Week two of the conference season and six overall of the year is now in the books as some continued to establish dominance early in the conference season while others stumbled or rebounded from week one results. Two teams from the Big Ten come to mind as using the conference season as a springboard to a strong season after a few miscues in the non-conference: Michigan State and Nebraska. Both schools are undefeated thus far in conference play and have taken out multiple top-10 opponents in doing so after they stumbled a few times in the non-conference portion of the schedule.
While many teams remained unchanged or sit around where they were ranked last week, that is where the biggest change in this week’s VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings comes from – conference upstarts scoring big wins last week. Taking it from the top though, we’ve got no change as Florida secures number one for the fifth straight week.
1. FLORIDA GATORS
- 11-0 (2-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #1; Def. Tennessee (3-0), LSU (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Texas A&M, vs. Georgia
- Florida began the week with a sweep of rival Tennessee
- Florida continued rolling with sweeps of Tennessee and LSU last week. Playing in the SEC, a solid but not overwhelming conference like the Pac-12 or Big Ten, Florida has a chance at going undefeated. There are still some potential slip-ups on the schedule though, starting with Kentucky in a few weeks.
2. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 13-1 (3-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #2; Def. (RV) Illinois (3-0), Northwestern (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Ohio State, at Maryland
- We kept Penn State from falling last week for the time being because of their two wins over Stanford even though the Nittany Lions suffered a rough loss to Nebraska – not in the fact that it was to Nebraska but because they were swept at home. Penn State bounced back with two sweeps this week as they get ready for a pair of tough road matches ahead.
3. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 11-2 (4-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #3; Def. Arizona State (3-0), Arizona (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Oregon, at Oregon State.
- Stanford rounds out a top three that remains unchanged from last week after the Cardinal took care of business by sweeping the two Arizona schools. This next week will feature a tougher state of teams as Stanford goes on the road to face top-25 foe Oregon and an underrated Oregon State bunch.
4. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 11-2 (3-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #5; Def. #21 Baylor (3-0), Kansas State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at TCU
- After escaping Morgantown with a five-set win in their Big 12 opener a week prior, Texas saw another big test in facing top-25 Baylor. The Longhorns dispatched of the potential Big 12 dark horse and didn’t drop a set over the week. They only have one match for this week’s slate which comes at a great time as they travel to Kansas next Wednesday.
5. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 11-3 (4-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #10; Def. #4 Minnesota (3-0), #7 Wisconsin (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Michigan State, at Iowa
- Nebraska dropped three matches in the non-conference. Part of that is from a host of new faces with another reason being that some of the returning stars have been banged up. The combination of a healthier bunch and a bit more experienced team has worked wonders in Big Ten play as Nebraska has not only started 4-0, but has taken down Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin in emerging at the forefront of the conference.
6. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 13-2 (2-2, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #4; Lost at #10 Nebraska (0-3); Def. at Iowa (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Wisconsin, at Michigan
- The Golden Gophers hit a rut to start the Big Ten season as they were swept by Nebraska to give them six straight set losses. As they look to reset with plenty of time to make up ground in the Big Ten standings, they will need a strong week with two tough road matches in week three.
7. BYU COUGARS
- 15-1 (4-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #8; Def. Pepperdine (3-1), at #25 San Diego (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Saint Mary’s, at Pacific
- BYU continues to roll beyond one five-set loss in Hawaii to Baylor. Their crowning achievement for the week came on the road in a four-set win over San Diego, likeliest their toughest competition for the West Coast Conference Crown. The rematch comes in late October, but on paper that was BYU’s most stern test in WCC play.
8. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 13-2 (3-1, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #6; Def. at #17 UCLA (3-1); Lost at #16 USC (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Utah, vs. Colorado
- In a pair of matches in Los Angeles, Washington earned a split for the week. It started off well with UCLA, but ended poorly as USC stifled the Washington offense on Sunday. They will have a big opportunity to rebound this week as they face a pair of ranked opponents in Seattle.
9. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- 14-2 (3-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #9; Def. #20 Iowa State (3-2), TCU (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at West Virginia, at Oklahoma
- The week for Kansas started by overcoming a 2-0 set deficit to take down Iowa State in Lawrence and ended with a dominant offensive sweep of TCU. Now Kansas has a big road match in Morgantown against a West Virginia team that took Texas to five and Kansas to five sets in 2016. They’ve also got the Texas match looming a week later.
10. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 11-2 (2-2, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #7; Def. at Iowa (3-0); Lost at #10 Nebraska (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Minnesota, at Michigan State
- Wisconsin was so close from scoring a huge road victory but let a 2-0 set lead slip against Nebraska. They’re in a similar position as Minnesota with an up-and-down conference start as now the two face this week before Wisconsin has a road tilt against a Michigan State squad who took down the Badgers in Madison in week one of Big Ten play.
11. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 12-2 (3-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #11; Def. at Mississippi State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Alabama, vs. Auburn
- It was a one match week for Kentucky, who had time to prepare for a road meeting with Mississippi State. They started slowly in falling behind 10-2, but used several runs to dominate the rest of the match. Two schools from Alabama should provide more of a challenge as the Florida match creeps a bit closer.
12. USC TROJANS
- 12-3 (4-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #16; Def. (RV) Washington State (3-1), #6 Washington (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Arizona, at Arizona State
- USC started the week by continuing its undefeated start to the Pac-12 season with a four-set win over Washington State and added to it with a marquee victory over Washington. The defense was stellar in the victory for USC, who now sits atop the Pac-12 standings with Stanford after rolling through the first four matches of conference play with notable wins over UCLA, Washington State and Washington.
13. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 11-4 (4-0, Big East)
- Last Week: #13; Def. at Seton Hall (3-0), at St. John’s (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Marquette, at DePaul
- With Lydia Dimke back in action, Creighton rolled to a pair of sweeps on the road. Their not out of the clear on this road swing either, as they’ll be on the road twice this week again – mainly against possibly their biggest Big East competition in Marquette.
14. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- 11-2 (4-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #18; Def. Maryland (3-0), (RV) Ohio State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Nebraska, vs. Wisconsin
- Just like Big Ten counterpart Nebraska, Michigan State has taken the Big Ten by storm after falling a bit under the radar from their non-conference results. They’ve won nine straight sets and have added wins over four potential NCAA Tournament teams with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Maryland in a span of two weeks. Now they’ll face Nebraska for the top of the Big Ten standings on Wednesday (just as everyone expected).
15. OREGON DUCKS
- 9-3 (2-2, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #12; Def. at #14 Utah (3-2); Lost at #22 Colorado (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Stanford, vs. California
- Considering Oregon had two road matches against top 25 teams, a split isn’t the worst thing in the world. Also take into account that they had to play in high altitude against Colorado just a day after they went 21-19 in the fifth set with Utah. After some rest back home, they’ll look to regroup and upset #3 Stanford this week as the schedule in the Pac-12 never seems to let up.
16. NORTHERN IOWA PANTHERS
- 14-4 (4-0, MVC)
- Last Week: #15; Def. Bradley (3-0), Illinois State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Indiana State, at Evansville
- Northern Iowa continues to roll in conference play as they look to build up wins after a stellar non-conference slate saw them take down four ranked opponents. Their highlight win, Nebraska, is only helping their cause, as the Panthers bested the Cornhuskers in the final week of non-conference play. They also took down USC, which is looking better with the Trojans recent win over Washington.
17. UTAH UTES
- 12-3 (3-1, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #14; Lost vs. #12 Oregon (2-3); Def. Oregon State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Washington, at Washington State
- Just when it looked as if Utah was going to come from down 2-0 in sets to take down Oregon, the Ducks pulled out a wild fifth-set 21-19. It’s the third loss of the season for Utah, but all have come in five sets to teams currently ranked in the top 15. They’ve got a difficult week ahead now too as even a split would be well-received.
18. UCLA BRUINS
- 9-4 (2-2, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #17; Lost vs. #6 Washington (1-3); Def. (RV) Washington State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Arizona, at Arizona State
- In the Bruins first match of the week to Washington, they dropped their second Pac-12 home match – although both have come to teams ranked ahead of them. UCLA did bounce back against Washington State for a solid win to end the week. This will be how the Pac-12 slate goes with so many strong teams in the conference, so it’ll be important for the Bruins to rack up some wins in Arizona this weekend.
19. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 13-2 (3-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #19; Def. Indiana (3-0), at Indiana (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Illinois, at Northwestern
- Purdue bounced back nicely from a defeat to Ohio State last week as the Boilermakers won all six sets with in-state foe Indiana. They’ll be looking to score some road wins this week, especially with a gauntlet of Minnesota, Nebraska and Penn State upcoming after this week.
20. COLORADO BUFFALOES
- 12-3 (2-2, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #22; Def. Oregon State (3-2), #12 Oregon (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Washington State, at Washington
- Colorado scored two big wins for the week to even themselves back at .500 in conference play after falling to Utah and in five sets to Stanford in week one. Their Oregon also shows they can beat some of the best in the conference, something necessary to compete in the rugged Pac-12. The Buffaloes will need to show that again this week with road tests against the Washington schools.
21. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- 11-1 (2-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #20; Lost at #9 Kansas (2-3); Def. at Texas Tech (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Baylor
- Iowa State will get a one-match week right when they need it following to five-setters. In the first, they let a 2-0 set lead slip away in a road loss to Kansas. Then, they lost two more sets to Texas Tech to make it five straight lost games, but they turned the table this time and overcame the deficit themselves to avoid an 0-2 week. The meeting with Baylor should help clarify who poses the biggest dark horse threat to Kansas and Texas.
22. COLORADO STATE RAMS
- 14-2 (4-0, MWC)
- Last Week: #23; at Wyoming (3-0), at Air Force (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Boise State, at Utah State
- Colorado State continues to dominate the Mountain West as the conference favorite. Their wins in non-conference over ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 foes complement their strong record as they’ll look to win out for an outside chance at hosting first and second round matches.
23. BAYLOR BEARS
- 13-4 (3-1, Big 12)
- Last Week: #21; Lost at #5 Texas (0-3); Def. Oklahoma (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Iowa State, vs. West Virginia
- The Bears couldn’t put a dent into Texas’ Big 12 record as they tried to make a statement that they will be around the top of the standings as well. They’ll still have the Longhorns in Waco, but their immediate focus will be on this week’s slate of matches that could represent the third to fifth best teams in the conference in Iowa State and West Virginia taking on Baylor.
24. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 15-2 (5-0, Big West)
- Last Week: RV; Def. Long Beach State (3-1), Cal State Northridge (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Hawaii
- Cal Poly makes their debut in the VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings after sitting on the cusp since week two. In the non-conference, they impressed with wins over Wichita State, Dayton and NCAA win-leader North Dakota with their only losses coming to Washington and Oregon on the road. They haven’t skipped a beat in Big West play and have a match with Hawaii this week that has huge implications on the conference title.
25. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 10-4 (3-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #25; Def. Loyola Marymount (3-0); Lost vs. #8 BYU (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Pacific, at Saint Mary’s
- San Diego missed out on a big opportunity to take down BYU, but will still get another chance in Provo. Beyond that, they’ll need to keep racking up WCC wins to stay within striking distance of the Cougars as they look to challenge for the conference title.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Wichita State (12-3)
Washington State (12-4)
Western Kentucky (17-2)
Miami (FL) (9-1)
Notre Dame (11-4)
*Florida State (8-4) (24)
Others who Dropped Out:
*Designated dropped out (Previous Ranking)