First Serious Poll Of The Year. Seriously.

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Maryland Vs Loyola serious poll
Matt Rambo scores goals. Photo Credit: Craig Chase

Filling out a serious poll, especially a PreSeason Poll, is incredibly hard. As you saw from last week’s effort, so is doing a poll after only a third of the teams have played 1-2 games. What’s less hard is creating a poll when two thirds of the teams have played games. It’s still hard though. Building excuses in early… lowered expectations. 2017 is just like 2016.

Important Reminder: Polls are fun, and can be filled out in a number of different ways. They are not scientific, nor are they predictive, nor do they count towards earning an NCAA playoff spot. Chill out, it’s just a poll, and polls are… FUN! Say it with me now. Polls are fun.

So now let’s get on to the Media Poll, see how Ryan Conwell voted, and how I voted. It’s transparency at its most silly AND serious.  It turns out those two words are not antonyms. Watch more Monty Python if you don’t think that is absolutely true.

OK, enough with the Zinn/Chomsky esoteric political hysteria, and back to the polls! Kellyanne would be so proud. This week we have more actual results, we can throw out much of what we thought, and go with what matters… wins and losses! Or we can just stick to our guns and never change anything because it’s only February. That also works.

First Serious Poll Of The Year. Seriously.

Rank | Media Poll | RC’s Vote | CW’s Vote | RC: comments CW: comments

1 | Denver | UNC | UNC | RC: I loved UNC’s opener, but a four point win over Furman really does take away their lock status at this number one spot. There are some great performances behind them, but we’ll have to wait and see. CW: UNC now has two wins, and while a 7-3 win over Furman isn’t a killer performance, it’s not bad, and it shows UNC can win multiple way. Furman likes to slow the game down a little, so UNC did well to test how they handle slower lacrosse, and come out with a win. Definitely a #1 team that could drop a game though, if a game like this stays this tight. They’re still my #1 team in a landslide, but that’s a 2016 landslide, so take from that what you will.

2 | UNC | Denver | Maryland | RC: Trevor Baptiste dominated in the Pioneers’ opener, only losing three faceoffs all game. They certainly brought Air Force back into reality after just beating Duke. Now we’ll get to see how Denver can handle the Blue Devils for an excellent three way comparison. CW: The Terps looked good against a really solid Navy team on the road. They pushed some transition, played well settled, and got big games for their big names. I really like their two-headed monster at LSM, and this game was a treat for any longstick to watch. 

3 | Maryland | Notre Dame | Notre Dame | RC: “The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today’s work superbly well.” – William Osler CW: Did not play, so they stay at 3. Nice quote bomb Conwell! Applicable.

4 | Notre Dame | Yale | Brown | RC: “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” Soren Kierkegaard CW: Brown hasn’t played yet, and while plenty of questions abound, I still like them to keep moving in the same positive direction. Also, dropping Kierkegaard on us? So hot right now.

5 | Johns Hopkins | Syracuse | Denver RC: I really liked how Cuse looked. Very unselfish, they played well in unsettled situations, and execution was great. I do worry about how their defense will handle a more dynamic attack group, but their offense will be able to create opportunities against anyone. CW: Denver looked solid in their opening win over Air Force and they did what Denver does: win face offs, score goals after draining possessions, and play smart lacrosse. It’s another year of excellence for the Pioneers, they are the “easy D” of everyone’s top 5. No quotes? Sad face.

6 | Syracuse | Brown | Yale | RC: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell CW: I see what you’re doing Ryan, and I like it. Dude invented stuff, and used his mind brain. Smart. No games for Yale yet, but they do things right in New Haven, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

7 | Virginia | Maryland | Syracuse | RC: I’m still not sold on moving Maryland too much higher just yet. They’re definitely a top ten team, though. CW: You crazy, RC. Watching Cuse play Siena was fun for me, but not that fun for Siena. They came out hot, and pushed it early, but then went back into their shell and lost big. Cuse will do some run’n’gun on you, they’ll slow it down, and they’ll cut the middle all the time. It’s a start wide, constrict, then open, then cut kind of offense this year (at least it was in game 1) and it was fun to watch, and worked out well. Cuse is going to be good, again. Shocker.

8 | Yale | Johns Hopkins | Johns Hopkins | RC: The Jays had a pair of impressive wins this week and are starting the season at full speed. Navy made mistakes that are usually OK in the early season. Against Hopkins, they were not. I really like how this group was playing. CW: Hop is just quietly being awesome early on, like it’s no big thing. Their O looks pretty dynamic right now, and the D looks solid as it should be. As the back end gels, and the O hopefully continues to press and create, Hop could be a contender.  

9 | Loyola | Penn State | Virginia RC: Penn State’s scoring is just impressive. They are getting big games from different people, so while the season is early, that provides quite a bit of confidence in the boys from State College early on. CW: Hi Virginia, how YOU doing? This massive move up in the polls, even over some teams that have not played yet, is NOT just for one win. It’s for using a style of play that can win games down the road. It’s also for a big win early on. Virginia has some depth, they have plenty of talent, and they’re playing inspired, fun lacrosse. I’m on board!

10 | Brown | Loyola | Army | RC: I’m really shocked that Loyola lost to UVA. I would have dropped them further, but I’m not sure a one point loss deserves that big of a hit. This is still a good team. CW: I had Army at 10 or 11, and with a 9-2 win over UMass I can jump them over Loyola, at least for now. Loyola’s loss was a “good” one, but Army won by 7 and only gave up two goals against a solid opponent who should be able to score more than a couple goals. Edge goes to the Cadets.

11 | Penn State | Duke | Loyola | RC: Was I impressed by Duke demolishing a first year program? No. I can’t believe they let in seven goals, to be honest. Michigan gave up eight to Cleveland State in their first ever game just a week ago. CW: Listen, a loss to open the season isn’t always bad, and Loyola looked good in their game against UVa. They used two goalies, got production in runs, and played a good pace for much of the game. I like what they did in a game someone had to lose. Still, losing at home to open the season isn’t a perfect start.

12 | Albany | Navy | Harvard | RC: Navy getting decisively run over by Hopkins early in the week automatically gave me pause, but I chalked that up to just early season jitters. Losing to Maryland was still expected, and they did respond pretty well to runs by the Terps. I am definitely watching Navy much closer going forward. CW: No games yet for Harvard.

13 | Towson | Villanova | Navy | RC: Losing to Monmouth was not a good outing by the Wildcats to start the season. I should drop them further, but too many teams didn’t play after them. CW: I’d like to drop Navy a little further, but it’s hard to do so when the next couple teams below haven’t all played games, or many games, or games against good teams. Ryan and I are trapped by our own rules. Still, he should have dropped ‘Nova further. Navy has two losses, but they are to Hop and Maryland. I still like the Midshipmen, not because of “good” losses, but because they looked good playing during both games against teams I have in my top 10.

14 | Air Force | Rutgers | Rutgers | RC: Rutgers had a solid eight point win down the road against St. John’s. If you’re going to play the role of a slighted team after missing the NCAAs last year, you better start fast. They did. CW: A 16-8 win over St. John’s is fine. Just fine.

15 | Duke | Albany | Marquette | RC: “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” –  Arthur Ashe CW: I see a pattern here, Ryan. No games under Marquette’s belt just yet. Jacksonville soon.

16 | Richmond | Virginia | Air Force | RC: I was really impressed that UVA was able to go up to Loyola and get a win right away. That is a great sign for the team trying to avoid being at the bottom of the ACC… again. CW: I still like the Duke win, but not as much. I don’t love the Denver loss by 8 goals, but I also don’t see why I should move Air Force just yet.

17 | Navy | Army | Penn | RC: Army’s opener was a defensive display by holding UMASS to a mere two goals. I don’t care what your offense does, if you hold someone to two goals, you’re winning that game. CW: Hasn’t played, so they stay.

18 | Rutgers | Air Force | Penn State | RC: I had moved Air force up quite a bit after their win over Duke, then the Denver loss happened. They’re still ranked to me, but that was not a good showing. CW: 36 goals in two wins is good for the PSU offense, but the competition hasn’t been great. Still, I LOVE seeing lots of goals for a Top 20 team. Giving up 26 goals is not something I love as much, but 18-13 wins are fun and scoring is key, so PSU stays.

19 | Ohio State | Harvard | Vermont | RC: “The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” – Elbert Hubbard CW: You get another week for free Vermont, but you’re going to need to win again to stay as others rack up big wins. Holy Cross is on the 18th, so watch out, that’s a trap game for sure.

20 | Marquette | Marquette | Ohio State | RC: “I believe success is preparation, because opportunity is going to knock on your door sooner or later but are you prepared to answer that?” Omar Epps CW: OSU is 2-0, and both wins came by 6 goals. It’s a solid margin of error, and OSU averaging 13 goals a game is good. I definitely get the feeling they’ll need to kick the production of though if they want to compete in the NCAAs.

Ryan’s Others: I’m still watching Cornell, Ohio State, Providence, Bucknell, Vermont, and BU.

Connor’s Others: I still like Duke, but not enough to rank them. Cornell intrigues me. BU was RIGHT THERE, and Towson could be prepared for a rocket style entry and ascension. I also like Bucknell, Richmond is interesting, and Bryant has some kick potentially. Of course all these teams need to win games and impress me, because this is serious. RIGHT?

Media Poll Others: Penn, Army, Bucknell, Harvard, Cornell, Villanova, BU, Vermont, Hartford, Quinnipiac, Monmouth, Michigan

Congrats to Cleveland State on their first goal, by the way. When do we see them in the Top 20? They’re certainly playing enough big name teams to earn a shot!

More lacrosse, coming in hot.