We break down the latest College Power Rankings.
March 9, 2016 by Charlie Eisenhood and Keith Raynor in Rankings with 8 comments
The latest Division I College Power Rankings are now live! Now that we are well into the 2016 regular season, it’s time for a closer look at the rankings.
1. Wisconsin – The Hodags bounced back from a shaky offensive performance at Warm Up with a blistering weekend at the Stanford Invite. Closing out the weekend with wins over Harvard and Pittsburgh, Wisconsin showed that they have plenty of offense — in all weather conditions — to contend for a title. Pair that with an elite defense and you’ve got a very good team. There are plenty of arguments for other teams at #1, but Wisconsin’s dominance at Stanford stands out above a crowded top tier.
2. Pittsburgh – An excellent win over UMass and the return of Pat Earles send Pitt back up the leaderboards. Pitt is obviously building a bit more slowly this year, but you have to like their chances come May. After a so-so Warm Up, Trent Dillon was superb in California and led the way for Pitt all weekend.
3. Massachusetts – You lose Jeff Babbitt to a head injury early in the semifinals against Pittsburgh, watch your D line offense crumble for the rest of the first half, and still play to within two? That’s a solid result for UMass. Rookie Tannor Johnson had a heck of a weekend. Still, you want to see UMass get an elite win: they’ve come up short against Wilmington and now Pitt.
4. UNC Wilmington – A shaky weekend for UNCW at the Tally Classic drops them a few spots. First, they lost to Tulane in pool play. Then a red hot Auburn took them out in the tournament final. They seem to play up against “big” teams (e.g. UMass, Florida) and fail to show up against lesser foes. A dangerous position to be in.
5. Minnesota – Grey Duck didn’t compete this weekend, but they hold steady in the top five after a great Warm Up win. We now await Easterns to see how they stack up with the country’s elite teams. It will be interesting to see how teams deal with their potent side stack and pull plays.
6. Florida – The top Southeast team took a three point loss to UNCW at Tally Classic, but cleaned up over lesser teams. Is Florida the bottom of the top tier, or the top of the 2nd tier? Two wins over Wisconsin at Warm Up look better after this weekend.
7. Harvard – Red Line had a bit of a bumpy start to the season, but landed the best win of their season, 15-13 over Oregon, in the Stanford quarterfinal. John Stubbs and Mark Vandenberg are everything to this team; if both are playing well, they are mighty tough to beat.
8. Oregon – Harvard snapped Oregon’s 2016 winning streak, but Ego bounced back with two strong wins over Stanford and Western Washington in consolation. Oregon slips to #8 because of the Harvard loss, but I wouldn’t count them out from getting right back into the top five later this year.
9. North Carolina – Like last year, UNC’s regular season has been good, but not great. Unlike last year, they don’t have the most dangerous thrower in college. It’s a little hard to see UNC moving past semifinals this year, but don’t count out a strong coaching staff and some superb young talent, including Matt Gouchoe-Hanas.
10. Stanford – There is little question that Stanford is the best team in the Southwest. Their defense is really coming into its own and the offense has been good enough against all but the elite. Their three losses at the Invite came to Wisconsin, UMass, and Oregon.
11. Auburn – What a weekend for Auburn, who ripped off three fantastic wins to take the Tally Classic title. Getting Ws over UNCW and UNC is a good way to jump from unranked to #11. Obviously, placing Auburn properly is extremely difficult. Could they be a top ten team? Sure, on a good day. On a bad day? They lose to weak teams. The inconsistency is a red flag. But Ryan Landry is certainly not, and was the most impressive player at Tally.
12. UBC – UBC was not in action this weekend. A strong Presidents’ Day Invite, with losses to Oregon by one and Washington by two, moved them to just south of the top ten. They finish ahead of Washington this week as the Sundodgers took some tough Ls at Stanford.
13. Colorado – Colorado sits in the middle of a tight clump of teams from the West that have all played very close games with one another. Mamabird’s one point win over Washington in good conditions on Sunday lands them above UW.
14. Washington – A strange weekend for Washington with losses to UCSB and Colorado but also a four point win over Pitt. They are still searching a bit on offense and need to find better consistency.
15. Western Washington – Western Washington lost to four top ten teams at Stanford but got wins over Colorado, Texas A&M, and UCSB. All in all, they had a nice weekend. They are a long way off from the top ten though; their four losses came by a combined 28 points.
16. Texas A&M – Dozen did not handle the inclement weather well at all, highlighted by the 6-15 drubbing handed to them by Western Washington. But even in fantastic conditions on Sunday morning, A&M took a loss to Cal Poly SLO. A&M really needs its offense to be clicking to have a shot against top teams; it was clearly not in sync this weekend.
17. Missouri – Missouri sticks around the top 25 by opening the season with a comfortable 7-0 performance at Midwest Throwdown. This ranking is mostly a relic of a strong fall. We’ll see how they stack up at Easterns.
18. UC Santa Barbara – UCSB kicked off their weekend with two wins over Texas and Washington! …And promptly lost the rest of their games. To their credit, though, four of those five games were against top ten teams. They also lost 15-12 to Western Washington. UCSB is getting better, but has an uphill battle to get back to Nationals unless the Southwest wrangles a second (or third?) bid.
19. Texas – Texas flashed some potential with a 12-11 loss to UMass, but has a lot of work still to do. Their only wins at Stanford came against Carleton, Cal Poly SLO, and UCSD — those are not exactly signature victories.
20. Connecticut — UConn was off this weekend, but stays in the top 20 after a strong Warm Up performance. Their win over Auburn in Tampa earned them a spot at Easterns as well. That Auburn win looks even better after this weekend.
21. Carleton – It was a miserable weekend for Carleton, who got just one victory over Cal Poly SLO. The bright side is that they played in a lot of close games, including against Harvard and Texas, but there’s no way around the fact that they just don’t have many quality wins this year. You still expect CUT to improve, but they look a distance behind Wisconsin and Minnesota in the North Central.
22. Virginia Tech – Virginia Tech hangs around the top 25 thanks to a nice win over Wisconsin at Warm Up. They get another shot at elite teams at Easterns in two weeks.
23. Georgia – A great Saturday at Tally, capped by a 13-10 win over Auburn, gave way to a grim Sunday with losses to FSU, UNC, and Tulane. What to make of this Georgia team? They are clearly talented, but they have been prone to mood swings. The Southeast is just wildly competitive this year and yet could end up with just a bid or two.
24. Michigan – The Easterns Qualifier champions have done just enough to stick around the top 25. They will have a chance to rise higher with a strong weekend at Easterns. They do look like the clear frontrunner in the Great Lakes.
25. Cal Poly SLO – Cal Poly SLO got two quality wins over Texas and Texas A&M and played to one point losses against Washington and Carleton. Not bad for the last team into the Stanford Invite! They will be a potentially scary matchup for Stanford at Regionals.
1. Whitman – No surprise to see them rise from #2 after winning Stanford Invite, beating the likes of Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and splitting with Central Florida. They are winning with the 4-7 on the line, letting their top end stay about even with the opposition, and showing impressive defensive capabilities to go with a skilled and speedy offense.
2. Central Florida – Many had doubts about what UCF could do faced with the west coast talent, particularly from elite defenders and throwers. They answered the call, beating UBC and Stanford while splitting with Whitman. Depth and strategic diversity are the knocks on a hard working and cohesive team, led by sophomore star Janina Freystaetter.
3. British Columbia – They lost just two games, both to top four teams, and crushed Oregon in consolation play. Still such an incredibly skilled team and they didn’t look like this was their first tournament. There isn’t much urgency when you watch them play, and perhaps their losses at Stanford Invite will help them get that going into Northwest Challenge.
4. Oregon – There seemed like there was a chance Oregon’s early losses were merely stumbles for a superpowered team filled with vets and brimming with the game’s best. But here we are, looking at an Oregon team that not only couldn’t get it done, but made even their journey to fourth place harrowing. This isn’t quite the same intimidating and stifling defense we have seen in past years, but as they showed against Ohio State, they do have that capability. Also, they played Stanford Invite without Hayley Wahlroos.
5. Stanford – Superfly was really hurt by the conditions on Saturday at Stanford Invite, and their 3-0 Sunday showed they still are an elite team. Their handlers may be centerpieces, and Anne Rempel is playing well, but their second year players look so developed! Shayla Harris is a potential breakout defender.
6. Pittsburgh – Holding steady at this point. Their only losses this season are to UCF and Virginia, the latter of which they beat later at the same tournament. Carolyn Normile is playing her way into the POTY conversation and Linda Morse is on the shortlist for Breakout POTY. Their added depth has made a huge difference.
7. Texas – Here’s where it starts to get messy. Their resume includes a loss to unranked Northeastern and they got drop kicked by Stanford and UBC. But they also beat Washington, UCLA, Colorado, and Ohio State, while pushing Oregon to the limit. Stanford Invite, however, was a high powered tournament, and when conditions were better, Texas looked like the team expected.
8. Washington – Has quietly shown some dangerous potential, defeating UCLA, Colorado, and somehow Central Florida. The handling core of this team looks well put together. Making sense of their inconsistencies through two tournaments is difficult, but there is talent and a strong system in place.
9. UCLA – BLU started the season so well that it is hard to see them in this low a position, but Stanford Invite was a bit sobering. Even if all of the attention has been on Kristen Pojunis and Han Chen, they obviously regressed without Melissa Kan, Kathleen Lo, and Breanna Dirkse. Maria Kazantsev and Camille Wilson also didn’t look 100%, perhaps in part because they had to play even more. When complete, this may still be a top 5 team.
10. Colorado – Watching this team, you wouldn’t think they went under .500 at Stanford Invite. They dropped games to UCF and Texas by a combined three points while beating Stanford and UCLA. Kirstin Johnson came out of her shell at Stanford Invite, but this team needs a top end cutter to step up.
11. Dartmouth – Quibble with putting them this high when they don’t have the results to back it up if you want, but if you’re looking for the “Power” in Power Rankings, look here. There’s simply too much power on this roster to expect anything less than a very, very good team when it all comes together. Unfortunately, that may not be until the Series.
12. Minnesota – The wins don’t blow you away – close against Notre Dame, Wisconsin – but the losses to Pittsburgh and Central Florida look pretty good right now. Sarah Anciaux is a “give me the rock” dominant cutter, but the depth of this team is impressive. Centex will be revealing when the competition level shoots up.
13. Virginia – Finally got back to their game, beating Pittsburgh and Michigan at Commonwealth Cup. They look a little more reliant on system without the same type of gamechangers they had in past years, but the development is positive. Defense has room for improvement, but such a smart team.
14. Michigan – Just chugging along, putting up strong results with a blemish or two along the way. Their resume screams middle of the road, falling to elite teams but always playing competitive ultimate. They work too hard to really get blown out often.
15. Ohio State – Oh the potential! So close to beating UCLA and Oregon. Visually, one of the more impressive teams at Stanford Invite. Sadie Jezierski is a ton of fun to watch, but strong contributions from Anat Gross and Emily Steedman helped too. Ultimately though, they went 2-5 at Stanford, beating the two bottom teams.
16. Notre Dame – Notre Dame was one of the most impressive teams at QCTU, with their full steam ahead offensive style and ability to generate blocks on defense. It wasn’t pretty – and they don’t play beautifully, anyway – but they got the job done at Tally Classic.
17. Western Washington – WWU has some of the best losses out there, but they are still losses. Only big win is over USC, but since they are right around the bid bubble, there will be a lot of attention on how they perform moving forward.
18. Southern California – The strength of USC’s record is built around their up-and-down showing at President’s Day. They have victories over Washington and Colorado, but losses to Cal and Western Washington. Centex will be huge for this bubble team.
19. UC-Davis – Right in the thick of the glut of quality Southwest teams, Rogue has some of the best wins: Colorado, Ohio State, Western Washington. But Stanford was a tough showing for them.
20. California – It feels like the Berkeley team could play above this level, as they certainly pass the eye test. All of their losses are to ranked teams but they lack for big wins, too.
21. Colorado College – Athletic team that’s getting great contributions from Chloe Rowse in the backfield. All seven losses they’ve suffered are to ranked teams, with a marquee win over Colorado. Could easily play up the rankings.
22. Kansas – Back into the rankings after winning Midwest Throwdown, although admittedly over a weaker field than usual. Star power galore when healthy, but will they be? Looked like they were finding their footing at QCTU.
23. Wisconsin – Hrovat-Staedter and Lo Guerin have been torching teams this season, but the young team is searching for depth. Caitlin Murphy and their strong freshman crop could help them get a 2nd North Central bid.
24. North Carolina – Really strong Commonwealth Cup showing after so-so QCTU makes them a team to watch. Jenny Wei is a defensive rock; if their offense is rhythmic rather than stagnant, they can beat good opponents.
25. UC-San Diego – Another solid Southwest team with no bad losses and a signature win over Colorado. But the other wins aren’t impressive. Could use some more shots are good teams, so disappointing they aren’t going to Centex.