When I sat down this evening to put together my ballot for the Inside Lacrosse media poll, I told myself one thing: Don't overreact, stupid. We're only a few weeks into this thing, and with most teams having played only a handful of games -- the season is only about 20 percent complete -- I didn't want to have too many knee-jerk reactions to the nonsense that February generally brings. Preseason expectations are generally a good gauge of the potential of teams, and throwing them out the window as if they were apple rinds (I don't even know what that analogy means) seems a little dumb.
And then I moved around all but two teams from my ballot last week. So, yeah. The best laid plans of mice and men something something something.
I think I kept things relatively in-check here, moving the majority of teams only a spot or two due to some bigger movements. I'll explain why I did what I did after the ballot.
- New this week: Pennsylvania and Drexel. Dropped out this week: Hofstra and Bryant. I still think that Bryant is a top 20-type team, but it's hard to keep the Bulldogs on my ballot when they're 0-3 (despite playing a difficult stretch to open the season, a slate that has featured a Tewaaraton candidate in Peter Baum, a quietly destructive Fairfield squad, and an always difficult prep in Bucknell). Hofstra shuffles out due to the need to include Pennsylvania, which satisfied its preseason chatter in a win over Duke in Philadelphia, and Drexel, which got a nice win against Albany and went toe-to-toe with Virginia. I'm okay with all this. In fact, it's just about the only thing that I'm particularly comfortable with this week.
- Duke continues to tumble, although I'm still holding on to the belief that John Danowski will have his team ready for May. I aggressively moved the Devils back this week for a simple reason: I have no idea what Duke is going to do when the whistle blows. Are there 17 teams better than Duke right now? I don't know; if I knew that, I'd be living fat on a government paycheck as the military would have weaponized my foresight to protect American freedom. It's just . . . the Devils have all kinds of problems, and the game against the Quakers -- in concert with Duke's prior four games -- creates a situation where you need to back them up until they prove otherwise.
- Lehigh is in a similar situation to Duke. The Mountain Hawks played an average Villanova team tight, got waxed by Denver in Colorado, and then took a shot to the chops against Air Force. Lehigh is probably going to be fine when the temperature starts to rise, but right now I don't have a ton of trust in the Mountain Hawks as a top 10-ish team.
- I moved Penn State up after losing -- in overtime -- to Notre Dame this weekend. I'm comfortable with that, mostly because I think I had Penn State ranked a little too low after they put the hurt on Denver in Jacksonville. I have no problem believing that the Nittany Lions can play with anyone in the country, especially after trading blows with what could be the second best team in the land.
- I'll tell you this: I thought about moving Loyola back a little bit more, but couldn't do it given the talent and ability still dotting Charley Toomey's roster. The 'Hounds are still figuring out what they're going to be in 2013, and the ceiling is still pretty high.
- Despite losing, Fairfield moves up four spots for two reasons: (1) I probably had them too low last week due to some preseason skepticism I had (skepticism, for what it's worth, I'm not completely over yet); and (2) The Stags had North Carolina put away, but the Tar Heels were just too vigorous to keep down. This is going to be a volatile team for me, and I'm not really sure what to do about that.
I'm always willing to hear what you guys think. Have something to add or want to call me a moron in a few sentences? The comments are your launching pad.