Let’s all agree that last weekend wasn’t kind to the pollsters. UCSB upsets ASU then ASU beats Cal Poly, who actually beat UCSB. So rank them! Boise State beats Oregon! Wow! Then they follow that up with a loss to Oregon State. *sad horn*. This is the week of “we don’t know enough” to do the poll, but alas! We must do one anyway.
So for this week’s power ranking, I will tell you a few things about each team.
What We Know
What We Don’t
My confidence in their ranking
Outside the top 5, you could probably talk me into almost any order, but this is how I would vote.
*Edit: In the shuffling of teams around, we left out Cal. Humble apologies to the Bears. Cal Poly dropped from 15 to Best of the Rest to account for the change. Thanks to Coach Ojeda for pointing out the omission*
What We Don’t: Was their performance overrated by the preseason poll ranking their opponents too high? Cal has lost against every ranked team they’ve played, and Cal Poly added two more losses this weekend. Last week it looked like Utah dominated two potential top 10 teams, but maybe those teams aren’t as good as we all thought? Unfortunately, the next time we will see Utah take on an elite team will be in April when they head to Colorado. Until then, there really isn’t enough meat on their schedule to answer any questions you may have about their ceiling.
Confidence in Ranking: 8/10
What We Don’t: Michigan State beat Boston College by 6, Chapman snuck by them by 1. Georgia Tech is a young team that is dealing with injuries to key pieces they couldn’t afford to lose. The Panthers snuck by them in overtime. Would you expect a top 2 team to have handled both of these teams with a bit more ease? Last year do-it-all senior midfielder Simon Jenkin won 64% of his faceoffs for the Panthers. This weekend FOS Parker Halaburda only won 42% of his draws. That could be a big swing in close games down the stretch. There is plenty of reason to believe the Panthers are back in championship form, but if you want to have some doubts, there is some room for it.
Confidence: 7/10 – They potentially should be #1, but I wouldn’t put them any lower.
What We Don’t: Are they top 10 good or top 5 good? Cal Poly has lost every big game they have played this year, but they haven’t been closer to beating anyone than GCU. They seemed to have the answer to slow down their offense, but Cal Poly’s offense isn’t in the top 20 of the MCLA. If GCU comes up against a team with a solid defense and a better offense, can they hold them off? The Lopes didn’t go over 10 in either game, and UCSB’s zone held GCU to effectively one goal in the second half. The Lopes haven’t played a top 10 offense yet, it will be interesting to see how they hold up when they do. We probably won’t see that until they play Colorado in April
Confidence: 7/10. They may be too high.
What We Don’t: We know their floor, but we don’t really know their ceiling, and we may not find out until May. The Gamecocks have 2 more (currently) ranked games against Virginia Tech and Clemson. I mentioned last week that they may slowly slide back, but beating Liberty to stack another top 25 win this week helped stave that off.
What We Know: The offense is good. They are averaging 15.66 points per game. They added their first top 25 win last weekend against Cal, but the potential luster of that win is a bit worn off by the Utah/ASU losses for Cal. If you are a BYU fan what should excite you is HOW they are getting that offense. The Cougars have 9 players averaging at least 1 point per game. They have been led by Chandler Wescott with 4.66 ppg. Chandler returned from his mission last summer and added a new dynamic to already potent offense. It will be tough to slow down BYU. Freshman LSM Zack Burbidge looks like a worthy successor to the storied BYU long-stick lineage. In addition to his 2 goals and 1 assist through 3 games, Burbidge is causing havoc in the middle of the field in the Cougar’s ride. He is also a returned missionary, so you should see 4 straight years of Burbidge, a rarity for BYU.
What We Don’t: It would have been reasonable to look at the Cougars schedule before the season and peg the Texas trip as a good gauge for where the Cougars were at early in the season. With Texas and FSU dropping early contests, the trip shifted from a chance to play 2 top 25 teams and a top 10 team to a “cannot lose” weekend. The Cougs could win their next 9 games handily and it would still be reasonable to assume you don’t really know how good they are. Luckily for the Cougars, they do have some lower top 25 games in that stretch with FSU, Texas A&M (who shouldn’t be ranked), Oregon, and Simon Fraser. They will still be resume building, but they likely won’t answer any of the big questions until the RMLC conference play starts.
What We Don’t: Just about everything else. I mentioned last week that replacing Gonzalez and MacIlvennie is a big deal. For what it’s worth, I felt like Gonzalez was the most complete player I coached against last year. It’s not really worth wasting more words on the Buffs yet. They will write their own story this year starting this weekend. I wouldn’t bet against them.
Confidence: 6/10. Potentially should be higher, could be lower. We just don’t know yet.
What We Don’t: Can the offense chip in enough to win the big games? The Sun Devil’s defense looks elite, but the offense hasn’t chipped in more than 10 goals in a single game this year. Part of that is the style that ASU plays, but after seeing Boise State put up 17 on Oregon, it’s fair to question the ASU offense. The defense is only giving up 6 goals a game against top 25 competition. That’s something to hang your hat on. If the offense can raise their level a bit, the Sun Devils will be real contenders this year.
What We Know: Michigan State had a great week sitting at home. Boston College’s 9 spot jump in the poll helps add some credibility to the Spartan’s fast start. Minnesota probably should have dropped out the polls with losses to St. Thomas and Duluth, but it seems like voters don’t know how to handle the cross-division games (and that’s fair). The Spartans are the beneficiaries of that, keeping their second top 25 win. We still don’t know a ton about MSU, but two top 25 wins this early is enough to solidify a top 10 position for a team that was coming into the season with high expectations.
What We Don’t: Can they keep it going halfway across the country? They head to California to take on a desperate and improving Cal team, Sonoma, and a potentially sneaky good Florida team, who just notched their first top 25 victory last weekend. If the Spartans come home unscathed, you can start talking about them as a potential top 5 team.
What We Don’t: Everything. However, with them playing Chapman, Colorado, and ASU in the next week we will learn everything we need to about their ceiling. Until then, they are a placeholder.
What We Don’t: This is still a team that lost a huge number of seniors from last year’s team, and they were just a borderline tournament team in 2017. We don’t know if they restocked, reloaded, or are rebuilding. A few wins in Oregon this weekend would be great for them to set that floor, but knowing CSU, they are chasing their ceiling. It’s going to take a few more weeks for us to really find out who the Rams are this year. Unless they lose. That would be bad for the Green and Gold.
The Next 5
11. Boston College
13. Georgia Tech
Best of the Rest
Teams Listed in Alphabetical Order
If you want to discuss this post more, head to Twitter! The engagement and discussion will be much more lively there than here. Not sure who to tweet at? Start here!