Sitting in the post-game presser following the UNC/Denver game this weekend someone asked Denver head coach Bill Tierney if dropping a game to UNC was a setback.
Tierney responded, “It’s a setback, and I’ll tell you why it is. It’s because this year is going to be crazy… I’m not a big ‘compare score’ guy but you can’t help but look at what’s happened just in two weeks. These guys get beat up by Hopkins, Hopkins gets beat up by Princeton, we get beat up by these guys. Where does that put us?”
Tierney’s statement pretty much sums up this past weekend’s games. Titans fell and surprises abounded. With so many losses at the top of the poll the question really became ‘how far should team X fall’? Not all games or losses are created equally, so here’s how things shook out for me.
Hold on to your butts folks, things are going to get stranger around here... Let’s get on with the show.
Doc’s Week 4 Top 20.
- Notre Dame: I’m no fan of the Domers, especially after another agonizing defensive battle against Maryland. (Give me OFFENSE!) But the Terps were red hot and ND cooled them down. They’re the clear-cut number 1, for now....
- Maryland: I had Maryland at #3 last week so why bump them up? Well everyone else ahead of them lost and I think that they’re still a better team than Penn State.
- Penn State: That said, the Nittany Lions aren’t far behind at all. Tambo seems to have his team where they need to be. The B1G gauntlet should be interesting to see this year.
- UNC: The Tar Heels beat the #1 team at home, I’d say that deserves a bump. Whatever happened against Hopkins wasn't a factor in Denver this weekend. They looked like a complete team and Brian Balkam stood on his head.
- Denver: Even with the loss, I can’t drop Denver out of the top 5. This team remains lethal, and let’s be honest - UNC was a trap game if I ever saw one. We’ll find out more when they play Notre Dame next weekend.
- Syracuse: I wasn’t sure what to do with 6-10 this week. Syracuse’s dramatic comeback victory over Virginia gave them enough momentum in my poll to get them to #6.
- Johns Hopkins: The Jays got drubbed by Princeton. One bad game doesn’t make a season, but that game was exceptionally bad for Hop. Still, this isn’t a bad team by any stretch so they stay near the top, just not as high as they once were.
- Loyola: The Pat Spencer show went on a veritable crusade against Holy Cross this week. Am I the only one who’s disappointed we have to wait another month for the dog fight between Loyola and Boston?
- Boston: Speaking of the Terriers, I had them at #13 last week and said that if they split Air Force and Bryant that the should still be a top 20 team. Well they beat both teams, and then Bryant went on to upset Yale this weekend. Things are looking really good for Boston right now.
- Rutgers: Another undefeated team, the Scarlet Knights took down Brown this week. Is Brown a top 20 team? Not right now. Are they a bad team? Not by any stretch. Like Yale, they’re just hurting right now. Rutgers is simply reaping the benefit of that.
- Albany: The Scoobies have opposing goalies doing the ‘turn and rake shuffle’ quite a lot right now. I like them at #11.
- Virginia: I really struggled with Virginia this week. It’s not like they played poorly against Syracuse. Hell, they were up by 5 at one point. On the one hand, this is a two loss team. On the other, both those losses came at the slimmest of margins. The Wahoos could easily still be in the top 10 somewhere and I wouldn’t fault others for putting them there.
- Stony Brook: Is the America East a two bid team? Is it too early to ask that? I, for one, would love to see that.
- Towson: This might actually be a bit too high for Towson. I’m not really sure what to make of them at this point. They dropped their only game against a ranked opponent this year in a mid-week game against Loyola this week. Time will tell on this one. I remain conflicted.
- Penn: The Quakers beat UVA a couple of weeks ago and took Penn State to the brink this week. Clearly this is a solid team, but the L drops them a tad (I had them at #14 last week), but not much.
- Army: This might actually be a bit low for Army. I could easily see them a few spots higher. And now that I think about this some more, after submitting my ballot naturally, I probably should have swapped Towson and Army this week because that Syracuse win is better than anything Towson has. Nothing like second-guessing yourself.
- Ohio State: To be honest, I’m not terribly impressed with Ohio State’s schedule at this point, but they are 6-0, so that means something. Their best win thus far, IMO, is Marquette and the boys in Milwaukee aren’t what they were in 2016. This is another team that maybe should be a few spots lower, even when considering the bagel in the L column.
- Duke: Richmond had Duke on the ropes but couldn’t close it out. The win keeps Duke in the top 20 for now, but they’re perilously close to being on the outside looking in. Their 4-2 record is deceptive at this point, if you ask me.
- Richmond: Losing to Duke hurts, but it wasn’t like the Spiders got blown out or anything. This is still a very solid team and should be ranked.
- Princeton: This could be controversial because the Tigers lost to Hofstra and the Pride are undefeated, but the sheer domination against Hopkins gets Princeton in the top 20 for this week. Austin Sims, you are a bad, bad man.
Hofstra: My last team out this week. Probably should have swapped them with OSU now that I think about it though.
Harvard: Another undefeated team, but none of their wins really jump as that impressive to me. History has taught me not to trust Harvard lacrosse, and I’m siding with history this week.