We had a fairly tame week in college volleyball — that is compared to the absolute madness this year has been. This is the first week in quite some time that changes in my Power 10 are minimal.
There are several teams I wish I could bunch together. The ones I rank third through eighth feel incredibly even. By the time I get to No. 7, I think to myself, ‘This team should be higher than No. 7!’ But then if I moved them up, I would feel the same, if not worse, about the next team.
What I’m trying to say here is I am not the slightest bit envious of the committee (we'll find out its decisions on Nov. 27). There are even a few parts of my Power 10 that I am still not sold on. But here it is, nonetheless:
1. Texas (1)
The Longhorns returned to the top spot last week and remain on top after a win over Kansas State this past week. Logan Eggleston and Madi Skinner each posted 17 kills apiece. They should have a fairly easy road the rest of the way, but will still have to face Baylor again in the Big 12 on Nov. 19.
2. Louisville (2)
The Cards also remain at No. 2 after two wins this past week. In the most recent win over North Carolina, Claire Chaussee had 24 kills. Louisville, unlike Texas, still has some tough battles remaining in the ACC. I think this is one of the best teams in the nation without argument, but they will be challenged in their conference a few more times. The Cards still have Pitt again and Georgia Tech this upcoming Friday. I will say, if the Cards were able to get wins against one or maybe both, it might give reason for them to move above Texas as the No. 1 team in the nation.
3. San Diego (3)
Remember in my intro when I said there are parts of my Power 10 that I am still not completely sold on? This is one of them. I am not sure that San Diego should be this high in the rankings, but I also don’t have reason to move them down. I haven’t seen them play a ranked or top-10 opponent in a really long time, and it is tough to keep them up when there are many teams playing way tougher schedules. But again, I cant find a reason to move them down either — so I struggle here. I know Texas has proven themselves in ways that that San Diego has yet had the chance to do, (competing on the national stage) but based on resume and strength of schedule alone, this team is fairly similar to the Longhorns. I am going to give them similar respect, for now. This was a fairly uneventful week so I am keeping them at three for now and will see what happens.
4. Wisconsin (4)
I moved the Badgers up last week after they took down Nebraska in straight sets. I rewarded a team that was clearly looking dominant. Last 10 matches is an important line to look at as we get closer and closer to the tournament. It was a bit tough to overlook the Badgers early losses and justify putting them above a Nebraska team that has fewer and better losses, but I honored the recent result and will let it play itself out as the two teams face again and continue in their Big Ten schedules.
5. Nebraska (5)
It is so strange having this team down at five. I understand the arguments that the Huskers should not have dropped as far as they did after the loss to Wisconsin. Had it not been a sweep, it likely wouldn’t of been the case. But this week, I looked for them to show out. The Huskers instead survived in five sets against Northwestern — Whitney Lauenstein had a huge match for Nebraska both offensively and defensively at the net, but the match was a bit closer than I would have expected when this team was coming off of the big loss last week. Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin ALL remain on the Huskers schedule, so get ready for some more moments like the one pictured above.
6. Ohio State (7)
The Buckeyes are one of the only movers this week. They too faced Northwestern and they pulled off the win in straight sets. The offense, that is so beautifully run by Mac Podraza, hit .316 on the match. The offense looks strong and this team has a strong rhythm and groove going that I think will be hard to beat. I moved them up one spot because of it as OSU continues to roll. They are on an 12-game winning streak.
7. Pitt (6)
Please refer back to my intro. If you told me Pitt would be my No. 7 team, I would tell you that makes no sense. But, again, I would say the same about every team above too. The Panthers seemingly don’t deserve the No. 7 spot, but since I don't want to give out a four-way tie, I have to have them here. They do have the head-to-head over OSU and win over Louisville in five, but OSU also has a win over Louisville, multiple ranked wins and no bad losses whatsoever. Had they not played as tough a schedule, OSU might have the same amount of losses as Pitt. Like I mentioned above, Pitt will have ANOTHER chance against Louisville after taking them down in five once this season.
8. Stanford (8)
The Cardinal also remain at No. 8 this week after two wins over Utah and Colorado in the Pac-12. Last week they secured a five-set win over Washington.
9. Minnesota (9)
No change here as the Gophers remain at No. 9. They do still have some more tough tests in Ohio State and Nebraska remaining this season.
10. Oregon (NR)
Finally, my last change to the top 10. Last week I had in Florida in my 10th and final spot as the Ducks had one big win over Stanford and the Gators had the big win over Wisconsin. This week, I switched them out following Oregon’s sweep over Washington. That is another huge ranked win on their resume and they don’t have any really bad losses to consider. Washington swept them earlier in the season as the Ducks were in a the midst of three consecutive losses, but they avenged the loss this past weekend. The Ducks have now won seven in a row. The 10th spot is a tough one, and it has been for weeks. But ranked wins have always been most important to me and I am going to reward the Ducks here this week.