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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | September 6, 2021

College volleyball rankings: Huge shakeups in the Power 10 after Week 2

College volleyball rankings: Stanford sneaks into the Power 10

I have been saying this every week, but wow. What a wild Week 2 of college volleyball. So wild, it almost made the rankings feel physically impossible to order. Teams with big wins also have big losses, unranked teams got big wins, etc. This one was difficult. 

The thing about power rankings is that they don't have to go by records or where they were ranked last week. And, I get to consider different factors in how I rank teams and strength of schedule. So yes, it is almost always different than the AVCA, and we have some huge shakeups this week. I ranked mostly based on the eye test, (watching these teams personally), strength of schedule and ranked wins. 

With no further delay, here are my latest Power 10 rankings after Week 2.

AVCA POLL: See the latest Top 25 rankings from the Sept. 6 coaches poll

1. Texas (1)

Texas Volleyball

The rankings might have been difficult this week, but not for the No. 1 or 2 spots. Texas is still a clear No. 1 in my Power 10 rankings. This past week UT withstood a tough challenge from Minnesota and came away with a four-set win, and then swept Stanford, a team that has already proven to be really competitive and talented this season. Texas had eight aces in the win over Stanford, a tactic that has been one of its strongest suits last year and so far this season. Logan Eggleston led the scoring effort and is also extremely dangerous at the service line. Melanie Parra has debuted a wicked serve this year to go with the Longhorns' aggressive service game. With five returning All-Americans and little to no adjustment period, Texas will be tough to beat all season.

2. Wisconsin (2)

Another no brainer at No. 2. Texas and Wisconsin just seem to be multiple steps ahead of everyone else with their experienced players from last season that made it all the way to the national semifinals. Both teams are already playing like national championship caliber teams and we are two weeks into the season. The Badgers took down Dayton twice this past weekend in clean sweeps. 

3. Nebraska (5)

Nebraska moves up to No. 3 in this week's Power 10 rankings. The Huskers were pushed to five by Omaha but still came out on top even without Lauren Strivins. Nebraska also picked up wins over Georgia and Arizona State. I really like the Huskers' offensive balance this year. This is another team that returns almost the entirety of their core from last season. 

4. Pittsburgh (9)

Pittsburgh VB

Here is my first bold change in this week's Power 10. I've got Pittsburgh up at No. 4. The Panthers took down Baylor this week as well as Tennessee, who also beat Baylor. They are playing ranked teams and coming out with wins. Quality wins against ranked teams mean a lot to me. Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee were a great duo in Pitt's NCAA tournament run last season and they are right back at it again, with even more weapons on offense in 2021. 

5. Ohio State (6)

Undefeated Ohio State comes in at No. 5. I debated Ohio State vs Florida here, but the Buckeyes have a win over Washington, a team that is still in the top 10, and Florida has a win over Minnesota, who has dropped out, and a loss to Stanford. Emily Londot led the charge again this past weekend and I think we can expect good things from Ohio State as it continues to develop. 

6. Florida (4)

The Gators had a split weekend, which makes it really tough to place them. They fell to then-No. 20 Stanford earlier in the week, and then took down Minnesota in four sets to end the weekend, which means a good deal to me. Minnesota might have a losing record, but the Gophers put up a fight against No. 1 Texas and have some of the top players in the country. Florida took them down despite Stephanie Samedy’s 31 kills. 

7. Kentucky (3)

The reigning national champion take a big dip in the rankings after falling to unranked Creighton at home in straight sets. Madi Skinner had a team-high 14 kills and was the only Wildcat in double figures — the first time that's happened for UK all season long. Kentucky has some seriously tough competition coming up including Wisconsin, Louisville and Stanford. 

8. Purdue (8)

The Boilermakers stay at No. 8 in my Power 10 rankings. Yes, they are 4-0, but I am still waiting to see them against tougher competition. We’ve got that coming up with Louisville this weekend.

9. Washington (7)

The Huskies are at No. 9 with their one loss on the season to No. 5 Ohio State, followed by two four-set wins over Illinois and Iowa last weekend. Washington used every component of its offense in those two wins, which is a good sign for UW. 

10. Stanford (NR)

Stanford

CRAZY. I know. No. 10 was arguably the hardest spot to rank out of them all. I heavily considered Louisville here, and Oregon: two undefeated teams. But then I looked at teams like Stanford, Creighton, Baylor and even Minnesota. All have super tough non-conference schedules. I lean toward tough schedules and ranked wins. 

Baylor beat Minnesota but lost to Pitt and Tennessee last weekend. That knocks them out. Creighton has the big win over Kentucky but needs to work its way up the rankings first after starting the season unranked. Minnesota has played the top teams in the country and I was so impressed with its performance against Texas, but look, both Stanford and Minnesota played Florida and Texas. They both lost to Texas, but Stanford got the top-five win over Florida. 

It’s bold, but I am putting Stanford in. A top-five win means more to me than being undefeated against unranked teams. Louisville, Oregon and BYU have tough games coming up, so they'll have plenty of opportunities to make their way into my Power 10. 

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