Stanford edged undefeated Baylor in the latest AVCA Poll to reclaim the top spot, but the Bears still made program history.
Early last week, it looked like the Cardinal would be a shoe-in for the No. 1 spot after Stanford made a statement in taking down No. 1 Nebraska on the road on Wednesday, Sept. 18. But then, BYU took down the Cardinal on Saturday (18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 31-29) in a huge upset, snapping Stanford's 37-match win streak at home. Meanwhile, Baylor beat previously undefeated Missouri and Hawai'i this weekend.
UNDEFEATED TRACKER: Only two teams remain undefeated in 2019
In the end, Stanford received 28 first-place votes to Baylor's 27 and had 1,540 points to the Bears' 1,489. But the No. 2 ranking is still a program record for Baylor.
All four top-4 teams lost this past week, making room for undefeated Baylor to move into the No. 2 spot and for Pitt to take over the No. 4 spot. Nebraska moved down to No. 3 after the loss to Stanford, while Penn State moved down one spot after splitting the home-and-home series with Pitt.
Just two weeks ago, Baylor (9-0) made program history with its highest ranking when the Bears came in at No. 5 in the AVCA Coaches Poll — a ranking it had again last week. Baylor started the season ranked 20th but have since moved up 18 spots.
The Bears notably swept its way past Hawai'i (25-19, 25-23, 25-22) to close out the Baylor Classic and move to 9-0.
Pitt made an early claim when it made program history in the front end of the home-and-home series against rival Penn State. The Panthers swept the Nittany Lions for their first win against Penn State since 1987. It was looking good for Pitt, who remained as one of the few undefeated teams, until the Nittany Lions retaliated at Pittsburgh, handing the Panthers their first loss of the season. Still, they moved ahead of Penn State into the No. 4 spot for the highest ranking in program history.
In all, five teams received first-place votes: No. 1 Stanford (28), No. 2 Baylor (27), No. 3 Nebraska (6), No. 4 Pitt (1) and No. 9 BYU (2).
Rice also beat Texas for the first time when the Owls defeated the then-No. 3 Longhorns on Wednesday. Thanks to that stunner, the Owls are ranked for the first time at No. 22.
The top 5 was inevitably going to be shaken up after a whirlwind week 4.
Here is the full poll:
Others receiving votes and listed on two or more ballots:
Louisville 92; Colorado 85; Washington State 74; San Diego 51; Michigan 37; Western Kentucky 19; Cincinnati 9; Indiana 9; Iowa State 5; UC Santa Barbara 5; Tennessee 4; Stephen F. Austin 3.
A lot of teams moved one or two spots in this weeks AVCA poll, with Baylor's three-spot jump as one of the largest. Purdue also went from No. 21 to 15 and Colorado State improved five spots to No. 17.
Rice is the biggest riser, as they join the ranks for the first time this year at No. 22 after pulling off an upset over Texas. The Owls sit right behind a California team that is 10-0 on the season.
Washington jumped two spots after two wins this past week over then-No. 9 Wisconsin.
This week, California will put its undefeated record to the test against powerhouse Stanford on Thursday, Sept. 26. The Cardinal are coming off of a tough loss to BYU.
Nebraska will face Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 28. The Illini have had an interesting season. They lost four in a row to Washington, Colorado, Illinois State and UCF, but then pulled off an upset over then-No.7 Marquette.
Stanford later in the week will play Washington on Sunday, Sept. 29. The Cardinal are 56-15 against Washington, but the Huskies have had a strong season, with wins over Wisconsin and Creighton and only one loss to Hawai'i. The Cardinal continue with one of the toughest schedules in the entire NCAA, facing 14 preseason top 25 opponents this year.
Baylor will face Texas State on Tuesday Sept. 24, and then travel to take on Kansas on Sunday, Sept. 29.