The latest VolleyMob Top 25 created a difficult question at the top, as our top team from last week didn’t play due to Hurricane Irma. Meanwhile, the teams ranked second and third scored top-five wins. However, based on overall resume and eye test having them number one, we didn’t want to drop them down because a freak weather incident put a hurdle in a schedule that could have provided another top-20 win
Beyond that, one common theme throughout the top 25 is resume and how good you look (eye test), which is re-evaluated every week. Who you’ve beaten and the quality of losses stands for more than simply moving up or down the rankings based on results. Of course, there are exceptions to that as we try to balance resume, how good have you looked and more into the latest rankings.
1. FLORIDA GATORS
- 4-0 (0-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #1; All matches cancelled
- Upcoming Week: Florida A&M, Northern Kentucky, Lipscomb
- Florida didn’t play any matches this week as they were all cancelled with Hurricane Irma en route to the Sunshine state. Still, the Gators own three wins over then top-15 teams, including two over current top 10 teams.
2. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 7-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #2; Def. Colorado (3-0), #5 Stanford (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: Yale, Wake Forest, Ohio
- Penn State earned their second win over the defending National Champions on a neutral court as it was also their second top-five win of the year. They also took down a Colorado team that was off to a strong start as their win over Stanford was enough to neutralize the next team’s big win and keep them just ahead at number two.
3. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 8-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #3; Def. Denver (3-0), Texas A&M Corpus Christi (3-0), at #4 Texas (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: Oregon State, at Boise State, Idaho State
- Minnesota got their most notable win by taking down Texas and doing so impressively in Austin. Still though, the Golden Gophers just sit behind Penn State and Florida as their second best win is either North Carolina (who was ranked 10th at the time but has since struggled) or one of a mass of power five schools that finished in the bottom half of their conference last season.
4. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 7-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #6; Def. Lipscomb (3-0), Texas A&M (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: RV Marquette, Southern Mississippi
- 21 sets played, 21 set victories for the Badgers, who don’t have a complete marquee win (since their then top 10 win over North Carolina has been downgraded a bit) but show why the eye test matters as well. Even without a win over a team currently ranked, Wisconsin has defeated some good teams (and again, swept them) that should push for the NCAA Tournament like Texas A&M and Arkansas.
5. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 5-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #5; Def. at #25 Illinois (3-0); Lost vs. #2 Penn State (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: Pacific, at Saint Mary’s
- The defending National Champions couldn’t overcome Penn State as they got a second chance at the Nittany Lions, but it’s hard to fault Stanford too much for leading 2-1 in sets and falling to the #2 team. That is especially true when Stanford started the weekend with a close sweep of an upstart and ranked Illinois team on their home court.
6. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 6-2 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #4; Def. Texas A&M Corpus Christi (3-0), Denver (3-0); Lost vs. #3 Minnesota (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Texas A&M
- Texas reeled off six straight victories after an opening loss to Florida on the road, but were halted by #3 Minnesota in Austin. Still, the Longhorns have ranked wins over Oregon (neutral court) and San Diego (road) as both losses have come to top-three teams, so it’s hard to drop the Longhorns too from their previous standing.
7. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 7-2 (0-0, Big East)
- Last Week: #7; Lost vs. #19 Purdue (1-3); Def. Belmont (3-0), at #9 Kansas (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at RV Wichita State, #23 Iowa State
- Creighton is one of the most difficult teams to rank after losing this weekend to Purdue but sweeping the others. They did the same a week ago by sweeping Kentucky and Northern Iowa but faltering to USC. That said, take into account the Purdue match was a tough Friday morning start and the BlueJays finished with a sweep at Kansas for their third top 15 team (two on the road and in the top 10) to pair with Washington and Kentucky.
8. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- 9-1 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #9; Def. #14 Kentucky (3-0), Belmont (3-0), #19 Purdue (3-1); Lost vs. #7 Creighton (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: San Jose State, at Santa Clara, Idaho
- The Jayhawks were about to soar in the rankings after dominant wins over Kentucky and Purdue, but then were halted by Creighton as we keep them behind the BlueJays in the rankings. That said, their two big wins give them a stronger resume than the squad below them that they jump in the poll.
9. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 8-1 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #8; Def. #23 Missouri State (3-1), at Pepperdine (3-0), Wyoming (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: Oklahoma, at Maryland
- Washington pulled off its best victory to this point with a four-set victory over a ranked Missouri State squad. They also took care of business on the road and with a solid Wyoming team, however they don’t move in front of Creighton since the BlueJays won in Seattle over the Huskies and have a better resume. They also don’t jump Kansas as Washington’s best win (Missouri State) is the Jayhawk’s third best win of the season.
10. OREGON DUCKS
- 7-1 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #10; Def. RV Cal Poly (3-0), RV Wichita State (3-0), Duquesne (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: None
- Oregon was dominant in week three, not dropping a single set in a hosted tournament that even featured a pair of teams on the fringe of last week’s top 25. They have a bye this next week as they prepare for a potential dark horse run in the Pac-12.
11. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 5-2 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #12; Def. #11 UCLA (3-0), (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: Kansas State, Northern Iowa, at Omaha
- Nebraska has been on a roll since losing their first two matches as not only have they won five straight but they’ve won all 15 sets in doing so. A big part of that has been the return of All-American setter Kelly Hunter as the Huskers sit behind Oregon at least for the moment.
12. UCLA BRUINS
- 5-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #11; Lost at #12 Nebraska (0-3), (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: Loyola Marymount, at Long Beach State
- The Bruins had just two meetings in Lincoln on the ledger for week three, and were unable to grab a set from a Huskers team on a roll. Still, UCLA has earned some solid wins over its first seven matches and aren’t penalized too much for losing twice at Nebraska.
13. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 7-2 (0-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #14; Lost at #9 Kansas (0-3); Def. at Loyola (IL) (3-0), RV Marquette (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: Louisville, Kennesaw State
- The Wildcats week started with a loss on Labor Day at Kansas, but they shouldn’t be faulted too much for a top 10 road loss. Add in that they swept Loyola and scored a nice win over Marquette to round out the week to the fact they they took down the team right below them in the rankings and they remain at number 14.
14. UTAH UTES
- 8-1 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #15; Def. #22 San Diego (3-2), Green Bay (3-0), Missouri (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: #13 BYU, at Utah Valley
- Utah earned a big ranked win over San Diego followed by two sweeps of Green Bay and Missouri. Their lone loss came in five sets to Kentucky, which keeps them behind the Wildcats as they have a big opportunity to jump up the polls this week with a match against rival BYU.
15. USC TROJANS
- 7-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #16; Def. Arkansas (3-2), at UCSB (3-0), Yale (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Maryland, Oklahoma
- USC had a clean week as their marquee match came against Arkansas. The Trojans were able to overcome a 2-1 set deficit against a Razorbacks team that looks prime to make an NCAA Tournament push. They can tack that onto a resume that features wins over Michigan and Creighton (on the road).
16. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 8-1 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #19; Def. #7 Creighton (3-1), Belmont (3-0); Lost at #9 Kansas (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: Miami (OH), Loyola
- Purdue came out and shocked Creighton early in Lawrence on a neutral court as the Boilermakers earned a top 10 victory. For whatever reason though, they didn’t have quite the same luster in the night cap vs. host Kansas, as they move up in the poll but hold behind USC (who also beat Creighton).
17. BYU COUGARS
- 8-1 (0-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #13; Def. at RV Hawaii (3-2), Nevada (3-0); Lost vs. RV Baylor (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #15 Utah, Weber State, Utah Valley
- BYU had their first stumble of the season as they fell in five sets to a solid Baylor squad in Hawaii. Still, the Cougars got a strong victory at Hawaii and have ones over Ohio State and Boise State. They have an opportunity for their best win yet as they meet Utah in the Holy War on Thursday too.
18. COLORADO STATE RAMS
- 8-1 (0-0, MWC)
- Last Week: #20; Def. Ball State (3-1), #17 Michigan (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: Albany, Xavier, Colorado
- Colorado State’s poor start (a five set loss to Duke) seems like ages ago as the Rams have reeled off eight wins in a row. Not only have the Rams racked up wins over top 20 foes in Michigan and Florida State, but Colorado State has amazingly done it while overcoming three serious injuries to their roster.
19. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- 5-1 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #18; None
- Upcoming Week: at Notre Dame, Central Michigan, Southern Illinois
- The Spartans did not play any matches this week as their scheduled trip to Florida for a tournament (including a match against the Gators) were cancelled due to Hurrican Irma. They’ll get back going this week with a meeting against a solid Notre Dame team that should test the Spartans on the road.
20. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
- 5-1 (0-0, ACC)
- Last Week: #21; None
- Upcoming Week: None
- The Seminoles were another team that had its schedule knocked out by Hurricane Irma, as the storm also takes out their upcoming schedule for next week.
21. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
- 7-2 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #17; Def. Idaho State (3-0), Ball State (3-1); Lost at #20 Colorado State (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: NC State, UW Milwaukee, Cincinnati
- The Wolverines stumbled on the road to an upstart Colorado State squad as it was their second loss of the season. Both have come to top 20 opponents, however Michigan has yet to score a big resume building win.
22. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 6-3 (0-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #22; Lost at #15 Utah (2-3); Def .Missouri (3-0), Green Bay (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: San Diego State
- The Toreros did lose their first match of the week, but it came to a top 15 on the road in five sets. After that, San Diego took care of business with Missouri and Green Bay. Although they have three losses, they all came to top 15 opponents and they have won every other set they’ve played in their six wins.
23. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- 7-0 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: RV; Def. at Iowa (3-1), Northern Illinois (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: RV Northern Iowa, #7 Creighton, at RV Wichita State
- Iowa State makes their first appearance in the VolleyMob Top 25 behind a 7-0 start. In week two they won at Dayton as they collected another strong road win at rival Iowa this week. The Cyclones will get a true test of how worth they are of the VM Top 25 as they face three teams ranked or on the cusp this week.
24. BAYLOR BEARS
- 6-3 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: RV; Def. Nevada (3-1), #13 BYU (3-2); Lost at RV Hawaii (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: LSU, Texas State, St. John’s, UTSA
- Baylor emerges back in the Top 25 with a five-set win over a top 15 team in BYU. That win gave them their second Top 25 victory after taking down Washington State earlier as well. They did lose to Hawaii, but it came in five sets on the road, so they weren’t penalized too much.
25. MISSOURI STATE BEARS
- 6-3 (0-0, MVC)
- Last Week: #23; Lost to #8 Washington (1-3); Def. Wyoming (3-0), at Pepperdine (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: Chattanooga, RV Washington State, RV Illinois, Tennessee State
- Missouri State is another three loss team that has lost to tough competition in Washington and Kansas. Their other loss came to Lipscomb (a solid mid-major), but they’ve coasted along against other solid teams like NC State and Wyoming while also holding their crown jewel of a win: at Ohio State.
On the Cusp:
Washington State (8-1)
*Ohio State (5-3) (24)
Northern Iowa (7-3)
*Illinois (6-2) (25)
Cal Poly (7-2)
Wichita State (7-2)
Others who Dropped Out:
Well that’s about it until the tournament. Unless Florida goes 3-0 through their entire conference schedule, they aren’t going to be able to do much to impress me. Who will be left standing in the Big 10? Certainly looks like PSU and MN. That’s a pretty weak non-conference schedule for Wisconsin – they’ve got a lot to prove. As usual it’s the Big 10, PAC 10 and a few from the Big 12. I’ll grant you the SEC with a big MAYBE on a good day, but do we really need to call the ACC a Big 5 conference? Go Mid-Majors! Especially hoping Hawaii finds their feet after a brutal non-conference schedule. Thanks for previewing the week ahead, Volleymob, so that I can see the only matches worth follwing are Utah v BYU and Iowa St v Creighton.