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: Villanova, Colgate, and Brown. Dropped out this week: Pennsylvania, Lehigh, and Holy Cross. Also seriously considered: Lehigh, Holy Cross, Pennsylvania, and Penn State (in no particular order). The back of the poll remains the back of the poll. It was time, though, to get Colgate in the mix as well as Villanova. Neither has a sizeable win of mega importance, but each is kind of chugging along. Brown enters as a bit of a flyer and they're kind of in the same situation as the teams considered for inclusion but ultimately excluded.
- I seriously considered moving Carolina into the top spot, but instead just slid Syracuse and North Carolina forward in the same order. I would expect that each team will earn first-place votes when the whole poll is aggregated.
- Marquette is a tough read. It's hard to break into the top 15, and the Eagles are suffering from that a little bit. Unbeaten is a great way to go through life, but Marquette also isn't murdering fools (the team's best three wins are by a total of three goals). The flip side of this is that if the Eagles lose -- which may not be for a while given what's ahead of them on their schedule -- a similar degree of patience will be exercised.
- Harvard: It's still early for the Crimson, but barely slipping past Massachusetts and taking a beating at the hands of Duke has raised a red flag.
- I feel comfortable with the ballot through, say, the first 16 positions. Whether a team is off a position or two doesn't much matter at this point in the season. The key is trying to get teams into the right block of five teams (1-5, 6-10, etc.). The poll itself will smooth out the edges. The one team that's maybe off-point at the moment is Army, but I gave them a sizeable boost this week. The Black Knights could arguably be even higher.
- Albany and Johns Hopkins are a little worrisome. The Danes have only played twice, crushing Drexel and getting hammered by Cornell. Albany is also dealing with the conditions in Upstate New York, which probably requires some patience relative to the team's perceived ceiling. As for Hopkins -- it's not like the Jays are losing to bad teams or not competing in their games. Hopkins is going to have to start winning some of these games, however, in order to support the team's position in the ballot. A tough stretch of Navy-Syracuse-Virginia stands in front of the Jays in the next three weeks, and uneven performances in those games could see Hopkins drop more notably.