The only thing that exists this week in the world of polling is a VERY BAD lacrosse poll. Mine will be amongst the worst, tied with everyone else’s for last place. Even the UNC Ram is grumpy!
Why will all the polls be so bad this week?
Because lots of really good teams lost to other really good teams (and some not so good team), and when you combine that with an already wacky regular season filled with plenty of “surprising” results, there is no way to be truly consistent with your picks AND make your early picks seems sensible. Homerism, baseless assumptions, fear, and more come creeping into your mind, and you end up making bad decisions.
The way I TRY to get around this is to divide the D1 teams into buckets, where they need to meet certain criteria in order to earn a certain spot. It doesn’t matter what I thought early on, it only matters how Team X is performing THIS YEAR. It’s not May, it’s early March. Let’s go from there!
No Good, Very Bad Lacrosse Poll
Rank | RC’s Vote | CW’s Vote | RC: comments CW: comments
You can find the Media Poll here. It’s not a bad lacrosse poll. None are really. They’re all just wrong. Including this one.
I will let you know where my buckets start and end, what the criteria was for each bucket, and then how teams fell into order in their buckets.
CW Bucket #1 – Undefeated, 5+ Games – If you’ve played 5+ games and you haven’t lost, AND you’ve played at least one other “good” team (general unscientific standards), then you can be in my Top 5. At what point do YOU start ranking undefeated teams in your Top 5? Maybe I’m early on this, but I’m going for it. Rewarding winners.
1 | Denver | Rutgers | RC: LW: 4 Denver’s last second win over Notre Dame was another big statement for them. They had just suffered a huge loss to UNC, so getting a big win like this will do wonders for them in May. The Big East is not going to give them the strength of schedule they need for good seedings, so games like this carry more weight for them. CW: I’ve gone completely crazy and put Rutgers as my number 1 team. They are good, there is no question. Do they deserve the #1 spot? Maybe, but I’m giving it to them. Of the 5 undefeated teams, I think Rutgers is the best one, so they are my #1 this week.
2 | Notre Dame | Penn State | RC: LW: 1 Notre Dame was handed their first loss of the year on the road. By no measure was this a bad loss. They start their ACC schedule next week with a game against Virginia, so things just keep on rolling for the Irish, who may have one of the toughest schedules in the country. CW: Penn State was around 20 for me early on, and I doubted them as they kept winning, so at a certain point, I kind of owed Penn State a serious jump in the polls. This is that week. They keep getting it done, how do you keep them down? Not for a good reason, that’s how.
3 | Maryland | Hofstra | RC: LW: 2 I really, really wanted to have Maryland and Albany play this weekend for rankings purposes. This game would have really helped provide a great reference point for both teams. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. CW: Listen, Hofstra is undefeated, they beat UNC on the road, and they are just getting it done. Maybe you think UNC is a better team later in the season? That’s fine! But ranking UNC above Hofstra right now looks the results in the face and spits on them. Don’t spit on results. At least not in the face. It’s just rude.
4 | Rutgers | Ohio State | RC: LW: 9 I gave the Scarlett Knights a big bump this week, but it wasn’t just because they beat up on Stony Brook. That did help, but the bigger factor is that Rutgers probably has the best schedule to date among the undefeated teams. Their midweek game against Princeton will be another great test. CW: I’m willing to bet no one else has a Top 4 like mine, which means no one has an undefeated top 4. OSU is winning games they used to lose, and while the margins aren’t huge, they play team lacrosse and look good doing so. I’ve seen OSU play a couple times now and they are a very different team from 2016. Can they keep it up? Signs point to yes right now.
5 | Syracuse | Boston University | RC: LW: 5 Syracuse “survived” against St. John’s, who they should have routed. Keep in mind that this game was played in weather that forced many teams to postpone their games while it was Syracuse’s first game out of the Carrier Dome. Sure, I’m giving excuses. So? Their only blemish so far is a one goal loss to a very good Army team. Travelling to Hopkins next will be a great check on where Syracuse sits CW: BU is 6-0 and their last 3 wins are over Navy, Bryant, and Air Force. I can think of some teams many people will rank above BU who lost to Air Force (Duke) or Bryant (Yale), and I can also see people using a close Navy win as reason to prop up Maryland or Hopkins. BU did the same thing. When you look at results, BU deserves to be here for now.
CW Bucket #2 – One Loss, 4+ Games – This next group is a HUGE one, and it’s where most people’s top 3-5 teams will fall. It’s a little unfair because some teams have played harder games, but at the end of the day, winning matters. Since it’s how they determine champions, it REALLY matters! So right now, doing a poll for RIGHT NOW, I’m looking for winners. This isn’t Ouija, it’s about rewarding teams for what they have DONE!
6 | Penn State | Denver | RC: LW: 6 I really like the win up at Harvard as they held off a late rally. This team is coming back to earth now in terms of offensive production. What bugs me so far with not putting Penn State higher is their best wins are against Ivy League teams that are very, very shaky right now. That’s the main reason I had Rutgers leapfrog them this week.. CW: I can see a lot of people having Denver at #1 right now, which makes some sense, but I’d rather give the Pioneers something to shoot for. Just kidding, they lost a game, so for now they can’t be my #1. This early on, that still makes some sense.
7 | Albany | Notre Dame | RC: LW: 10 I really wish Albany had player Maryland this week. But, that will be for a later date. The Danes move up a few spots because of a couple losses by teams ahead of them. Not a bad deal. CW: Am I the only person in the world with ND at #7 or lower? Probably. Do they deserve to be out of the Top 5? Probably not. Will they get back into the Top 5? Probably definitely. ND is really good, but they caught an L, and that’s not what I’m looking for right now.
8 | Army | Maryland | RC: LW: 12 Army pulled out a win over Lehigh that was definitely closer then I feel it should have been. With NJIT next, the Black Knights are going to use that as a final tune-up before the run head first into the meat of their Patriot League schedule. Just based on where I see them now, I do feel like they are the team to beat in this league. CW: Maryland, like Denver and ND, is very good. Probably top 5 for much of the rest of the season, but we’re not there yet. Right now they’re 8. Deal with it!
9 | UNC | Princeton | RC: LW: 3 UNC had righted their ship against Denver only to have it sunk by Hofstra at home. I think the Tar Heels are going to love being road warriors this season as their home digs have not been kind so far this year. Richmond is up next and it should be a good one. But UNC should win it. CW: Hey there Tigers, how YOU doing? I’m basing this pick on their PLAY ON THE FIELD, and nothing else. Princeton looks good, prognosticators be damned. Reward them! This is a team you can make an argument for right now. They have one loss, to Hofstra, who is UNDEFEATED. They beat Hop BIG at home. Next up is Rutgers… WOOOOOO!
10 | Virginia | Army | RC: LW: 14 This may be too high for the ‘Hoos, but I really don’t feel great about others around them just yet. Cornell gave them a game they could not have been expecting from the Big Red out in California. Their next three games are a gauntlet of Notre Dame, Hopkins, and Richmond. It’s possible they come out of that series at .500. If they do, it means they’re 0-2 in the ACC. Not a great spot to be in. CW: Army is a really good one loss team with a great road win. What else do they have to do to make it into the Top 10?
11 | Duke | Syracuse | RC: LW: 15 Duke has one bad loss and one good loss. Their 8 point win over Loyola was a very good win. Jacksonville and Georgetown are next, which should both be wins for the Blue Devils before the see Syracuse in two weeks. That game will tell us a lot about both teams. CW: I’m not giving up on Cuse, but I’m not letting this poor play slide. Wins are wins, and Cuse has a bunch of them, but they look sloppy, and a little predictable at times. It’s still early, but any higher than here and the Orange make me nervous right now.
12 | Johns Hopkins | Albany | RC: LW: 7 Hopkins has now dropped two in a row after looking unbeatable after their first four game. The prestige of their first two wins has dwindled a bit, as does their close win over Loyola. Beating North Carolina is still a huge win, but following that with the losses they did is not good. Hosting Syracuse next will probably refuel the team as that great historical matchup typically does. CW: Albany isn’t the biggest team out there, but they have “big team” fight in them, plenty of skill, and can play fast or slow. I like the Danes still, and the results so far are good.
13 | Richmond | UNC | RC: LW: 16 I moved up Richmond not because of their win over VMI (which scared me for most of the game, to be honest), but because of other losses. Loyola, & Penn dropping were both beneficial for the Spiders. They still have a pair of ACC games left, but it’s all SoCon outside of those. This looks like their conference to lose right now. CW: Ok, so I’m breaking my own rule here with UNC, and honestly I don’t even know why. The loss to Hop is super questionable, and the recent loss to Hofstra only saves them because Hofstra is now good. It’s weird how that works, or doesn’t work. In my mind, right now, it works.
14 | Hofstra | Virginia | RC: LW: UR Hofstra was on the radar as one of them handful of unbeatens last week. I gave the ranking nod to Stony Brook, but Hofstra was right in that conversation as well. By going down and beating UNC, they definitely earned a spot solidly in the poll. The could certainly be higher, but their schedule just doesn’t quite to it for me. Should they be in the CAA conference championship? Yes. Is the CAA a two bid league this season? It’s definitely making the case for it right now. CW: I really thought UVa would trounce Cornell out in California, but I was wrong. The Hoos still won, so I’ll let it slide, but Cornell is Struggle City right now, and getting into a shootout with them after going down big early raises some serious questions. Also I broke my own rule here (again), but I’m 100% ok with it for UVa.
15 |Boston University | Richmond | RC: LW: 17 BU delayed their game a few days, so they were idle. They moved up a few spots thanks to Penn and Loyola, though. CW: Spiders looking solid. What’s not to like exactly?
16 | Ohio State | Towson | RC: LW: 18 THE Ohio State University is still undefeated, but their schedule makes that seem more impressive than it is. They have wins over teams with the following records: 1-6, 2-6, 1-4, 0-5, 3-2, 1-5, & 2-6. That’s it for easy games, though. Now they have Towson, Denver, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Hopkins all in a row. We will quickly see how for real this team is. CW: Towson is climbing now, and looking like I thought they might look. Only problem was that they didn’t look good early on, but now they do. Funny how that happens.
17 | Loyola | Michigan | RC:.W: 8 This might be the most I’ve dropped a team this year in one week, but with a big loss to Duke, I find this team really difficult to gauge. They could be brilliant, they could be mediocre. What they definitely are in inconsistent. They should win their next several games, so expect their ranking to rise, but I’m not very comfortable with this team right now. CW: Wolverines, coming in hot. 7-1, a loss to Notre Dame, and a recent win over Penn. Bring in the UM for the week, but will they stay? Big test with Maryland on April 1st, then Rutgers, OSU, Hop, and PSU to finish out. Love the start!
18 | Towson | Harvard | RC: LW: UR I finally ranked Towson. I was not big on the Tigers at all to start the season. I did not like their losses to graduation and just was underwhelmed early on. Now with a big win over Hopkins under their belt, they’re starting to look like a real threat once again. I love that their schedule sets them up for a regular season finale against Hofstra in what could be a game for the CAA regular season title and conference seeding priority. CW: Harvard is good, but they make me doubt them at times. Close loss to PSU helps as PSU is balling, but I have still have questions.
19 | Princeton | Marist | RC: LW: UR The Hopkins win put this team officially on the radar for many. Now with the Ivy wide open, their sole loss to Hofstra not looking so bad, and a pending match with Rutgers on the horizon, the Tigers seem justified for taking one of the final poll spots for me. CW: Look, this Marist pick is a little crazy, but I’m ok with it. Sure, they have 2 losses, so again I’m breaking my own rule, and YES, they just lost to UMBC (what was I thinking?) but there is something about the Red Foxes that I like. I don’t even know what it is. This is what happens when you break your own rules!
20 | Penn | Duke | RC: LW: 16 Is any team as manic as Penn? Close loss to Penn State, big win over UVA, win over Navy, now a loss to…Michigan? This was the biggest win for the Wolverines that they have ever had. But, the other side to that is this was a terrible loss by Penn. I still didn’t have them very high last week, but I didn’t quite feel that it was right yet to take them off the lost completely. They are close, though. CW: I don’t know… Duke sure seems like a Top 20 team, but sometimes they look like a Top 40 team at best, while at other times they look a Top 5 program. Oh, right… it’s Duke and we know nothing until late April.
Ryan’s Others: everyone
Connor’s Others: Hop, Yale, Providence, Sacred Heart, Stony Brook, Penn, Binghamton.