This ballot is either going to look reasonable to people or it's going to look like the scribblings of an insane person. I'm okay with either assumption, mostly because college lacrosse has devolved into anarchy with nothing making any damn sense anymore. There are teams running around with pitchforks and a torch in their hands and nothing is safe (except for the robots, and they're just patiently waiting for society to crumble so that they can inherit Earth and make it their personal robot playground). There are a couple of course corrections in my ballot due to results occurring over the last few weeks that have created a reality that necessitates some changes; the rest of the run is an attempt, as usual, to not overreact to isolated results and allow the ballot to organically find a sweet spot as the season progresses.
Here's what I'm submitting this week. As always, some brief notes accompany the ballot so that you can understand why I did what I did.
|1.||Notre Dame||+2||11.||Johns Hopkins||-1|
- New this week: Brown and St. John's. Dropped out this week: Penn State and Virginia. Despite two wins this week from the Nittany Lions -- over an improved Binghamton squad from 2012 and a St. Joseph's team that can't seemingly get out of its own way in 2013 -- Penn State gets jettisoned into the cold reaches of space for the moment. Part of this is to make room for the two new teams that are earning their keep; part of this is to correct my decision to keep Penn State around when they probably should have slid based on my preseason expectations for the team and my assumption that the Nittany Lions would turn things around. As for Virginia, things aren't on fire in Charlottesville yet, but there is gasoline hanging around near open flames. St. John's earns its return to the top 20 with a nice win over Hofstra and a spanking of Robert Morris. Brown, six games into its campaign, gets a top 20 nod based on the fact that they are performing as well as any team in the country despite playing a schedule currently ranked in the bottom ten of the nation. I'm somewhat skeptical of you, Bruno, but the Bears get the benefit of the doubt this week.
- I don't think that Notre Dame is the best team in the country. I do think that the Irish are probably one of the the best five teams in the land, but I'm not convinced that the Irish are number one without a doubt. In fact, before submitting my ballot, I seriously considered either keeping Maryland in the top spot or voting Cornell in the first position despite the losses each team suffered this week. In the end I moved the Irish up, but I wouldn't be surprised if first-place votes are scattered around this week. There are at least a half-dozen teams that are as strong as the Irish, and Notre Dame is more the beneficiary of things going boom around them -- including Notre Dame surviving a trip to Rutgers -- than the Irish affirmatively grabbing the top spot.
- That big Bucknell move is a course correction. I had been slow playing the Bison for most of the season to wait for things to focus a little bit (mostly, I wanted to see Bucknell against a little stronger competition), and it has done that over the last two weeks. The Bison appear legitimate, and their current ranking should reflect that.
- Like Bucknell, I'm just keeping time on the Greyhounds right now. I have Loyola a little higher than where they rank in their tempo-free profile (around 11th), but I think some patience with the 'Hounds is necessary -- both in upward and downward movement -- based on the injury and suspension situation that the roster is undergoing. There are reasonable arguments about dropping or raising the Greyhounds, so I just took the middle road and left them flat concomitant with where performance metrics indicate they should be.
- Johns Hopkins drops despite winning? Yes, and that's purely a function of needing to push Bucknell into the top 10 (and also because I maybe had the Jays a little high last week). The Jays are in a decidedly "hold" position after the pistol-whipping they administered on Virginia's face this past weekend, and it's probably best to not overreact in either direction as to Hopkins' poll position. The schedule will ultimately determine just how good the Jays are.
- Duke back? The move was part course correction and part looking like Danowski having his hands on explosive devices again following a nice win over Marist and a total demolition of Georgetown.
- Teams ranked 14th-18th are interchangeable in my mind, although Colgate as a resident of the back-end of that tiering is the only thing that feels like an absolute. These teams are all flawed and spectacular in different ways, and that's exactly why they're packed together in a ranking that I'm calling "fourteighteenth." I'm honestly not all that concerned about missing a team in this tier based on a spot or two; they're slotted together, and that's the most important thing. The entirety of the voting media poll body will figure the rest out.
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.