This week’s edition of the VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings didn’t see much change at the top or the bottom, but saw plenty of differences in the middle. That was created with both inter-top 25 carnage as well as some upsets that made things interesting.
As we continue on to week eight of the season, resume still stands as the top factor along with eye test and now performance in conference play, where some have set themselves apart. For others, their strong non-conference slate has given them a strong overall resume, but they are struggling in conference play, causing them to drop. We kick off this week’s rankings with the team that has sat atop the poll for now a sixth consecutive week.
1. FLORIDA GATORS
- 13-0 (4-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #1; Def. Texas A&M (3-1), Georgia (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Ole Miss, vs. #9 Kentucky
- The week started for Florida with a four-set win over an underachieving yet talented Texas A&M team and finished with a sweep of Georgia as the Gators remain undefeated and on top of the rankings for another week. This will be a stern two matches of competition for Florida – on the road against a solid Ole Miss bunch and a top 10 opponent in Kentucky.
2. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 15-1 (5-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #2; Def. at Ohio State (3-2), at Maryland (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #10 Michigan State, vs. (RV) Michigan
- Penn State almost stumbled in their first match of the week with Ohio State and fell behind 2-1 in sets. However, from there they outscored the Buckeyes 40-16 and carried that play into a sweep of Maryland. It’s a big week ahead with Michigan State as the two teams battle to stay a game back of the team ranked fourth this week.
3. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 13-2 (6-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #3; Def. at Oregon (3-0), at Oregon State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #18 UCLA, at #12 USC
- The Cardinal could not have asked for a better start to the week than sweeping a top 15 opponent in Oregon on the road and they added the cherry on top with a three-set win at Oregon State. They’ll face a stern test to stay undefeated in Pac-12 play in Los Angeles this week with both UCLA and USC ranked in the top 20.
4. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 13-3 (6-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #5; Def. #14 Michigan State (3-1), at Iowa (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #14 Wisconsin, at #19 Purdue
- In a meeting of the two unbeaten schools at the time in the Big Ten, Nebraska got the best of Michigan State in Lincoln. Beyond that big win, they swept a bubble team in Iowa on the road as they continue to raise their level of play with a more healthy bunch. They will be tested mightily this week on the road twice with a pair of top 20 opponents.
5. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 15-2 (4-2, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #6; Def. at #10 Wisconsin (3-2), at (RV) Michigan (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #19 Purdue, vs. Iowa
- After an up-and-down first two weeks in conference play (2-2), Minnesota finally saw a 2-0 week of action. Impressively, they did so on the road too. The big wins as well as the better record than Texas – who was ahead of Minnesota last week – mixed in with Minnesota’s win in Austin are enough to jump the Golden Gophers back into the top five.
6. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 12-2 (4-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #4; Def. at TCU (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #8 Kansas, vs. #22 Iowa State
- Texas moves on quickly after a one-match week with a sweep of TCU. This might be the biggest Big 12 week of the season for Texas, as they travel to Lawrence – a match they lost last year that kept the Longhorns from winning the conference – and host a ranked Iowa State bunch. Both represent the two conference losses Texas had in 2016.
7. BYU COUGARS
- 17-1 (6-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #7; Def. at Saint Mary’s (3-2), at Pacific (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Portland, vs. Gonzaga
- The Cougars came close to suffering a bad loss to Saint Mary’s but overcame an early deficit to earn the victory. From there, they were on high alert and swept Pacific as they continue to stay undefeated in conference play. They’ll need to win out to have a chance at earning a top-four seed, something that they should be favored to do.
8. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- 16-2 (5-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #9; Def. at West Virginia (3-1), at Oklahoma (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #6 Texas
- Kansas went into a difficult road environment and downed West Virginia with less difficulty than others before them such as Texas. They finished it off with another road win at Oklahoma, as now they prepare for a one match week that features one of their biggest matches of the season at home against the Texas Longhorns.
9. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 14-2 (5-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #11; Def. Alabama (3-1), Auburn (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Texas A&M, at #1 Florida
- Kentucky began the week with a solid win over a bubble team in Alabama and finished it with a likely NCAA Tournament team in Auburn. As they sit undefeated in SEC play they will need to avoid the trap game with Texas A&M before battling the top-team in the country, Florida, for conference supremacy.
10. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- 12-3 (5-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #14; Lost at #5 Nebraska (1-3); Def. #10 Wisconsin (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at #2 Penn State, at Rutgers
- In a meeting for the lead in the Big Ten, Michigan State came up short in Lincoln. Still, it was a difficult task on the road against a Nebraska team absolutely on fire right now. With all the losses in this range of the top 25, you could do worse than that one, not to mention the Spartans downed a top 10 team in Wisconsin. That gives Michigan State three top 10 wins and a fantastic resume.
11. UTAH UTES
- 14-3 (5-1, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #17; Def. at #8 Washington (3-2), at (RV) Washington State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Arizona, at Arizona State
- After suffering their third loss of the season last week – all in five sets – the Utes delivered a five-set victory against Washington on the road. They didn’t have a hangover either and downed Washington State in four sets as the Utes could possibly be Stanford’s biggest threat to the conference crown.
12. USC TROJANS
- 13-4 (5-1, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #12; Lost at Arizona (0-3); Def. at Arizona State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. California, vs. #3 Stanford
- USC missed a big opportunity two defeat two unranked teams and rise into the top 10, as their loss at Arizona keeps them at 12 among all the chaos. The resume still looks for the Trojans after their win against Washington last week as they have four ranked victories in 2017.
13. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 14-3 (4-2, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #8; Lost vs. #17 Utah (2-3); Def. #20 Colorado (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #15 Oregon, vs. Oregon State
- After falling to USC in straight sets last Sunday, Washington was looking to bounce back, but lost an incredible five-set match with Utah. They did eventually bounce back though, as they took out their frustrations in a sweep of Colorado. The Huskies are still on solid footing, but need a pair of wins this week to stay on Stanford’s heals at the top of the Pac-12 standings.
14. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 11-4 (2-4, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #10; Lost vs. #6 Minnesota (2-3), at #14 Michigan State (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #4 Nebraska, vs. Indiana
- Normally a team would tank a lot further than four spots for a week with two losses, but the Badgers faults came to top 15 (and now higher) ranked teams. They still have a solid overall resume too, but are missing a true marquee win, which they could get at a much needed time at just 2-4 in conference with Nebraska coming to town this week.
15. OREGON DUCKS
- 10-4 (3-3, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #15; Lost vs. #3 Stanford (0-3); Def. California (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #13 Washington, at (RV) Washington State
- Oregon couldn’t pull off the upset and were downed quickly by Stanford early in the week but responded nicely with a sweep of Cal. They’re still trying to get off the pattern of split weeks, which won’t be easy this week as they stay in the Pacific Northwest but travel to face the Washington schools.
16. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 12-5 (5-1, Big East)
- Last Week: #13; Lost at (RV) Marquette (0-3); Def. at DePaul (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Butler, vs. Xavier
- Creighton hasn’t received much of a push at the top of the Big East standings in a few years, but they found their nemesis as an upstart Marquette squad dominated a three-set sweep. Creighton still has a strong overall resume though and will get another crack at the Golden Eagles later in the year.
17. NORTHERN IOWA PANTHERS
- 16-4 (6-0, MVC)
- Last Week: #16; Def. at Indiana State (3-0), at Evansville (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Southern Illinois, vs. Missouri State
- Northern Iowa continues to rack up wins in the Missouri Valley Conference as this upcoming week features their biggest threat to the conference title in preseason MVC pick Missouri State. They recorded a surplus of big wins in the non-conference that’s still keeping their resume toward the top but stay behind Creighton after being swept earlier in the season.
18. UCLA BRUINS
- 11-4 (4-2, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #18; Def. at Arizona (3-0), at Arizona State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #3 Stanford, vs. California
- The Bruins had their first perfect week in Pac-12 play with wins over the two Arizona schools on the road. It’s now a three-match winning streak for UCLA after losing two of their first three (against USC and Washington). Now, they host the conference’s top team in Stanford as they look to emerge as a potential conference title dark horse.
19. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 15-2 (5-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #19; Def. at (RV) Illinois (3-0), at Northwestern (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #5 Minnesota, vs. #4 Nebraska
- The Boilermakers are off to a strong record in conference play after just an 8-12 year in 2016. Now though, the schedule really ramps up with two top-five opponents as Purdue can show that they belong in the conference title race as well.
20. BAYLOR BEARS
- 15-4 (5-1, Big 12)
- Last Week: #23; Def. at #21 Iowa State (3-0), West Virginia (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Kansas State
- If you consider Kansas and Texas the top contenders in the Big 12, Baylor and Iowa State are the teams right on their heels. In a meeting of the two, Baylor showed to be the favorite for a top-three finish as they won all six sets in a strong week of play.
21. COLORADO STATE RAMS
- 16-2 (6-0, MWC)
- Last Week: #22; at Boise State (3-2), at Utah State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. San Jose State, vs. Nevada
- Colorado State weathered a four-match road trip well at 4-0, including two wins this week. The first was a hard-earned victory against an NCAA bubble team in Boise State while they dominated Utah State. Another strong Mountain West bunch, San Jose State, comes to Fort Collins this week.
22. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- 11-3 (2-2, Big 12)
- Last Week: #21; Lost vs. #23 Baylor (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Kansas State, at #6 Texas
- The Cyclones dropped a big match with Baylor in their only action of the week. On the bright side, they got extra time to prepare for this upcoming week with Kansas State in Ames and a big match in Austin over the weekend.
23. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 16-2 (6-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #24; Def. at Hawaii (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at UC Santa Barbara
- Before the season started, Hawaii was the Big West Conference favorite – as per usual. But Cal Poly immediately exploded onto the scene with wins over Wichita State, Dayton and North Dakota and losses only at Washington and at Oregon. With so much to play for in the conference, the Mustangs went into Honolulu and defeated Hawaii in five sets as now they look to roll until their next meeting in late October.
24. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 12-4 (5-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #25; Def. at Pacific (3-2), at Saint Mary’s (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Gonzaga, vs. Portland
- After suffering a home loss to BYU a week prior, San Diego needed a few wins to keep pace at the top with the Cougars. They pulled one out in five against Pacific before sweeping Saint Mary’s as they will look to keep within one win of BYU until they play again at month’s end.
25. WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS
- 14-3 (6-0, AAC)
- Last Week: RV; Def. at Tulane (3-0), at Houston (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. SMU, vs. Tulsa
- Wichita State makes their first appearance in the VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings as they’ve rolled through AAC play after a successful non-conference that included wins over Creighton and Marquette. The biggest threat to them winning the conference in their first year as a member of the American is SMU, a fellow 6-0 team in AAC play as the two meet on Friday.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Washington State (13-5)
Colorado (12-5)* (20)
Western Kentucky (18-2)
Notre Dame (13-4)
Others who Dropped Out:
Note: * signifies dropped out (previous ranking)