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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | November 8, 2021

College volleyball rankings: A new No. 1 takes the throne on top of this week's Power 10

College volleyball rankings: A new No. 1 takes the throne on top of this week's Power 10

Let's cut to the chase, we've got a new No. 1 team in the nation in this week's Power 10 after Texas held the top spot for ten consecutive weeks. Then-No. 1 Baylor split the series against No. 10 Baylor over the weekend. This week's Power 10 saw a plethora of changes after South Carolina took down Kentucky in a big upset, Ohio State swept Nebraska and Minnesota took down Ohio State. 

So basically, I had to start from scratch this week. I laid out every team's resume this season, making note of significant wins and levels of losses. I also placed more value on recent success and looked at their resumes within the past five or so games. 

Here are my latest Power 10 rankings: 

1. Louisville (2)

Louisville Volleyball

We have a new No. 1 in town! Louisville takes the throne this week as the very last undefeated team this season. The Cards are now 22-0, have probably one of the most ranked wins out of anyone, and deserve this No. 1 ranking. What an impressive season for the Cards so far. 

2. Texas (2)

Texas Volleyball

The Longhorns move to No. 2 this week after splitting the series with Baylor over the weekend. On Friday night they pulled off a dominating sweep over a really strong Baylor team. They absolutely looked like a national championship-caliber team, firing on all cylinders. They hit an impressive .405 on the match with 10 service aces, yes, 10. They out-blocked the Bears nine to two, and only had five attacking errors, compared to the Bear's 16 errors. Avery Skinner led the Bears on Friday night, despite the loss, and Texas was led by pretty much everyone. They do their best when they get their middles involved on top of the stardom that comes with Logan Eggleston and Skylar Fields at the pins, and that is exactly what they did. 

The next night though, Baylor was able to take them down in four sets behind a phenomenal performance from Yossiana Pressley. The Longhorns now have their first loss this season, but only drop one spot. 

COMMITTEE RANKINGS: Louisville takes No. 1 ranking, and more, explained

3. Pittsburgh (3)

The Panthers stay put at No. 3 this week with two wins over the weekend. There was no good reason to move them after this week, and as of right now, I think they would be a top-four seed in the tournament based on their resume. 

4. Wisconsin (4)

Wisconsin is in the same situation as well, remaining at No. 4 this week. The badgers dropped behind Pitt after they lost to Purdue two weeks ago, and stay here with two wins over Northwestern and Iowa over the weekend. This upcoming week we will have a rematch between Wisconsin and Purdue. 

5. UCLA (7)

Here comes some more changes for this week. UCLA jumps two spots after Kentucky falls out of the No. 5 spot following its loss to South Carolina. This might seem like a high placement for Bruins for some people, but when comparing everyone's resumes, this made the most sense. The Bruins are 18-3 on the season with good losses to San Diego, Washington and Arizona State, and then great wins over Washington, Utah, Oregon and Georgia Tech. I like big wins and ranked wins the most, so that might explain why I see UCLA as more favorable over BYU, a team with fewer losses. 

6. Georgia Tech (9)

Georgia Tech is another team that benefits from Kentucky and Nebraska dropping — the two teams that previously owned these two spots. I needed a replacement for No. 5 and 6, and again, these two teams' resumes made the most sense when you consider ranked wins and significant losses. Georgia Tech lost the head-to-head to UCLA, and has just two other losses to Louisville, the No. 1 team in the country, and Notre Dame, still a good team out of the ACC. So they are 20-3 and then have Pitt, the No. 3 team in the nation and Penn State in the win column. So impressive wins. The Yellow Jackets were the first team to beat Pitt this season. 

7. BYU (8) 

BYU moves up a spot with Kentucky and Nebraska falling as well, but they stay in the seven-eight range in my mind because of their schedule. The Cougars are 23-1 on the season, which is very impressive, but they have one significant win over Utah and just one loss to Pitt, which again, is the No. 3 team in the nation. The one win over Utah, although a very good win, wasn't enough for me to justify putting them ahead of Georgia Tech and UCLA. Still, this is a top-10 team in my mind and they could make some serious noise come tournament time. 

8. Baylor (10)

Baylor Volleyball

Check out the excitement in that photo above — that is the excitement of taking down the No. 1 team in the nation and your in-state rival all in one. The Bears handed Texas its first and only loss on the season — a really big feat. Despite their five losses on the year, that is a bigger win than anyone else on this list, so the Bears jump to No. 8. Yossiana Pressley posted nine kills in the Friday night loss to Texas, but in the Saturday night win, she absolutely dominated with 24 kills and four of those to finish it off in the fourth set. This was exactly the statement that Baylor needed to make towards the end of the season and ahead of selections, and they sure made it. This team played a tough non-conference schedule, have a high RPI, and now the Beats have a win over Texas. 

9. Kentucky (5)

The Wildcats make a pretty significant drop to No. 9 this week after an unexpected loss to South Carolina over the weekend. The Wildcats had a 13-game winning streak against South Carolina prior to this matchup, but despite leading the match 2-1, the Gamecocks handed them their first conference loss of the season. That marks the Wildcats' fourth loss on the season, with the other losses to Creighton, Wisconsin and Louisville. They pushed Louisville to five though, which to me is even more impressive than their two good wins over Stanford and Tennessee. So a four-loss, reigning national championship team with that resume feels right at No. 9 here.

10. Minnesota (NR)

Minnesota volleyball

Welcome back, Minnesota. The Gophers re-enter my Power 10 after winning FIVE-straight matches in the Big Ten, with huge wins over Nebraska and Ohio State, twice. The Gophers have six losses on the season, but check out this resume: 16-6 with a loss to Baylor, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State. Three of those teams are ranked in my top-10 and two are in the top four. Then, they have a deep win column with victories over Stanford, Oregon, Ohio State twice and Nebraska. This is also a scenario where I took into consideration the past five or so matches, and Minnesota has been looking really good in that stretch. 

So yes, it was interesting considering putting in a six-loss team, but if you have to, it is between Nebraska and Minnesota. I think Minnesota's resume wins that battle since the Huskers have lost three of the last four matches and have just two significant wins over Purdue and Penn State. Ohio State was a very, very, very close contender for the Power 10, considering they do have fewer losses than Minnesota and Nebraska. The Buckeyes did pull out a big win over Nebraska last weekend but then lost for the second time this season to Minnesota. They also have just two significant wins over Purdue and Washington, so Minnesota again won that battle in my mind for a spot in the top 10. 

So right outside of my Power 10 you have Ohio State, Nebraska, Purdue and Washington right on the border of earning a spot back in. 

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