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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | October 15, 2019

College volleyball rankings: The toughest tests left for the top teams

Here are the top 3 college volleyball matches to watch in Week 8

There wasn't a whole lot of movement in the AVCA women's volleyball poll this week but there are some matchups the next few weeks that can have a big impact on the polls.

First, here's the complete Top 25:

RANK

SCHOOL

POINTS

RECORD

PREVIOUS

1 Baylor (61) 1595 15-0 1
2 Stanford (2) 1502 11-3 2
3 Pittsburgh (1) 1466 17-1 3
4 Texas 1374 11-2 4
5 Nebraska 1313 13-2 5
6 Wisconsin 1302 10-4 7
7 Minnesota 1178 11-3 6
8 Penn State 1139 12-3 8
9 BYU 1120 16-2 9
10 Washington 1008 13-3 11
11 Creighton 948 13-3 13
12 Marquette 878 15-3 10
13 Florida 774 13-3 14
14 Colorado State 738 16-1 15
15 California 710 15-1 16
16 Kentucky 627 11-5 12
17 Illinois 544 9-6 17
18 Utah 525 13-4 18
19 Rice 433 16-1 21
20 Purdue 420 11-4 20
21 Washington State 269 15-3 24
22 Hawaii 248 14-3 19
23 Louisville 198 13-3 25
24 Western Kentucky 113 19-1 NR
25 Missouri 79 10-4 22

 

Now, on to the really good stuff. When does the top-15 have the greatest chance of being shaken up? 

We looked at what tests the top teams have coming up and through November. Since we are a few weeks into conference play, there aren't as many high-stakes matchups since a lot of the top teams are in different conferences. Of course, there is always the possibility of an upset, but we wanted to look at the matches that are most likely to mix up the top of the poll. There still are some big ones and a lot are in the strong Big Ten conference. Here's nine of them, with the current rankings listed for each team. Those can change, of course, but these are all likely to be high-profile games.

1. No. 1 Baylor at No. 4 Texas: Wednesday, Oct. 23

This is one of the biggest matchups left in the regular season and we will get it twice. No. 1 Baylor has yet to lose and has swept its last nine opponents. This will be the Bears' highest-ranked matchup this season and a chance for the Longhorns to be the first team to defeat the Bears. They will play again on Wednesday, Nov. 20. 

2. No. 3 Pittsburgh vs No. 23 Louisville: Sunday, Oct 27

Pitt doesn't face that many ranked opponents during conference play in the ACC. This will be their first ranked-matchup since conference play began. Louisville is currently on a seven-game winning streak. But they will play three more opponents before getting to Pitt. If Louisville could pull off an upset over Pitt there likely would be a huge movement in the rankings. 

3. No. 8 Penn State vs No. 5 Nebraska: Saturday, Nov. 2

Penn State hasn't gotten the chance to play a lot of ranked teams this year. They have one win over Pittsburgh, and also a loss to them, but don't have a lot of big wins to move them up in the rankings. Nebraska has played two top-15 opponents this year, Stanford and Wisconsin, and lost both of them, but was still able to stay high in the rankings. This match will give Penn State a chance to crawl back up the poll, and Nebraska a chance to show they can beat a highly-ranked team. 

4.  No. 6 Wisconsin vs No. 7 Minnesota: Thursday, Nov. 14

This will be a re-match of this past Sunday's matchup that saw Wisconsin take down and upset the Gophers in three straight sets. The matchup will be another chance to shake up the top-10. Minnesota only dropped one spot in the rankings after the loss, but two losses could be a different story. 

UPSET: Wisconsin upsets Minnesota in three

5. No. 12 Marquette vs No. 11 Creighton: Friday, Nov. 22

We've got another rematch on our hands. The first time around, Creighton took down rival Marquette in four sets. This match is a good matchup in late November that could cause some movement and add another highly-ranked win to one of these teams' resumes. 

6. No. 5 Nebraska vs No. 7 Minnesota: Friday, Nov. 22

Here is another chance for Nebraska to beat their first top-10 team this season. Both teams dropped to Wisconsin in Big Ten play, so this match will also determine a lot in the Big Ten standings. 

7. No. 5 Nebraska vs No. 6 Wisconsin, Sunday, Nov. 24

The Badgers stunned the Huskers at their own Devaney Center the last time these two teams played this season. Wisconsin jumped from No. 13 to No. 7 after that victory. The outcome of this re-match could shake things up again. 

8. No. 6 Wisconsin vs No. 8 Penn State: Friday, Nov. 29

Now do you see why the Big Ten is so tough? This will be the second¬†matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Badgers ‚ÄĒ Wisconsin won 3-1 on Oct. 2. Before conference play, Penn State hardly had any top-25 opponents, but in conference play, they will get plenty.¬†

9. No. 7 Minnesota vs No. 8 Penn State: Saturday, Nov. 30

Talk about a tough weekend for the Nittany Lions. This is the second of two back-to-back matchups against top-10 opponents that are currently ranked above them. 

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