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: Stony Brook, Navy, and Ohio State. Dropped out this week: Boston University, Bucknell, and Fairfield. Also seriously considered: Fairfield and Towson (in no particular order). The ever-changing nature of the last three or four positions on the ballot continues for another week. There is a huge clump of teams that potentially populates this universe, and it remains difficult to see through the lack of order.
- There was little change in the top 10. I considered keep Duke flat despite the Devils' loss to Carolina, but ended up flipping Duke with Denver.
- Fairfield: I don't know what the back of the aggregated media poll will look like on Monday, but I'm not expecting Fairfield to find a place in the ballot. I don't think there's a lot of heat on the Stags at the moment but Fairfield is on a four-game winning streak that includes victories over Colgate, Villanova, and Drexel. The Stags were at the back of my ballot last week and fell out this week not due to a loss but merely the reshuffling of an opaque portion of the ballot. These things happen, but Fairfield is on my radar if not on my ballot.
- Towson: I wouldn't say that I'm soft on the Tigers but there is something odd about Towson that doesn't sit square in my brain. I'd expect a team like the Tigers to strangle inferior competition -- or at least competition viewed as inferior to where the perception of Towson is -- but Towson hasn't really done that. The wins are piling up for the Tigers -- including victories over Johns Hopkins and Georgetown -- but there's just something weird in the team's profile. I don't know. Maybe I'm over-thinking Towson's situation.
- Loyola: In prior iterations of this ballot the 'Hounds weren't included. I exercised some patience on Loyola but I'm worried about a team that has alternated wins and losses over their last eight games and is now stuck at 5-5 on the season.
- Stony Brook, Navy, and Ohio State: Why not? The Seawolves are 7-2 with notable wins against Fairfield and Marist, a light-ish win profile but Stony Brook is crunching opponents they should demolish. Navy has won four in a row including solid victories against Lehigh, Colgate, and Boston University. The Mids may not be great, but Navy is pretty solid and in the conversation for top 20 inclusion. And the Buckeyes -- I soured on Ohio State after the team's loss to Marquette and the shut out that Notre Dame pitched against Brutus. Ohio State isn't lightning, but the team has a decent trajectory.