Turmoil. Chaos. Disarray. These can all be words to describe what happened this past week outside of the top seven in the top 25. The results are some shuffling in the poll this week as the Pac-12 was at center-stage in all of the mess. With that, one of those Pac-12 teams, Washington, soared up the rankings and was a big benefactor of the crazy week.
Staying safe from the danger though was the top seven, who remain the same for the second straight week. We start at the top where that trend continues with the number one team who stays ranked that way for the third consecutive VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings.
1. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 21-1 (11-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #1; Def. #12 Wisconsin (3-1), at (RV) Illinois (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #10 Michigan State, vs. Rutgers
- Penn State continues to hold down the top spot in the rankings behind a pair of wins over top-half teams in the conference. A match at Michigan State this week could be their final ranked opponent until their last two matches of the regular season, meaning they should roll in November.
2. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 19-2 (12-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #2; Def. at Arizona State (3-1), at Arizona (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Oregon State, vs. #15 Oregon
- In a week over the Pac-12 bottom feeders in the Arizona schools, the Cardinal earned a pair of wins. Still, they remain undefeated both against Pac-12 competition and against every team they’ve played on their schedule except Penn State. The two Oregon teams come to town this week which should provide a strong challenge to that mark.
3. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 21-2 (10-2, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #3; Def. (RV) Illinois (3-2), at Rutgers (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Maryland, vs. Ohio State
- Make it nine straight victories for Minnesota after starting 1-2 in conference play. They’ll look to keep that going because if they can win out it would guarantee they’d stay within striking distance of Penn State until the final regular season match when the two square off at the Maturi Pavillion.
4. FLORIDA GATORS
- 18-1 (10-1, SEC)
- Last Week: #4; Def. South Carolina (3-0), at Mississippi State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #6 Kentucky, at Tennessee
- Florida started the week with a sweep of South Carolina and finished it with another sweep at Mississippi State. They still have just the one trip-up to Kentucky, who they get a chance to get vengeance against this week in a match that will play heavily on the SEC standings and who wins the conference.
5. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 17-2 (9-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #5; Def. West Virginia (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Kansas State, vs. Texas Tech
- It was a one-match week for Texas and they took care of business with a sweep of West Virginia in Austin. With Kansas losing to Iowa State, they own a two-match or better lead on everyone in the Big 12 now, as they look to win out and earn a top four hosting seed for the NCAA Tournament.
6. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 19-2 (10-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #6; Def. at LSU (3-2), at Texas A&M (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #4 Florida, vs. South Carolina
- Kentucky escaped in their first match of the week against a likely NCAA Tournament team in LSU in five sets before finding things more simple in a sweep of Texas A&M. They’ve got the big match to start this week as they look to earn the sweep of Florida and take a two-plus match lead over everyone in the SEC.
7. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 18-4 (11-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #7; Def. at #10 Michigan State (3-1), at Michigan (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Purdue, vs. Indiana
- In a huge top-10 conference road match, Nebraska came out on top of Michigan State in four sets. Then they won in straight sets at Michigan, which keeps them neck-and-neck with Penn State atop the conference – although the Cornhuskers own the tiebreaker.
8. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 18-5 (8-4, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #15; Def. #13 USC (3-2), #17 UCLA (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #22 Colorado, at #16 Utah
- One week after setter Bailey Tanner returned from injury and provided a spark – already a strong measure to improve their ranking – Washington defeated a team they had previously lost to in USC in an incredibly tight match. Then, things weren’t so tight as they swept UCLA for another ranked victory. The combination of those and seven teams directly in front of them losing causes the big rise as the Huskies re-enter the top 10.
9. BYU COUGARS
- 21-2 (10-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #8; Lost vs. #22 San Diego (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Pacific, vs. Saint Mary’s
- In a lone-match week, BYU fell to San Diego at home in four sets. Beyond affecting their spot in the rankings, the loss has big repercussions in the West Coast Conference as the Cougars split with the Toreros on the season and the two are now tied for the conference lead. They don’t drop too far from their loss though with the litany of other teams that lost behind them.
10. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- 16-5 (9-3, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #10; Lost vs. #7 Nebraska (1-3); Def. Iowa (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #1 Penn State, at Northwestern
- Michigan State fell at home to Nebraska but bounced back to defeat Iowa in four sets. Although it wasn’t the best week that the Spartans have had as established giant killers this season, it still was enough to maintain their spot with other teams struggling around them in the rankings.
11. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- 19-4 (8-2, Big 12)
- Last Week: #9; Def. Oklahoma (3-2); Lost at #23 Iowa State (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at TCU
- It was a rough week for Kansas that started with having to squeak one out over one of the bottom-tier Big 12 teams in five sets at home and ended with a four-set loss in Ames to Iowa State. They don’t drop too far though because of the large amount of losses from teams ranked near and below them.
12. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 15-6 (6-6, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #12; Lost at #1 Penn State (1-3); Def. Northwestern (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Ohio State, vs. Maryland
- Wisconsin continues to have choppy weekly results with a .500 record in Big Ten play, but in reality it’s hard to punish the Badgers too much with all six losses coming to teams currently ranked in the top 10. That includes this week at Penn State. It looks like just one more Penn State match stands as a top 10 match from here though, so the Badgers could be ready to explode.
13. USC TROJANS
- 16-7 (8-4, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #13; Lost at #15 Washington (2-3); Def. at Washington State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Arizona State, vs. Arizona
- The week started for USC with a loss, but it came on the road against Washington in a match that took the Huskies winning the fourth 32-30 to force the five-set comeback. Following that, they downed an NCAA bubble team in Washington State on the road in straight sets, as USC stands pat in a week of chaos.
14. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 18-5 (11-1, Big East)
- Last Week: #14; Def. at Providence (3-1), at Providence (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Marquette, vs. DePaul
- Creighton had the unique task of playing Providence twice on the road in back-to-back days and took care of business. That sets them up for a big showdown with Marquette in a meeting of the top two teams in the conference that went the Golden Eagles way in Milwaukee.
15. OREGON DUCKS
- 14-6 (7-5, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #16; Def. #11 Utah (3-1); Lost vs. #25 Colorado (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: at California, at #2 Stanford
- The week started for Oregon with a win over Utah, giving them the sweep of the Utes on the season. They did lose to Colorado at home, but it came in five sets to a team that matches up well against the Ducks, as the loss more so held back how far Oregon moves up in a week full of chaos. The resume looks very strong too with victories over Utah (twice), Nebraska, Cal Poly and Wichita State.
16. UTAH UTES
- 17-6 (8-4, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #11; Lost at #16 Oregon (1-3), at Oregon State (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Washington State, vs. #8 Washington
- Utah was riding high at 17-3 just a week ago but has now experienced three consecutive losses including a pair this week. They have a big opportunity to bounce back this next week as they don’t drop too far from last week with their overall resume and plenty of teams behind them losing as well and a team right behind them who they defeated earlier this season.
17. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 17-4 (10-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #22; Def. at #8 BYU (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Saint Mary’s, vs. Pacific
- San Diego got revenge on BYU in Provo after the Cougars took down the Toreros in San Diego earlier in the year. That win vaults them up the rankings with so many teams in front of them losing on the week and the Toreros now owning a new best victory for their overall resume. Not to mention, they’ve won seven straight since that last loss to BYU, with five coming on the road and four matches ending in sweeps.
18. BAYLOR BEARS
- 18-5 (8-2, Big 12)
- Last Week: #18; Def. at Texas Tech (3-0), at Oklahoma (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. TCU, vs. #19 Iowa State
- The Bears had an undefeated week in sets on the road for a pair of matches. It was a big week just beyond their results too as they are now tied for second in the Big 12 standings. The team right on the heels to join that party, Iowa State, comes to town this week as Baylor looks for a repeat performance to their earlier win over the Cyclones.
19. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- 16-4 (7-3, Big 12)
- Last Week: #23; Def. at Kansas State (3-0), #9 Kansas (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. North Dakota, at #18 Baylor
- The Cyclones have rolled to four straight victories and added a highlight victory with a home-win over #9 Kansas. It’s now a big RPI week for Iowa State as they get a 23-win North Dakota team before taking to Waco to face Baylor. If they can win both, they’d be set up nicely to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament as they look to sprint to the finish line.
20. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 21-2 (11-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #20; Def. at UC Irvine (3-0), Hawaii (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. UC Santa Barbara
- The Mustangs continue to prove they are for real as they halted attempts by the teams ranked third and second respectively in the Big West to give them their first conference loss. They should roll from here, but will need to avoid a let down as winning out would give them an opportunity to host the first two rounds in the NCAA Tournament.
21. UCLA BRUINS
- 13-8 (6-6, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #17; Lost at Washington State (2-3), at #15 Washington (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Arizona, vs. Arizona State
- The biggest difficulty in the Pac-12 is that with so many challenging ranked matches, if you lose one you’re not supposed to it really puts you behind the eight ball. Beyond that, those non-ranked teams are still very good, as UCLA couldn’t overcome Washington State before they fell at Washington for an 0-2 week. They do stay ahead of Colorado for the moment being, who they downed in Boulder earlier this year.
22. COLORADO BUFFALOES
- 17-6 (7-5, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #25; Def. at #16 Oregon (3-2), at (RV) Oregon State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #8 Washington, vs. Washington State
- A week after re-emerging in the top 25, Colorado earned a ranked victory and another over a team on the cusp as both came on the road. Those victories push them up three spots in the rankings as for the moment they remain behind UCLA who defeated them in Boulder a week prior.
23. COLORADO STATE RAMS
- 22-2 (12-0, MWC)
- Last Week: #21; Def. Wyoming (3-1), Air Force (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Utah State, vs. Boise State
- Colorado State doesn’t really have a marquee opponent in Mountain West play, and now their top wins (Florida State and Michigan) have faded a bit. Still, they get credit for not just winning but winning big in a lot of matches as they sit securely in the top 25.
24. WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS
- 20-3 (12-0, AAC)
- Last Week: #24; Def. at UCF (3-2), at South Florida (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Connecticut, vs. Temple
- The Shockers continue to win all of their AAC matches in their first season as part of the conference, although things were close at Central Florida. Their three losses are all to teams ranked in the top 20 too, as they have proven they are a steady top 25 squad.
25. NORTHERN IOWA PANTHERS
- 21-6 (10-2, MVC)
- Last Week: #19; Lost at Illinois State (2-3); Def. at Bradley (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Evansville, vs. Indiana State
- The Panthers were upset by a solid Illinois State squad in five-sets to start the week and did rebound by winning in straight sets over Bradley, but it was still a painful loss for Northern Iowa to suffer. They do have six losses now, but they still hold in the top 25 behind some huge wins throughout the year.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Western Kentucky (25-2)
Missouri State (20-5)
Oregon State (16-8)
Miami (FL) (14-4)
NC State (15-8)
Others who Dropped Out:
Note: * signifies dropped out (previous ranking)