This week’s lacrosse poll is so super duper serious that it’s not even funny. To be fair, it’s NEVER funny, but that’s beside the point. Ryan Conwell and I are both partially flummoxed by the recent results but we are doing so with giant grins on our faces. Why? Because we love lacrosse, and poll movement is the result of an interesting lacrosse season. So we’re happily flabbergasted and perplexed by the results, but also coming up with some good rankings! Also, someone bought a thesaurus.
Other pollsters can (and should) continue to do their poll votes however they want. Ryan and I will continue to do our own thing, and it will all be meaningless and grim, just like nature. Ask the blue-footed booby. Tell me someone gets that reference. Here is Ryan’s take on how the voting went down this week:
This is a tough week for poll voters since there was just so much craziness going on. The toughest thing to reconcile is that many voters come up with some sort of criteria in their head, and then apply that criteria consistently across the entire landscape of teams. Well, after watching the past few weeks happen…HA! Good luck with that. Consistency will not happen.
Transitive property of team A beat B who beat C? Nope. Not gonna work for 20 teams. Want to reward a good win as a good win, or do you want to punish a team for losing to an inferior opponent? Well, let’s look at scoring margin. Syracuse lost by 1 to Army at home? DROP. UNC get blown out by Hopkins? DROP. Hopkins then gets blown out by Princeton while UNC beats Denver on the road? *crickets*.
While I still apply some transitive ranking right now (because you kind of have to at this point in the season), more and more on field results are pouring in, and that’s what matters. I use head to heads to help with close ties or teams and I still have some lingering preseason biases. I have seen almost all of these teams play at least one full game, and several I have watched multiple times. Then of course there is that box score that can tell you some, but not every, thing. Just as it all starts making sense: we’ll enter full on conference play where nothing makes sense. Ever. Except Denver going undefeated in the Big East. But now that I said that, it won’t happen. They’ll lose to like St. John’s or something.
Well that was uplifting! It’s what we do. Now on to our votes.
Super Duper Serious Lacrosse Poll – Week 4
Rank | RC’s Vote | CW’s Vote | RC: comments CW: comments
You can find the Media Poll here.
1 | Notre Dame | Notre Dame | RC: LW: 4. Notre Dame rightfully takes the top spot in this week’s poll for me. Since I’m writing this before the national poll is out, I’m going to assume that most are in agreement. They had a great (while low scoring) win against Maryland, while nearly everyone else in contention for first lost. As a reward for taking the top spot, they have a road trip to Denver followed by their ACC opener at Virginia. CW: What’s not to like in ND as your #1 this week? Unblemished record, plenty of weapons, and we know they’re going to be a contender. Safe bet. I’ll take it during this season of big losses for Top 5 teams. Now they’ll lose big. Greeeeeeaaaaaat. Eh, I’ll take that too. Parity is the spice of life.
2 | Maryland | Maryland | RC: LW: 3. Maryland was tied for #1 in the Media poll last week while I had them at three behind Hopkins and Denver. With both of them losing, it made sense that a 1 point loss on the road to my new #1 isn’t going to drop the Terps much in the rankings. This. Is. A. Very. Good. Team. CW: If ND is #1, and you lose on the road to #1 by a goal, you can be #2, especially if you were ranked highly last week. It’s science. Also, what Conwell said – the Terps are good!
3 | UNC | UNC | RC: LW: 5. OK, this pick is a little off for me. UNC at three does feel a little odd. I would have dropped them further, but with everyone around them, it didn’t make sense to me. They played Hopkins well for most of their game before Hopkins went on a serious run. I didn’t knock them much for that loss. Then they beat my #1, so I’m going to give them a nod. I wasn’t going to move Cuse higher than the Tar Heels just yet, so that’s kind of how they wind up at 3 for me. It’s a precarious 3, though. CW: Conwell and I agree on our top 3. It’s a laxmas miracle. UNC lost to Hop, yes. But they also went on the road and took down an impressive Denver team. They could be anywhere from #3 to #7 and I’d be ok with it right now.
4 | Denver | Denver | RC: LW: 1. Denver just could not keep up with North Carolina in this game and at the end, the Tar Heels would extinguish any hope of a serious comeback. For the Tar Heels, it had to feel great. For the Pios, maybe not. I did not drop them much in my rankings for this loss, and I probably won’t if they lose next week to Notre Dame as well. Playing a really tough schedule has its benefits. CW: Are we really 4 four 4 now, Ryan? We don’t even do this together. Maybe we’re on to something here? My top 5 is really fluid right now, bruh.
5 | Syracuse | Penn State | RC: LW: 6. Man, I should not have Syracuse this high. They are just bad at ground balls. Bad. Very bad. Maybe a change of scenery (and an easier opponent) will help them a little bit. They have had three nail biters in a row at home and now get to go visit St. John’s in their first road game of the season. Unfortunately, they then get Hopkins, Duke, and Notre Dame. Hopefully they use this St. John’s game to figure out how to play well in the first half. I have them this high because they lost by 1 to an Army team I think highly of and beat Albany and UVA by one, who are also both good teams. CW: If anything was going to break our stride for stride votes, it was going to be Syracuse. I’d expect nothing less. Penn State doesn’t have a loss and their win quality is improving. Consistency is nice early on, and PSU has it. I’m becoming a believer, but rewarding them now for their wins. PSU could be #2 or #8 and I’d be fine with it.
6 | Penn State | Rutgers | RC: LW: 7. Penn State is getting plenty of deservedly good attention right now. They finally played a nationally relevant opponent and almost lost. But, their ridiculous offense kicked into high gear once again and they were able to top the Quakers at home. They get their scoring from seemingly a different person each time and they’re pretty much all underclassmen. Not only is Penn State playing great lacrosse, but they’re building a very solid foundation for the next few years. CW: What is happening for PSU is also happening for Rutgers. They’ve won some good games, in different ways, and I like it. I’m very results oriented. Unless your one loss is to a top team, teams like Rutgers and PSU should be above you at least for now.
7 | Johns Hopkins | Army | RC: LW: 2. Oh, Hopkins. What happened? Hopkins was looking unbeatable. I’m not even exaggerating here. They were playing great in every phase of the game from day one of this season and it looked like it was their championship to lose. Well, now they came crashing back to earth, and hard. In a Friday afternoon game that should have been a formality, Hopkins was steamrolled by Princeton. Princeton was barely on the Ivy radar behind Yale, Brown, Cornell, and Harvard. That looks like it might be changing. CW: Look at Army’s resume, then tell me they don’t deserve to be here. Go ahead, I’ll wait. See? They do belong here. Reward the winners.
8 | Loyola | Syracuse | RC: LW: 9. Loyola has another win! They have now climbed above .500 after suffering two one goal losses to start the season against Virginia and Hopkins. They are 2-0 in the Patriot League with their win over Holy Cross, which is a great spot to be for the Greyhounds. Duke is up next, which would be a fantastic win that should cement them in the top 10 barring a major setback. CW: Cuse at 8 isn’t bad, but I couldn’t put them above Army right now, not based on results. That can change as these two teams’ seasons play out, but for now that head to head matters.
9 | Rutgers | Penn | RC: LW: 10. Rutgers is really looking good. Wins over Brown and Army have the Scarlet Knights flirting with the real possibility of going into conference play undefeated. Stony Brook and Princeton are next, and both teams have proven that they can show up ready to play anyone. Rutgers is putting together something that could be special, though. CW: Penn’s loss to Penn State doesn’t really drop them in my eyes. I can’t understand why it would. PSU is good, right? So how bad is this loss really? Excusing a loss by Hop or UNC or Denver means you might want to give Penn the same benefit, at least if you think PSU is good, which everyone seemingly does.
10 | Albany | Virginia | RC: LW: 12. Albany has responded to their opening loss to Syracuse by absolutely blowing out teams every chance they get. Since Cuse, they haven’t scored less than 17 or allowed more than eight goals in a game, but this has been against three winless teams. Now we’ll see if they can keep that up. They face Maryland next, which is a great test. Was Cuse the fluke? Can they beat other top 10 teams, or will they be banished to needing the America Easy AQ for postseason hopes? CW: Yes, Virginia JUST lost, but they lost to Cuse on the road, and have some solid wins. Dropping Virginia because of a one goal loss to 15 or below doesn’t add up.
11 | Yale | Johns Hopkins | RC: LW: 8. Yale has still only played three games, and I am increasingly unsure what to think of them. They almost beat Maryland in Maryland, but then they go and lose to Bryant at home. Unfortunately, I still won’t really know what I think of them for a while. They have winless UMass next, followed by Fairfield and Cornell before they play Princeton in late March. This is just an odd team right now. CW: I’m not going to give up on Hopkins or forget their big wins, but losing to Princeton in epic fashion did not help their case. Some of the Princeton guys were in class until 2pm for a 3pm game and Hopkins made the two hour an overnight trip with a hotel stay and everything. There are NO excuses for a loss this bad. It’s a real ding on their otherwise impressive resume. It’s like a Mercedes missing a rear door. Now, to be fair, Princeton may be better than we all thought, but this wasn’t a one goal loss, this was a drubbing. Can you still drive a car with no door? Of course, and it might even take you to Memorial Day Weekend, but it raises real concerns, such as never fall asleep in the backseat without a seatbelt on. I don’t think Hopkins deserves to drop precipitously, with their other quality wins, but they do deserve to drop, and Princeton deserves to climb. I’ll get to that later.
12 | Army | Loyola | RC: LW: 15. Army’s win over Cuse is really looking better with the Orange topping Virginia. Their Patriot schedule is very back loaded, so their toughest games don’t show up for a few weeks. For the most part, their spot in the poll will likely rely on others more than them since I expect the Black Knights to just keep winning. CW: Loyola is a total sleeper at 12. They could be properly placed, or they could go on a run and win all of their remaining games, working their way into the Top 2 or 3. Anything is possible. Right now their body of work puts them here, but they can move a lot, and relatively quickly. A team to continue to watch.
13 | Penn | Albany | RC: LW: 16. Like Yale, Penn is just three games into the season which include a close win over Virginia, and they almost topped Penn State on the road. I barely had Penn on my radar to start the season, but I’m becoming more of a believer. Their midweek game against Navy will be very interesting to see. CW: Albany is solid all around, a little under-sized, but solid. They can move the ball, and if their offense gels and improves on a team level, they can get better.
14 | Virginia | Yale | RC: LW: 17. The Cavs had a nice midweek win over High Point before running up to the Dome to see Syracuse. It was a sort of homecoming for new head coach Lars Tiffany, who grew up right down route 81 in Lafayette. They took advantage of the trip and went to see famed stick maker Alfie Jacques as part of their itinerary. Unfortunately, that magic of visiting the Onondaga Nation did not rub off on them as they lost a heartbreaker to Cuse. It was an amazing game and a true throwback to fast break lacrosse between these schools in years past. CW: I had Yale high, and I liked how they looked against Maryland… but then they played Bryant at home, and looked… less than stellar. Bryant is athletic, and they play good control lacrosse, but if Yale is a Top 5 team or even Top 10 team right NOW, they don’t lose this game. It was not a good effort from the Yale side, Bryant just played more disciplined lacrosse. When that happens to a discipline team like Yale, you have to drop them a number of spots. It’s only fair.
15 | Duke | Boston University | RC: LW: 11. Duke won and I dropped them four spots. They needed a big comeback to top Richmond in a game where the Spiders were really favored according to the national media poll. I don’t care what’s going on with the Blue Devils, this is a game they should win. They squeaked out a close out, but all is not well with Coach Danowski’s squad. They have Loyola next, which would be a terrific statement win for them. CW: Boston University deserves some love. Don’t write them off because they are a newer program. They are winning games, and lots of them, against very solid programs. Theses aren’t blowouts, but a win is a win, right? BU has 6 of them.
16 | Richmond | Stony Brook | RC: LW: 14. Richmond almost had the Blue Devils locked away, but couldn’t slow down the tide. They have not beaten anyone with a winning record, and their best game to date was Duke, which was a one goal loss. I like Richmond. I do. But, I think we need to ease up on their expectations a little bit right now in the season. CW: Stony Brook has some weapons, and they can score to win or play defensive lacrosse. Their poles are big and tough, and their offense has some young guns making an impact. Face offs could be a season long concern.
17 | Boston University | Princeton | RC:.LW: 18. The Terriers are 6-0 with wins over Navy and Air Force as well as other New England programs. What’s crazy is that if Brown continues to falter, and they beat Harvard and Holy Cross, BU may be able to stake a rightful claim to the best team in New England. Considering how young of a program this is, that’s quite a feat. But this team is playing some great lacrosse and has some big time players on the roster. CW: Princeton makes an appearance for that big win over Hop. Did they lose to Hofstra? Sure did, but I have them in at #19, so it’s cool. It’s cool honey bunny. Be cool. Princeton deserves to be ranked according to all logic that exists anywhere ever.
18 | Ohio State | Ohio State | RC: LW: UR. I dropped Brown and Marquette from my rankings this week and scanned the D1 landscape for who to add in. While their schedule isn’t anything to brag about, I decided to give a nod to the 6-0 Buckeyes. 6-0 is still 6-0. They have Cleveland State next, which should be a healthy win, so I’ll probably have them here next week as well. CW: Thanks to the Creator, Ryan and I agree again. What he said.
19 | Navy | Hofstra | RC: LW: 19. Navy is a team I really wanted to drop, but their schedule has been much tougher than others who are in contention for this spot. Their losses are to Hopkins, Maryland, and a BU team who I consider pretty good. They have wins over a 4-3 Delaware team and 2-3 Bucknell. Not great wins, but not bad losses. I won’t lose any sleep by still saying Navy is a top 20 team. CW: Hofstra is having a solid season, and they beat Princeton earlier, which may mean something. You might be thinking “HOFSTRA, REALLY?” but look them up, they’re doing well, and deserving of a 19 spot.
20 | Stony Brook | Harvard | RC: LW: UR. The Seawolves move into my top 20 this week pretty much because they’re 4-0, have a monster win over Brown, and their close win over Sacred Heart is actually looking a little better after the Pioneers knocked off Providence. There are plenty of other deserving teams to give the #20 spot to, but I’m going with Stony Brook. So there. Oh, I’ve also gotten all the way through this without saying anything about Connor. He’s wrong. About stuff. I’m sure of it. CW: Harvard is winning games, but I don’t love how they are doing it. This is probably my most unfair placement of the week, as I usually reward winning, but just don’t see this as sustainable throughout the season. I’m probably looking forward to far with this placement, but it is what it is. Prove me wrong, I won’t mind at all.
Ryan’s Others: everyone
Connor’s Others: Marist, Towson, Duke, Michigan, Richmond, and some others. Maybe.