. #8 Oregon
- The Bruins drop a bit in the rankings due to some of Nebraska’s struggles since the Bruins lost all six sets against the Cornhuskers last week. They get two ranked foes to begin Pac-12 play though as they look to add to their resume of two ranked victories already.
16. UTAH UTES
- 9-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #14; Lost vs. #17 BYU (2-3); Def. at Utah Valley (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #20 Colorado, vs. California
- Utah just came up short to BYU, as now both of their losses have come in five sets to top-15 opponents. They bounced back against a solid lower mid-major in Utah Valley and will look for that momentum to carry over to the first week of Pac-12 play that starts with an upstart Colorado bunch.
17. NORTHERN IOWA PANTHERS
- 10-4 (0-0, MVC)
- Last Week: RV; Def. at Omaha (3-1), vs. #11 Nebraska (3-1); Lost vs. Kansas State (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Valparaiso, at Loyola (IL.)
- Northern Iowa may have the best resume wins as they are the lone school with four ranked wins so far this season. They tacked on Nebraska to a bunch that includes USC, at Iowa State and Missouri (ranked 18th at the time). Two of their losses came to top-15 competition in Creighton and Kentucky, however what keeps them at 17 and not in the top-15 themselves are losses to UMKC last week and a five-set loss to Kansas State this week.
18. USC TROJANS
- 8-3 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #15; Lost at Maryland (0-3); Def. Oklahoma (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at #15 UCLA, vs. Oregon State
- USC falls behind a team who defeated them earlier this season in Northern Iowa after a big week for the Panthers and a road loss to Maryland. The Trojans aren’t overly penalized for the loss as it was a cross-country trip and a loss to an 11-1 team, but they do fall to number 18 as they get ready for conference action.
19. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- 9-1 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #23; Def. #7 Creighton (3-2), at RV Wichita State (3-0); Lost vs. RV Northern Iowa (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Oklahoma
- Iowa State’s week started out with a loss to Northern Iowa, but after the Panthers had such a big week and jumped to #17 it’s hard to fault Iowa State too much for the five-set defeat. That’s especially true when considering they took down a top-10 team in Creighton and earned a road sweep against a solid Wichita State team.
20. COLORADO BUFFALOES
- 10-1 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: RV; Def. Xavier (3-1), Albany (3-0), at #18 Colorado State (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at #16 Utah, vs. #5 Stanford
- Colorado makes their first appearance in the VolleyMob Top 25 after they were on the cusp last week. They make the jump after winning in Fort Collins vs. Colorado State, as now they have two ranked wins (also taking down Illinois on the road in week three). They collected big non-conference wins last year, such as over Penn State, but struggled in Pac-12 play, something they will look to change this week with two big-time opponents.
21. COLORADO STATE RAMS
- 10-2 (0-0, MWC)
- Last Week: #18; Def. Albany (3-0), Xavier (3-0); Lost vs. RV Colorado (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. New Mexico, vs. UNLV
- Colorado State suffered their second loss of the season at home to Colorado, but it came in five sets as they are nursing some key injuries. The resume still looks great for the Rams as they enter MWC play as they won at Florida State (3-0) and defeated Michigan and TCU.
22. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
- 6-1 (0-0, ACC)
- Last Week: #20; Def. RV Auburn (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at #1 Florida, vs. Virginia, vs. Virginia Tech
- After the Seminoles had a week wiped away by Hurricane Irma, they had a limited schedule in week two but earned a solid win over Auburn to tack onto their resume that includes a win over TCU and the team right below them coming in Waco.
23. BAYLOR BEARS
- 10-3 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #24; Def. LSU (3-1), Texas State (3-1), St. John’s (3-0), UTSA (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Texas Tech, at TCU
- Baylor is on a roll as they’ve won five straight that started with a victory over BYU in Honolulu. Now they get a chance to show if they really can be a Big 12 dark horse that challenges Texas and Kansas with two road meetings this week against fellow Texas schools off to strong starts.
24. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
- 10-2 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #21; Def. NC State (3-0), UW-Milwaukee (3-0), Cincinnati (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #3 Minnesota, at #4 Wisconsin
- Michigan doesn’t have a marquee win on the season just yet, but they’ve still looked like a top-25 team as shown by three sweeps this week against lesser competition. Speaking of marquee wins, they’ll get a chance for two this week with a road trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin to enter Big Ten play.
25. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 7-3 (0-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #22; Def. San Diego State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at San Francisco, at Santa Clara
- It was a short week for San Diego, who took out rival San Diego State in straight sets in their lone match. Now they start their West Coast Conference slate as they look to challenge BYU as a bit of a dark horse for the conference title. Playing at Santa Clara in week one should be interesting after the Broncos knocked off Kansas in week four.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Washington State (11-1)
Cal Poly (10-2)
Wichita State (8-3)
Notre Dame (10-1)
Western Kentucky (13-2)
*Michigan State (7-2) (19)
Others who Dropped Out:
*Missouri State (8-5) (25)