The month of October had plenty of shakeups in the NCDA. With tournaments in many different regions, teams started to get their legs under them as we now head into month #3 of the new season.
Below is the official November 2018 Power Rankings list produced by NCDA Executive Board members Jacob Leski (Director of Recruitment and Retention), and Kevin Bailey (Chief of Content). Please keep in mind: these power rankings have no impact on the actual NCDA Standings.
1) Grand Valley State
Kevin Bailey: Not much to say here. GVSU didn’t see any action this month. A massive change from Octobers of the past. Let’s hope they ramp it up over the coming months. This team has easily the best combination of talent and experience in the league right now. So, despite only having 3 wins to their resume, we can’t take them out of their top spot… yet.
Jacob Leski: They may have 6 straight National Championships, but shoot, those 6 previous winners played every chance they got. That experience is why they became so dominant. If they don’t start playing soon, they are going to have to rely more on their opponents inability to capitalize versus using their dodgeball IQ. Very disappointed in the start of the season for this squad.
KB: Isn’t it pretty clear which team wants it the most this season? Not only has Towson played the most games of any team in the top 10 (tied with Kent), they’ve done so in impressive fashion. The Tigers have blown out every team they’ve faced, including JMU and Kent State. I’m very happy with the progress this program is making and I commend the leaders of this team for keeping the foot on the gas pedal (unlike some other schools towards the top of this list…). Could Towson be the team that finally breaks through and takes the title from GVSU?
JL: There are few teams I enjoy ranting about more than Towson, but I hate to say that I have nothing negative to add at all about this squad. They are firing on all cylinders, really shows how hard work, and dedication to excellence pays off over time. Good for them.
3) Central Michigan
KB: Still not exactly sure what to make of this team. Clearly they aren’t the same as a year ago. With that said, there is obviously potential. CMU is now 2-1 over SVSU on the year, and 1-0 against MSU. That gives the Chips the right to call themselves the #2 team in Michigan right now. This weekend at the GVSU Gauntlet will be another telling weekend for CMU.
JL: I am glad that my alma mater was at least one of the two Michigan teams to play in the month of October, but the only way they are going to return to the Championship for a 5th consecutive season is to develop their younger talent, and that happens by playing as much as possible.
4) Saginaw Valley State
KB: I actually expected SVSU to roll through CMU at their recent doubleheader. I was wrong. With that said, SVSU is still a team I have my eye on as a potential Final Four / Title Game contender. Just as I said about CMU, this weekend’s tourney at GVSU will tell us a lot more about where SVSU is at.
JL: At this point, it is very clear that the Cardinals and the Chips are top-end talent in the league, and that they are dead even. The team that continues to develop their rookies into respectable starters will be the team that comes out on top come April.
5) Kent State
KB: What a huge month for Kent State. After an underwhelming start to the year, the Golden Flashes came back with a vengeance in October. The most notable win for Kent last month was a 5-2 victory over #6 Miami. Kent is worthy of a top 5 spot in the country right now, and obviously an argument can be made they have reestablished themselves as the top team in Ohio.
JL: I used to loathe this squad, but then I met Kyle Fitzpatrick and his sidekick Ryan Menn. Now I have respect for their traditions and love for the game. Glad to see that they were able to turn things around in the right direction and reclaim their title as the King of Ohio, or would that be LeBron, but he left for LA, so who knows.
KB: Miami stays at #6 on our list despite dropping the earlier mentioned game at the hands of Kent State. Back to reality a little bit for Miami. They aren’t just going to run away with the Ohio Dodgeball Cup this year as it turns out. Despite that loss, I still love this team’s potential.
JL: Still very impressed with the amount of matches this team has played in a short amount of time, and their ability to defeat quality schools. Their 5-2 loss to Kent hurts, and makes me question whether they have what it takes to take the next step towards being a semi-finalist this April.
7) James Madison
KB: Zero games played since their early season tourney. When will we get to see that Towson vs. JMU rematch? I’m told I might have to wait until the winter. That hurts. James Madison travels to GVSU this weekend to take part in a pretty loaded tourney. All four Michigan schools will be in attendance, plus JMU and BGSU. YUUUUGE opportunity for James Madison to prove they are as good as their preseason ranking suggested.
JL: After speaking to Captain Evan Eschenburg about this team’s destined path to a National Championship prior to the start of the season, I went all-in on the Dukes. I have begun to lose faith in my choice. After a devastating blowout loss to rival Towson back in early September, they have yet to play a match since that tournament. I pray they make headlines this upcoming weekend, but for the right reasons.
8) Michigan State
KB: MSU captains of the past are rolling over in their graves right now. The Spartans played a grand total of… ZERO games in the month of October. Michigan State teams over the years weren’t always the most talented, but they improved over the course of the year thanks in large part to how active they were in scheduling and playing matches. Now, this team has as much raw talent as just about anyone, all they need is experience… and what do they do? Not play games!? I stand by my statement that this team has the potential to be one of the best in the country. I stand by my optimism and trust in Payton “Bob Knight” Schuster leading this exciting, young program. In fact, I still think they will turn things around and finish the year with a trip to the Final Four. And for the record, that rant goes for every other Michigan school too, not just MSU. The Michigan Region as a whole had only two games played last month. JUST TWO! SVSU and CMU played one double header in late October. Besides that, the whole region just took a month off? That’s embarrassing. Just hand Towson the trophy now, folks…
JL: I really thought Payton “Bob Knight” Schuster was going to continue to move this program in the right direction, but I was wrong on many levels. They have only played one tournament, and like the other Michigan schools, won’t travel outside of their comfort zone, which is the Great Lake state itself. “Have to venture outside of your comfort zone if you ever want to improve.” –Mufasa
9) Virginia Commonwealth
KB: I want to take a moment to point out that my co-author is making up quotes for Disney characters. Unethical. Anyway, VCU’s first tournament of they year was honestly a pleasant surprise in my opinion. They handled both Maryland and Virginia. Not a bad start.
JL: Mediocrity. That is how I view this team. They seem to lack the capability of surprising folks this season, probably used it all up at last year’s Nationals tournament. They need to put together a full game of greatness before I even consider jumping off the hate train. “Nothing is impossible, and VCU does nothing every day.” – Winnie the Pooh
10) North Georgia
KB: I was NOT expecting North Georgia to take down Kentucky in October. But alas, this team did exactly that. Great to see UNG continuing to thrive. That win over UK now gives UNG the title of the best team in the South Region. Awesome work!
JL: The South finally has a voice in the NCDA, and it is about time. The Nighthawks victory over UK was monumental for this program.
KB: This team is a dark horse candidate to make a Quarterfinals run at Nationals this year. I like the way they have rebounded from the tough finish to the 2017-18 season. I also love their social media presence.
JL: The moment I think they are going to make the next step toward being a great team, they let me down considerably. Really hope this squad can start living up to their expectations.
KB: Who would’ve thought Kentucky Football would be higher ranked than their dodgeball team in November… UK needs to rebound after an underwhelming weekend down in Dahlonega.
JL: I was and frankly still am shocked that they lost to UNG. Even though UNG is shaping up to be a solid team, I find it odd that a team that has a victory over Michigan State dropped an L to a team from the South, but again, UNG might just be that good. Going to chalk that loss up as a fluke for now.
KB: Now, this team has yet to live up to our lofty preseason expectations, but October was a positive month for them nonetheless. Wins over three ranked teams is solid. I am excited to see them get that breakthrough win over a team ranked ahead of them.
JL: I truly believed that this team would be a top 8 team this season, and while there is still plenty of time left until Nationals, they need to figure something out. They have little trouble defeating their lesser opponents, but never seem to come even close to teams that are expected to beat them.
14) Penn State
KB: Penn State has increased their games played this fall. I’ve called for this to happen for years, and now it is finally happening. Sure, they haven’t been amazing just yet, but what this increase in experience tells me is that they will have a great second half to the season. Don’t underestimate PSU moving forward this year.
JL: Keep the fire burning! This squad keeps inching towards beating a quality team, but let’s their inexperience prevent them from doing just that. A shame National’s will not be on their campus this season, Jake Nasiadka and crew would have put on a great show.
15) Ohio State
KB: Don’t let Urban Meyer’s highly unethical leadership over the Ohio State football program distract you from the fact that Ohio State Dodgeball is one of the more promising up-and-coming teams in the NCDA right now.
JL: Solid win over BGSU, but a tough loss to Akron. Right where I expect them to be. Hopefully this “amazing” recruiting class of theirs can start making noise.
16) Bowling Green State
KB: Welp, doesn’t look like this team in Final Four bound in 2018-19. They have their work cut out for them this season.
JL: Talk about a rough weekend, losing two games in overtime, and an unexpected lost to OSU. Look to see the Falcons do their best to turn this program around in a big way. They have the experience to get some quality wins in the month of November.
KB: Plain and simple, this team has not lived up to our (maybe too high) expectations for them at the start of the season. Luckily, they still are a talented and athletic group. I expect a turnaround in the near future for the Cavaliers (no, not the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’re in deep trouble this season).
JL: Don’t know about anyone else, but I am disappointed that this squad isn’t performing at a higher level. They have the talent, they have the leadership, so what gives? Something needs to change, because whatever they are trying is not working.
18) Cleveland State
KB: Very pleasantly surprised by this team’s performance so far in 2018. CSU was overlooked to start the year, but they are more than deserving of a spot in the top 20 now.
JL: Happy to see a “newer” team crack our Power Rankings for the first time. They had a very close match with Akron and won their other matches with ease. Hope to see them make more progress during No-Shave November.
19) Georgia Southern
KB: Another team jumping into the top 20, I love the way GSU is attacking this season. They continue to challenge themselves by travelling to various tournaments. The experience will eventually pay off. Heck, it already has, they did a great job at UNG’s tournament last week!
JL: They are becoming more competitive with each and every game, which gives me hope that by the time April hits, they will be ready to compete with teams that traditionally would have little difficulty defeating them.
KB: While it doesn’t show up in the graphic above, UNL did grab a few very quality wins last month. The Cornhuskers took down Wisconsin Platteville twice, in the process knocking UWP out of the top 20. I’m impressed by this teams persistence in scheduling tourneys. They clearly want to climb up these rankings.
JL: Credit to this squad for traveling to the Pink Out to only lose close ones to all of their opponents. While it may not mean much to most, this appears to be the best team in their clubs history.