Two of the SEC’s top teams suffered in the new AVCA Division I women’s volleyball rankings. Outside of that, however, there wasn’t as much movement in the poll as there was in the past two weeks.
Here are five takeaways from the AVCA coaches poll for Nov. 5.
Biggest jump: Nebraska
As alluded to in the introduction, there wasn’t significant movement with the biggest jumps being only two spots by three teams. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are the most relevant team of those three because of their win against Penn State, which snapped their five-game losing streak against top-10 teams.
The win over the Nittany Lions was a good sign for John Cook’s team not just because it seemed like it was a must-win for Nebraska on its home court, but also it proved the Huskers can beat the top teams in the country. It was the type of momentum they needed before heading into four straight road games, two of which are against No. 15 Michigan and No. 12 Purdue.
Biggest drop: Missouri
The Missouri Tigers had their eight-game winning streak snapped Friday against South Carolina — which received votes in this week’s poll — and subsequently fell four spots to No. 24. Even being a road game, it was clearly a game the voters thought Missouri should have won, which maybe says something about the SEC as a whole.
In previous weeks, there were top-10 Big Ten teams that lost to other top-10 Big Ten teams on the road and fell maybe one spot, if at all. For example, Nebraska lost at Penn State on Oct. 13, but stayed the same that week with no other big win. A week after that, following losses to two top-10 teams on the road, Nebraska dropped the same number of spots as Missouri this week. The SEC doesn’t have the caliber of teams as the Big Ten, but having a four-spot drop from one loss against a solid opponent on the road seems significant.
Don’t sleep on Texas
Somehow every year it feels like attention is diverted to the Big Ten and the Pac-12 while Texas just continues to run through the Big-12 without much noise at all. Maybe that’s because a top-five ranking is just what is to be expected out of the program in Austin.
Texas is back in the top five this week since the week of Oct. 8 when the Longhorns were ranked fourth. Winners of five straight, the Longhorns were No. 6 in the committee’s release of the top 10 teams on Sunday. The most significant part of their new ranking is being 101 points ahead of Nebraska.
Michigan drops a spot after upset loss and upset win
It will be difficult to find a team that had a more turbulent week than the Michigan Wolverines. They dropped a stunning four-set loss at Indiana on Wednesday, but followed that up with an upset win at No. 5 Wisconsin. That victory definitely helped the would-be drop had the Wolverines gone 0-2, but it couldn’t salvage all of it.
In the end, you would probably be correct in thinking their win against Wisconsin will go further than their loss to Indiana in terms of seeding. Michigan staying in the top 15 keeps the Big Ten as seven teams inside the top 15.
MICHIGAN WINS! pic.twitter.com/IdJonNZgF9— Michigan Volleyball (@umichvball) November 4, 2018
Wisconsin, Florida show difference between SEC and Big Ten
Florida and Wisconsin each lost this past Wednesday to the top team in their conferences, but only the Gators had a significant drop in the poll because of the loss.
The Badgers lost their weekend game at home against Michigan while the Gators beat Arkansas and each team fell three spots. Why this is significant is that losing to two ranked teams at home in the Big Ten is — at least for this week — equivalent to losing on the road to one ranked SEC team (Kentucky). Had Wisconsin beaten Michigan and lost to Minnesota, it probably would’ve dropped one spot or not at all, based on past weeks.
Other notable takeaways:
Southern California had one of its best weeks, with a straight-set victory at then-No. 16 Oregon, to move up two spots to No. 13. It’s clear the AVCA voters don’t think of the Women of Troy — for now — as highly as the committee, given Southern Cal’s No. 7 ranking by the committee.