I’ve got a team from Pennsylvania in the top slot so enjoy some NePa musical talent as you ponder the wisdom (or lack thereof) of my week 6 ballot.
We’re just over halfway through the 2017 season and one thing is clear to me: any undefeated team deserves a spot in the top 20. Now you may disagree with where I have teams slotted, but they’re all there. Although the transitive property doesn’t always hold and can break down if you take it out past two or three places, there’s still a place for head-to-head matchups.
Any team can have a bad game/day/week, but I don’t think that automatically disqualifies a team as a “contender.” Without further ado, here’s one man’s opinions, at least for this week.
- Penn State: Of the undefeated teams PSU and Rutgers have the best resumes thus far - IN MY OPINION. Consider them 1a and 1b.
- Rutgers: See above.
- Hofstra: The Pride only have one cakewalk on their schedule in NJIT.* They’re up here because of more than just beating UNC at home, put it that way. (*Yes, I think Georgetown is a decent team despite their record, especially considering their schedule).
- Army: I gave West Point a big boost this week because they are currently taking names on the lacrosse field. It’s worth noting their only loss is to Rutgers and they beat Syracuse at home.
- Denver: This may be controversial this week after the shellacking that Ohio State put on the Pioneers, but I stand by it. Coaches won’t make excuses, but I can pretty much guarantee the Pioneers had a week full of distractions (as one of, if not the only teams in D1 on the quarter system, Denver has to face finals in the middle of the season as well as the end. This past week was finals week for the Winter Quarter at DU). That doesn’t excuse the fact that the Pioneers played hands-down the worst game I’ve seen them play in the 5-6 years I’ve been following the team closely, but that game had “trap” written all over it. Go back and look at the calendar in years past, Denver has laid eggs at this time of year before. It’s not surprising. Let’s move on.
- Notre Dame: Both DU and ND suffer this week from my decision to give the undefeated teams their due. The Irish escaped an OT thriller in Charlottesville, flipping the script from the previous week in Denver. The transitive property applies here because it’s not like ND lost to DU four weeks ago and they’re totally different teams.
- Syracuse: Did someone say something about OT thrillers? Because ‘Cuse had one of those too at Homewood Field. The Cardiac Cuse lone loss is to Army. They’re still a top 10 team in my book, for now.
- Albany: The Scoobies kept their offensive steamrolling going against Vermont this week. They’ve scored fewer than 17 goals once this year, a last minute 10-9 loss to Syracuse in their season opener.
- Boston: If anyone is ever wondering how the sausage is made, just look at the carnage that is the Patriot League. You know a loss is coming at some point, and Boston dropped one to Bucknell this week, but I still really like the Terriers this year. They may be to 2017 what Marquette was to 2016. We’ll see...
- Maryland: Perhaps a farther fall than the hard-shells deserve, but that’s two straight losses for Tillman’s crew. Things only get harder as they enter B1G play, PLUS matchups against UNC and Albany mixed in there for good measure.
- Duke: Nobody plays more games than Duke, and they’re sitting at 7-2 right now after a 2-2 start. That five-game run includes wins over ranked Richmond and Loyola teams.
- Ohio State: I anticipate that people will get their panties in a bunch over this because they just slapped Denver around, but before this week (which also included a win over Towson) their 6-0 record was against less than stellar competition. That’s why I barely had them in my top 20 the past few weeks. This past week shows that they deserve to be in the top 20, but beating the #1 team doesn’t automatically make you the #1 team. I think I had them at 17 last week so 12 this week seems fair to me. They fared better than some of the teams above them (See drops for Denver, ND, and Maryland).
- Virginia: The Cavaliers are 5-3, but those three losses are by a combined total of three goals. The Wahoos are a fart in the wind away from being 8-0. They play a tough schedule, but, honestly, they’re progressing faster under Lars Tiffany than I expected. This team is a serious threat against everyone.
- Princeton: The Tigers’ two losses are to undefeated teams (Hofstra and Rutgers). They dispatched Ivy League foe, and top 20 caliber team Penn this week.
- Richmond: The Spiders crawled all over UNC on Monday night, and then got up big against Jacksonville on Saturday. Their lone loss is a one-goal contest against UNC.
- Johns Hopkins: What a heartbreaker. The Jays were down at home against Syracuse and mounted an impressive comeback to force overtime, only to see that effort spoiled by Brendan Bomberry and his #MintoMitts. A three game losing streak isn’t good, but it’s to teams either in the top 20 or on the cusp, depending on who you ask.
- North Carolina: What’s going on in Chapel Hill? The defending champs seem to be pretty wildly inconsistent this year. At this point I don’t know which team is going to show up week-to-week.
- Loyola: The
Fighting’ Pat SpencersHounds’ out of conference losses are all to good teams, but they remain perfect in the Patriot League, dispatching Navy this week 18-7. The road to the big BBQ quite possibly goes through Baltimore...
- Michigan: Big Blue had a bye, but their only loss on the season is to Notre Dame and they beat a then-top 10 Penn team a couple weeks ago in the Big House. These are the strides we’ve been waiting to see in Ann Arbor. B1G play will be the real test, however.
- Binghamton: Not many people expected much from Binghamton this year. The team hasn’t fared well recently and they have a brand new coach, which can take some getting used to, and yet they only have one loss on the year. Things could go off the rails, but for right now this team is exceeding expectations so I’m giving them some love.
Also considered: Towson, Penn, Harvard, Stony Brook