I’m feeling confident this week, folks, and it’s because a lot of my poll picks are panning out in serious way, and it’s starting to become plainly obvious that my poll votes might just be the best lacrosse poll in the country. My dartboard method of selection is really paying off now!
Hopefully you’re picking up on the sarcasm above, because I was laying it on pretty thick. ALL POLLS ARE MEANINGLESS AND GRIM. That’s actually not sarcasm. It’s just an accurate Futurama quote about nature, which also applies to polling. Things switch up a lot around here. Try to keep pace.
In all seriousness, while many Media Pollsters were visibly troubled on Twitter this week by their poll choices and how they would place teams, both Ryan Conwell and I simply looked at our polls from last week, and adjusted ever so slightly. Why did everyone else go crazy and switch things around so much this week, while Ryan and I did not? Because we’ve been putting together insane polls all season long, and now that the insane results are flooding in, we are actually right!
WAIT, WHAT? How is that possible? I don’t know and I can’t explain it, but it is what it is. Two guys, one from Boston who now lives in New York, and one from New York who now lives in Boston, are doing this right. It’s Ryan and I. or Ryan and me. or Me and Ryan. Ryan and some combination of myself. Grammar.
Best Lacrosse Poll In The Country
Rank | RC’s Vote | CW’s Vote | RC: comments CW: comments
1 | Rutgers | Rutgers | RC: LW: 4 Rutgers had a solid 5 goal win over Princeton this week and are now sitting at 8-0. Of all the undefeated teams, I feel most comfortable with Rutgers at the moment, but I could see an argument for Ohio State to be honest. I swear, if these two teams stay undefeated all the way up to their matchup to end the regular season on April 29th, the lacrosse world might explode. CW: I put Rutgers at #1 last week, and everyone laughed, except Rutgers. Although OSU had a stellar win over Denver, Rutgers also won a good game, so I’m not docking them for winning. I’ll let everyone else do that for no good reason. I did say on Twitter that I would bump OSU to #1, but I didn’t, because I’m a big fat phony.
2 | Army | Ohio State | RC: LW: 8 Army was one of my bigger jumps this week. Basically, Maryland and Denver losing opened up two spots in my top 5. With Rutgers already at one, this spot was tougher to fill. Notre Dame was of course an option, but having only lost to Denver, that was made slightly worse. Army has only lost to Rutgers, but has beaten Cuse. Other than those, they’ve really taken care of business. CW: Woah, I like Conwell’s Army pick at #2! That’s risky and I approve 100%. For me, OSU hasn’t lost, they beat Denver in convincing fashion and… look really good. To not have Rutgers and OSU in your Top 3 means you are uninterested in actual results and are only focused on your own confirmation bias. These teams have earned it, you need to give it to them. Stop living in the past everyone!
3 | Ohio State | Penn State | RC: LW: 16 There’s no other way to say it, but Ohio State embarrassed Denver. The Buckeye defense was a brick wall for nearly the entire game. They stripped the ball, knocked down passes, and won their matchups. On offense, they made easy shots, hard shots, and everything in between. There were not many teams that could have been them like this. With this being the first major test they had, the world was watching and Ohio State delivered. If they repeat this against Notre Dame, they may have become the team to beat.. CW: Penn State or Hofstra for #3? I didn’t know so I went with the team that has played more games. I like PSU’s wins though, and my 3 and 4 teams are pretty much interchangeable this week. Something I don’t like? How people are only focused on PSU’s offense! They are a good overall lacrosse team, don’t write them off as offense only. Like not putting OSU or Rutgers in your Top 3, writing PSU off as offense only is nothing short of foolish.
4 | Notre Dame | Hofstra | RC: LW: 2 Notre Dame won a nail biter down in Virginia a week after losing to Denver in the final seconds. They have Ohio State up next, which has all of a sudden turned into a great test for their defense. This program has built its reputation on slowing down everyone, and Ohio State proved against Denver that they can adapt. This game just became way more interesting. CW: All four of my top 4 teams are undefeated, and deserve to be in the Top 4. At this point, if you haven’t lost and you’ve played some decent teams, you deserve the love. That can change, but for now it is what it is. I can’t stand pollsters who value their own “feelings” over actual results. You want to do that in week 2? Cool, go for it. Now you have an actual sample size of 5+ games per team, maybe take a look at it? For example, if you have Maryland in your Top 5, or even Top 10, you are not being honest. Who have they beaten? NO ONE in the Top 20, that’s who.
5 | Syracuse | Notre Dame | RC: LW: 5 With all the other movement in front of them, I could have moved the Orange up a little higher, but I just can’t do it. They’ve had serious ground ball issues for weeks, and that costs them meaningful possessions. Against Hopkins, they played timid offense and it was not a good look at all. Duke and Notre Dame are up next, and both could lead to more close games. They’ve already had 5 one goal games in a row, so let’s just plan on it happening again. CW: ND is solid, and they showed they can win games with some flare and drama, but they have also shown an ability to get bogged down by slow play and low-scoring games. I’m a HUGE proponent of the “never stop scoring” (Unless you’re up by 15 goals) mentality, and ND seems to lack that in a major way. They have a great D, but I don’t think they’ll ever break through without a more consistent offensive approach. Loosen the leash a little!
Ok, so I guess a long stick did score their game winner this weekend, and that’s a looser leash. I like it!
6 | Penn State | Princeton | RC: LW: 6 Penn State was so close to losing to Fairfield on Friday, but were able to turn things around just in time to steal the win. As time has gone on, their wins have looked weaker as their close games that seemed good now have their opponents losing bad ones. Cleveland State is up next, so expect to see some gaudy numbers from the Nittany Lions. After that, it’s all Big Ten, so stuff gets real. CW: ONE of the Ivy League teams is really good, and right now I have my money on Princeton. What’s not to like? If you respect Hofstra, respecting Princeton is easy. Again, focus on RESULTS and this is a piece of cake. Focus on your confirmation bias, and you’ll struggle to have it all make sense.
7 | Albany | Army | RC: LW: 7 Another game, another 17 points scored. After losing to Syracuse 10-9, they have scored 19, 17, 17, and 17 points while never allowing more than eight goals again. Their schedule has been weaker, but these are some big numbers. I still wish they had played Maryland, but you have to do what mother nature says, sometime. Albany should wind up with no more than two or three losses heading into their conference tournament, but I’m not so sure they get into the NCAA without an AQ unless they win out. CW: Army is looking solid all over. I lack the conviction and confidence to pull a Conwell and put them at #2, but I can see them as a Top 5 team right now. Keep winning and they could get there for me too.
8 | Denver | Syracuse | RC: LW: 1 Denver took over as number 1 for me last week, then laid a massive egg out in Ohio. There was nothing good to say about Denver in that game. Not one thing. I really try not to overreact to a single game, but the knee jerk reaction was to throw the Pioneers down well into the teens for that game. I doubt we see another performance like that, though. CW: Hi Syracuse, you’re good, but I’m not sold on your ability to win big games. Ground balls continue to be a concern for me. Offense is good 6v6, and face offs are good, but GBs overall are still a nightmare for the Orange.
9 | Maryland | Albany | RC: LW: 3 Maryland is now in a two game skid after being at number one in the country. The loss to Notre Dame was understandable, but losing at home to Villanova? I loved listening to Ryan Flanagan during that game as he was literally calling out how to beat Maryland as it happened. Exposing substitutions, broken situations, etc. If you wanted a blueprint for how to beat the Terps, this one was it. CW: The Danes have my eyes and I’m paying attention. This is a smaller team, but they’re feisty and hungry, and they win GBs when they have to. They will push it if they can, or tire you out with longer possessions. They take what they can, and I like that.
10 | Hofstra | Denver | RC: LW: 14 Hofstra narrowly escaped Providence, who is a good team, but I don’t think it puts Hofstra into top 5 territory. I could have them higher, as many do, but their schedule is what really holds me back. They could very well go through the entire season undefeated when you glance at what is ahead of them. They could also go undefeated, but still not be the #1 team. This sort of thing happens all the time in other sports, but that’s why conference power matters. Their best wins all season are going to be either UNC or Princeton. Both were by two goals, which is also how much they beat Monmouth ad Georgetown by. CW: Listen I still think Denver is good, but that was a shellacking they just took from OSU, so to keep them up near the top would be nothing short of complete insanity. Keeping Denver ranked over Hofstra? RIGHT NOW, that is criminal based on what the teams have both done. Denver over Rutgers, PSU, or OSU? Also patently insane. But some people will do it, and then trick themselves into thinking it was a smart move. Maybe it will be in the future, but right now it is not a good look. That’s why we do polls each week, and not once a season.
11 | Duke | Richmond | RC: LW:11 The Blue Devils are just about to start their ACC schedule and seem to be prepped just in time for it. They had two wins this weak over Jacksonville and Georgetown., both games they should have won. Their trip up to Syracuse is going to be their biggest test since a five point loss to Denver. Think Duke can make this another one goal game for the Orange? CW: The Spiders are hungry, and while I may be giving their record too much respect, they do have a “big” win over UNC, and one big win is more than many teams can say right now.
12 | Richmond | UNC | RC: LW:13 The Spiders scored a fantastic victory over UNC, proving they really do belong in the national conversation still. All their wins are solid and they are currently .500 vs. the ACC. Any team in any conference would be pretty happy about that. With UVA coming up soon, they can improve their standing a little bit more. I still think Richmond is in AQ territory, though. CW: UNC is solid, and maybe they make a run like they did last year, but it’s not looking great right now for that outcome. UNC needs to kick things up a notch, and know that they can’t sneak up on people anymore. Not ever. It’s a different ball game when that’s the case and UNC seems to be experiencing it again. It’s been a while since 1993, so it’s actually a good place to be, but the Heels need to step it up, and step it up soon. The potential is still there.
13 | UNC | Maryland | 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: If I have one team where I am personally struggling to let go of my own confirmation bias, it is with Maryland. Honestly, they have ZERO Top 20 wins, two losses, and they just dropped a game to unranked Villanova. It was ugly, ugly lacrosse by the Terps in that one. Even the attempted comeback was really sloppy at times. What the heck is going on in College Park? They have all the pieces, a great coach… it makes no sense, but the Terps are underperforming in a major way, all across the field. One more week like this and they could drop out of my Top 20 altogether. I can’t believe I just wrote that. I think the Terps are better than that, but look at their results. It is simply NOT showing very well right now.
14 | Virginia | Boston University | RC: LW: 10 The cardiac Cavs were on the losing side of OT after being winners a week ago in extra time out in California. Out of their 8 games, UVA has been in five one goal games. They have a good mix of winnable games, and tough opponents left, so all is not lost. Being 0-2 in the ACC is not good, though. The really need to beat UNC and Duke to have a hope of avoiding the Penn consolation game in late April. Again. CW: BU was undefeated, I had them at #5, then they lost to an unranked 2-4 team in Bucknell by 6 goals. Losses are ok, but losses to 2-4 teams are suspect. BU gets one more week to get the train back on the tracks.
15 |Princeton | Duke | RC: LW: 19 Slowly moving up. CW: OK Duke, this is early for you to be in good form, and it’s early for me to be ranking you, but we both know how this works – you save your best stuff for last, and we all look stupid. I see you.
16 | Johns Hopkins | Towson | RC: LW:12 After having the hottest of hot starts with four good wins, Hopkins is in a three game skid with UVA and the entire B1G left. The Jays need to get things turned around. They currently are last in their conference, which is looking better and better by the day. They were in this spot a few years ago and spun it into a conference championship, an NCAA bid, and then a final four. Thinking that sort of magic will happen again is just wishful thinking. 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. I said the same thing last week and the week before – still true.
17 | Loyola | Michigan | RC: LW: 17 The Greyhounds had a convincing win over Navy, following a bad loss to Duke a week ago. They’re in a good spot in the Patriot League, and it looks like they need it. With only one win over a team with a winning record, their out of conference record is weak. Good losses don’t matter when the NCAA field gets announced. They are looking for that AQ. CW: Wolverines, came in hot last week at 7-1, with a loss to Notre Dame, and a recent win over Penn. No games last week, but have a huge line up of tests coming towards them. Maybe they didn’t schedule any games so they could break in some traditional pockets? A man can dream. A man can dream.
18 | Michigan | Virginia | RC: LW: UR CW: How good is Virginia? Honestly, I don’t think we’ll know until the season is over. There are so many changes going on, you can get good or bad on any day, even on the same day! This is a team that could lose in the first round of the ACC or win a national title.
19 | Boston University | Johns Hopkins | RC: LW: 15 BU finally lost a game, which happened earlier than I would have thought. Bucknell was turning into what felt like a very disappointing season. BU losing to them by 6 is a big let down for the surging Terriers. They get to play their neighbor Harvard next, which might turn into a close one. BU needs a win as their schedule is very back loaded. CW: When Hop unleashes their offense they look great. When Hop plays slow down, control “Hop lacrosse” it’s boring and they look terrible. This has been true for the last 5 years and yet I feel like no one else will say it. Listen, Petro terrifies me too and I only met him once for 5 seconds and a fence was between us. But I have to say this about Hop, as terrified as I am – You have skill players, let them use their SKILL!!!!! You’re not a grind it out, run the ball all three downs football team, you are GOD DAMNED JOHNS HOPKINS LACROSSE. Now, play like it… please? Seriously, this team underperforming so often is actually killing me. They have more talent than most, and this is what they’re doing? Makes no sense at all. None. I mean it’s one thing if you’re going undefeated all the time, but JHU does not do that. They lose games. They’ve lost 3 this year, and lost SEVEN in 2016 and SEVEN in 2015. Maybe the slow down game really isn’t such a great idea? You have such good players, let them play. Or lose 7 games again in 2017. I don’t really care (I actually do), so it’s your call Hop.
20 | Towson | Loyola | RC: LW: 18 I may have Towson lower than most if not all poll voters, but primarily I feel like that’s due to preseason expectations. I wasn’t too big on Towson to start the year based on who they graduated. Beating Hopkins was great, but Hop is looking shaky in the middle of a 3 game skid. They lost to Ohio State, which isn’t the end of the world, but they also lost to Loyola. Their tough draw is Denver next, who is going to be looking to make a major statement after their loss to Ohio State.. CW: I almost put Binghamton here, but their results really aren’t any better than Loyola’s results and I’ve seen both play. I like Loyola a little better. For now.
Ryan’s Others: everyone
Connor’s Others: Binghamton