This is going to be a crazy poll week as top teams lost, others were tested, still others won big, and some lower ranked teams made serious pushes for consideration. We now have 2+ games to work with for most teams (many more for others), and it’s way more telling than last week. I can only imagine how much will change next week. Could you imagine if polls stayed the same? How boring would that be?
Before we get to the Media Poll, Ryan Conwell’s votes, and my votes, I want to take a minute to address something bizarre that happens in the Top 20 D1 polling world, and that is: Some people take this WAY too seriously. STILL.
Or maybe I just need to be more like this ball boy:
This ball boy walks it off like a champ. pic.twitter.com/WS3WsWHy2E
— Connor Wilson (@ConnorWilsonLAS) February 25, 2017
Listen, this is all for fun. If you’re smart enough to put together a Top 20, you’re smart enough to realize that this is not a perfect process, and sometimes other people are going to be wrong. Also, sometimes YOU will be wrong. And I will be wrong.
I will be wrong A LOT.
You want to see how it’s done? Take a good hard look at your own poll, and make disparaging comments about yourself. We all make plenty of mistakes, so maybe focus on your own mistakes before those of others? Pretty sure there is something in the Bible about that.
D1 Done Gone Crazy Poll – Week 3
Rank | Media Poll | RC’s Vote | CW’s Vote | RC: comments CW: comments
1 | Maryland | Denver | Maryland | RC: Denver had a pair of pretty easy game this week, so their number one spot was hardly in jeopardy for me. When one of those games became a shutout? That cemented their top spot for me. Denver is going to be a tough team to beat this year. With UNC coming to town next week, followed by Notre Dame before a pair of road trips to Ohio State and Towson, it is not impossible to think of Denver as undefeated heading into conference play. CW: Maryland just looks good, like everywhere. Other people don’t see it, and that’s fine, but the Terps are absolutely loaded and already playing loose. It’s a scary good group in College Park. But the Yale game was SO CLOSE!!! Well, Yale is good. What of it? I had Maryland at #2 from the get go.
2 | Denver | Johns Hopkins | Denver | RC: Hopkins has a very real case for being number one right now. Their first road game of the year was down to the defending champs in Chapel Hill, where they throttled them 13-5. They continue a road stint with Princeton and Towson next, which should both be wins. They then get to host Syracuse and Virginia before conference play begins. CW: What’s not to like about Denver? Nothing. These guys have the right pieces in the right places, and a genius at the helm. All good in Pioneer town. Denver started out at #5 for me, but my Top 5 was very fluid and all were considered contenders. Right there you see how tough a poll is. 5 teams can be lumped together, but you HAVE to say one is four teams better than another.
3 | Johns Hopkins | Maryland | Johns Hopkins | RC: I still don’t *love* Maryland’s wins, and beating a Yale team without Ben Reeves by one at home did not help. I’m not going to underestimate the Terps, though. I gave that up a few years ago. This is a phenomenal team who is one a “Championship or bust” mission and they’re getting tired of having those. With Notre Dame up this week on the road, the Terps can really show what they can do. CW: Look at Hop climbing my poll ladder like a 6-armed monkey! The Hop O looks stellar, and deep, and the rest of the squad is just getting it done, blue collar style. Hop might not be thought of as a blue collar school, but they can play blue collar lacrosse. Here is another great example of a team making big early leaps. I had Hop at #10, the Media Poll had them at #9. Ok, Media Pollsters, I see you here. One upping me on Hop. I get it.
4 | Notre Dame | Notre Dame | Notre Dame | RC: Speaking of Notre Dame… they have only played two games so far against less than stellar competition. They’ve scored 16 each time, which is right about where they should have. They don’t have an easy game for the rest of the year, though. Everyone else is either ranked or getting votes right now.. CW: Conwell and I agree on ND at #4. It’s something! ND started at #3 for me, but Hop jumped them with quality wins. The Irish can make up ground as their schedule gets tougher and tougher.
I would like to note how my Top 4 and the Media Poll’s Top 4 are the exact same. That never happens.
5 | Penn State | UNC | Yale | RC: After basically not showing up for their game against Hopkins, I wanted to drop them even further. If they have a game like that again out in Denver this week? The Tar Heels will take a huge drop. CW: I thought Yale was good, but watching them play Maryland WITHOUT Ben Reeves made me think they were really, really, really good. The score has nothing to do with it. Yale looked GOOD. They have athletes, stick skills, tough defensemen, a good goalie, and confidence. Yale has confidence, and plenty of it. This is a team that can go out and get it. Remember when some persons last weekend were ripping the Media Poll for Brown and Yale being so high? Looks like they were right about Brown, but missed the mark about Yale. That’s the danger in being a poll “expert” and knocking other people’s picks – none of us are actually experts, because it’s an impossible task. I had Yale at #6. I feel fine about that. I also had Brown at #4. WHOOPS!
6 | Yale | Syracuse | UNC | RC: Syracuse would have been fine without Ben Williams at the X if they could have just picked up a ground ball once in a while. They didn’t. I wanted to drop them more, but it didn’t look right at the moment. Their next game against UVA will be a good one! CW: Oh Conwell, I was waiting for this. You know Cuse just lost to Army at home, right? And sure, Army has lost a game, but that was to Rutgers, who is 3-0. Based on the results, I can’t keep Cuse this high. UNC’s loss to Hopkins was big, but with Hop climbing so high, I could keep UNC up here without losing too much sleep. UNC was my #1, but they lost to Hop, and lost big, so fall they must. They were a good #1 while they lasted.
Also, I would like to apologize to Ryan for my latest writing. Maybe keeping comments to one’s self is not that easy.
7 | UNC | Penn State | Penn State | RC: I almost had PSU at #5. When so many teams lose, and PSU keeps winning big, I can see it. They had yet another high scoring game against Villanova this past weekend, putting in 17 goals. With Penn on the schedule next, and at home, it should be very telling. The Quakers slowed down UVA, so can they do it to Penn State? CW: I gave PSU little to no love early on, they proved me wrong, and now they are in the Top 10. This is how my polls work – have you done good things? You’re climbing. It’s so simple! I had PSU in the 20 spot. Yup, I’ve moved them 13 spots in only 3 weeks. Was this WRONG? No… PSU is just better than I thought, and now I reward them for it. Isn’t this how polling works? The polls become more meaningful as teams actually play games? Am I missing something here?
8 | Penn | Yale | Rutgers | RC: I was big on Yale to start the season, but I thought they were going to be buried by Maryland without Ben Reeves in the lineup. Instead, after some crazy weather delays, they only lost by a single goal, which wasn’t too bad. Their schedule for the month of March should all be wins. Their toughest games left are Penn, Brown, and Albany. Even if they lost all those, they’d be 9-4 to end the year. Not too shabby. CW: Rutgers in the Top 10? WHAT? Well, they are a lacrosse school, so believe it. Listen, they are 3-0, have a solid defense, and seem to capable of scoring to win in a shootout if need be. Reward the winners now, you can always drop them later! I had Rutgers at #15 to start out, but they’ve answered some questions and moved up 7 spots. Could they move back down? SURE! But the results say this is where they are for now.
9 | Virginia | Loyola | Penn | RC: Loyola finally has a win!!! After two one goal losses to open the season against Virginia and Hopkins, the Greyhounds stretched their Patriot League legs by downing Lafayette by 13. I’m sure it could have been more. Next up is their neighbor Towson. Towson’s another team that people are big on, but I feel like Loyola should win this one handily. CW: Do I like Virginia? Yes, so for Penn to beat them in only the second game of the year for the Quakers, it makes me like Penn more too. These guys are good, not big namers, but very good, across the board. They play together, can change up their style and pace of play, and look like an Ivy contender along with Yale, Harvard, and possibly Brown. Penn was my #19 team, and they have made a 10 spot leap early on. Kind of an early miss, but that’s why we play the games!
10 | Syracuse | Rutgers | Army | RC: Rutgers beat Fairfield by 5, which is a result I still have no idea what to make of. Fairfield is just strange to start this year. I like Rutgers’ other wins, so I still feel good about having them up here. I can’t wait to see how they matchup with Brown next week. CW: Army has only lost to Rutgers, whom I have at #8, so this ranking makes sense and is 100% justifiable. Army is in my Top 10. Deal with it. I had Army at #12, so while some are surprised by them, I am not. That being said, I can see why some people didn’t love them earlier on.
11 | Loyola | Duke | Syracuse | RC: Duke bounced back from their loss at Denver to beat the tar of St. Joseph’s at home. That had to feel good. Next up is Richmond, who beat the Blue Devils a year ago on a weekend where Duke also lost to Harvard two days prior. This year? Richmond gets their own weekend. Should be interesting to see how Duke responds… CW: Oh, Syracuse. That Army game was crazy, right? Physical, emotional, and for most people, surprising. But it brings up the following lesson – if you can out-tough Cuse, you can overcome their likely edge in the skills department. Army has some great players, but the Cuse guys are smooth machines. Thrown them off their game by throwing the lumber (and hoping the refs let you play) could work. Will we see that approach again? Hats off to Army for making it happen. I had Cuse at #7 to start, dropped them for the home loss, and now they’re at 11. Watch me not make fun of anyone (except Conwell) for picking Cuse as a Top 10 team.
12 | Richmond | Albany | Virginia | RC: Albany went down to Drexel and were able to release their frustrations from their opening loss against Syracuse by toping the Dragons 19-8. Yup. Albany can still score. CW: Sure, UVa just lost, but that’s not reason to completely drop a team, as long as they lose to a good team, and UVA did, in Penn, whom I have at #9. So my #12 lost to #9 and my #11 lost to my #8. It’s almost like I know what I’m doing! Almost… I had UVa at #18 to start, and they’ve climbed. They deserve it and are playing above expectations. Not everyone saw this early on, and that’s ok. It’s been a pleasant surprise.
13 | Towson | Brown | Loyola | RC: I was really big on Brown to start the season. Really big. Then they went and scored 25 goals in their openers and I was feeling great. Then they had to go and let Stony Brook score 25 on them in a loss. Not cool, Brown. Not cool. With Rutgers next, we really get to see which one was the fluke. CW: Loyola got the W they needed, and are still going to be a tough out. You don’t want to play the Greyhounds now. There is good stuff going on for Loyola at every spot on the field, when it all comes together this is a potential Top 5 team. Seriously. But right now? Not so much. Wins matter. I had Loyola at #8, and I still think they are a top level team, but without the big wins, they drop a bit. This could change, but for now it works.
14 | Rutgers | Rutgers | Albany | RC: Richmond is starting to looking pretty good right about now. Their first three wins weren’t stellar, but they were three wins. Add in a 7 point win over Marquette right after the Golden Eagles had opened their season with 17-1 win? That’ll do. CW: Solid all around, and looking good at the #14 spot. My big concern with Albany right now is offensive initiation depth. While Conor Fields is unreal, I do think the Danes need a little more diversity in setting up their offense. As the season goes on, scouting improves, and that could spell trouble for a less than diverse offense. I didn’t even rank Albany early on, now they are a Top 15 team. They answered questions. It’s simple.
15 | Albany | Army | Richmond | RC: I had high hopes for this Army team going in, and they always take their trip to Syracuse as serious as you can. They played a complete game and I thought they did a great job of trapping the Cuse O-Mids on defense, and also exploited FOGOs whenever they could. For future opponents: when your FOGO is guarding Cole Johnson with the ball, it’s not good. You should really try to avoid that. CW: Dear Richmond, I see you. I apologize for not seeing you earlier, but now that I have you’re really impressive. The 9-2 win over Marquette really pushes them up further, even though Marquette isn’t truly established. Still, 2 goals given up is like living in Wowzersville. Richmond is another of my preseason unranked to make the Top 15. They are better than I thought they’d be, and this is WHY WE PLAY THE GAMES.
16 | Army | Penn | BU | RC: People seem to be really big on Penn this year. Their opening win against St. Joseph’s didn’t do much for me, but topping Virginia definitely did. If they can slow down Penn State, I’ll be a believer in what they’re putting together this season. With Brown faltering, Harvard not impressing, Cornell MIA, and Princeton being a little unknown, the Ivy battle with Yale is wide open. CW: I’ve been watching BU for a couple weeks now and I just couldn’t deny them any longer. Why was I denying them at all? Both my parents got degrees from BU, so shouldn’t I be as big a homer for them as Vermont? The answer is yes, and now I am. Just kidding. BU has WON their way into the Top 20, and I can see them climbing higher. This is a serious program on the rise. Who says you need D1 football? BU has lacrosse! Also I hear they have some good hockey. Also I didn’t rank them early on, but was “watching” BU.
17 | Ohio State | Virginia | Stony Brook | RC: The Lars Tiffany honeymoon is over. After opening the season with three wins, UVA dropped a close one to Penn up in Philly. It also did not make me feel great about UVA. They had plenty of chances at the end to tie or win, but it just felt like things were way too forced, even for end of game scenarios. CW: SeaWolves coming in hot. Brown said “hey, we want to dance… fast!” and SBU responded courteously, bowed, and then broke Brown’s ankles with their jive moves. Holy shnikes, SBU just keep scoring and never stopped. It was glorious! I have no idea if this is how they’ll play all year, or if the just did it for Brown, but I liked it… a lot. Another unranked team in my Top 20, SBU poured it on and earned a spot.
18 | Stony Brook | BU | Harvard | RC: Welcome to my top 20, BU! Their opening win over Providence is looking better by the week, and their other two wins were expected, but the margins were still good. Going down to Annapolis to beat Navy? Now that’s another solid win. Things are looking up for BU, which is great news for the young program. CW: Harvard looks good, but I haven’t seen anything to convince me they are world beaters… yet If they keep winning games, my mind changes a lot. It’s still early. Harvard was higher early on, and could get back up there. I started them at #13, but 18 seems better for now.
19 | Brown | Navy | Towson | RC: I probably should drop Navy entirely in favor of someone like Stony Brook or Ohio State. They’re 1-3, but their losses are Maryland, Hopkins, and BU. They SHOULD beat Bucknell this week by a handful of goals. If they don’t? Well…then I probably won’t have to write about them for a bit. CW: I almost didn’t rank Towson this week. That would have been embarrassing. I haven’t ranked them before. That was a little embarrassing too.
20 | Duke | Marquette | Ohio State | RC: Marquette had a massive season opening win over Jacksonville and followed that up with a loss to Richmond. Not the worst thing in the world, but not the best, either. With Ohio State up next, that game is absolutely going to determine who is ranked and who isn’t (at least in my rankings). CW: OSU looks really solid, so they get the 20 spot this week. Nothing to see here, move along. OSU was also unranked to start off.
Biggest Loser: Brown – Preseason teams like Navy, Duke, Villanova, and Air Force have all dropped out of my Top 20 (at least for now), but the biggest drop is Brown, whom I had at #4 Preseason. The Bears are no longer even in my Top 20. Could they get back there? Absolutely. But losing at your own game of speed ball and giving up that many goals against Stony Brook is not good enough for consideration this week. Could next week be a completely different story? Surely it could, but it has to happen. I’m OK with drastic swings early on.
Again, THIS IS WHY WE PLAY THE GAMES. If we all knew what would happen, we wouldn’t care. So please, chill out on the Top 20 seriousness. I don’t want to have to write that ever again. I shouldn’t have to.
Ryan’s Others: everyone.
Connor’s Others: anyone.
Media Poll Others: Marist, Air Force, BU, Harvard, Michigan, Army, Vermont, Providence, Cornell