In the interest of transparency, here's how I voted in the Inside Lacrosse media poll this week. Some brief explanations follow the ballot.
- New this week: Harvard. Dropped out this week: Colgate. Also seriously considered: Towson, Drexel. Spots 18, 19, and 20 are the hardest positions to fill: There are teams with flaws that are potentially stronger than the flawed teams included, but the decision to include or exclude a team is often built around the result a particular team faced in the immediate week building into the ballot. I'm not certain what to do with that part of the ballot and I'm sure that other people are struggling with the same situation.
- Cornell, Virginia, and Massachusetts: I either (a) didn't move these teams relative to their Week Seven poll position, or (b) only moved these teams a smidge. Here's the deal: Cornell took a shot to the mouth but the team's resume up to this point requires some patience with the Red (I was somewhat slow to move the Red forward and I'll be somewhat slow to move the Red back); Massachusetts lost by one goal in a land war to Towson (the Minutemen are in the vicinity of where they need to be); and Virginia lost a heart-breaker to an elite team on the road (that probably doesn't deserve punishment). The concept of lose-drop doesn't make as much sense as understanding the context of wins and losses and where teams sit relative to the rest of the country. The results matter, but they aren't the only indication of team quality.
- I'm okay with the top five; six through 10 are interchangeable in my mind (the power of the poll with smooth out the edges there). The next three make a lot of sense to me, but things get messy from 14 to 20. The Pride are difficult to figure out, but they benefitted this week from Bryant and Massachusetts suffering losses. Whatever. There are still three weekends in April to figure out what that part of the ballot should look like.