We are one month into a new year of collegiate dodgeball competition, so I felt it would be fitting to put together a “power rankings” so we can see where each team stands at this point in the season. Below is my list of the top 15 teams in the country as of the start of October (my plan is to provide this list at the start of each month throughout the entire dodgeball season).
Please note, this list is my own opinion on where teams stand right now, and it has no effect on the actual NCDA standings, or Nationals seeding. Also note, I have only ranked teams that have competed in a game so far this season. Those teams who have yet to play a match are not listed. This list is based on merit (what you’ve done this year), so if you’re offended with where your team stands, do something about it and win more games! Enjoy…
Easy choice at number one. Central Michigan is sitting pretty at 6-0. They already hold wins over three of the other top five teams in my power rankings. Very impressive start to the year. Mike Riley had this team ready to go from day one, and it has paid dividends. CMU has played very smart dodgeball thus far, which has been a big reason for their undefeated record. Central is only a sliver behind GVSU in the current NCDA Standings, and with a tourney at GVSU coming up this weekend, they will have an opportunity to seize that #1 seed position away from the Lakers.
Cue SVSU players complaining to me about GVSU being ranked ahead of them. Oops. Some may wonder why I did this, when SVSU technically earned a one seed at the MSU tourney while GVSU was a two seed. The tipping point for me to put GVSU slightly ahead of SVSU came down to one factor. That factor is the Central Michigan game that each team has played. Grand Valley was tied with Central in the second half of a close contest that could have gone either way. The game between CMU and SVSU was never in question for the Chippewas. Bottom line, SVSU did not look nearly as good against good competition as GVSU did. With all of that said, it also is just really hard for me to put GVSU anything lower than #2 on the rankings, considering they have 5 straight titles, and have done the same thing the last two seasons where they narrowly lose their first game over an experienced team while they are breaking in a handful of new starters. If GVSU drops their game to SVSU this weekend, that all changes.
As mentioned above, I have my reasons for putting GVSU slightly ahead of SVSU, but I am still happy with what I see from Saginaw. Make no mistake, the Cardinals were also breaking in some new players in their match vs. Central. That may have been a factor in why they couldn’t win that game. Saginaw will have ample opportunity to prove their worth this weekend when they face off against Kent State. Central Michigan, and Grand Valley. Their top group of players are certainly carrying a lot of weight right now, if SVSU can develop the talent on the back end of their roster, they will be a tough team to beat in the second half of the season.
I had the chance to watch the first half of JMU’s game against Towson, and let me tell you, they looked GOOD. James Madison has not had a breakthrough season the last few years for a number of reasons, but maybe, just maybe, that is all about to change. The Dukes might just be putting it all together this season. They looked far more athletic, and far more organized than Towson last weekend in their easy win. While I didn’t put JMU in my top three, I still hope every knows that I am very high on them right now. This team looks promising. I’d like to see them play against a Michigan school (or anyone out of the East Coast Region for that matter) so we can get a better gauge on how strong this team really is.
BGSU, as I mentioned after the first tourney of the year, looks fantastic this season. This team is much better than any BGSU team we have witnessed in the past. They are 3-3 on the year, but those 3 losses happen to be against CMU, GVSU, and SVSU. No shame in that for the Falcons. They’ve even scored points on each of those teams, along with a convincing win against MSU. The most exciting thing for me might be that overtime win they had over Kent State. That cemented their spot as the top Ohio team on this list. Who knows, maybe an Ohio Dodgeball Cup is in the cards for BGSU this season.
Kentucky snags the #6 spot on this list, but unfortunately, we have a very small sample size here. Kentucky’s only games have been against Western Kentucky. They hold two wins over their in-state rival. I would love to see this team travel north or east to play some stiffer competition, so we can get a better idea of how good they are.
Not a great start to the year for Kent. They lost in OT in their first game, then got blown out by Central Michigan before finally finding their way into the win column with a victory over Akron. One thing I know about Kent, is that they always improve tremendously as the year goes on. They aren’t the top team in Ohio right now, but I expect them to challenge for that spot in the coming months.
Towson maybe had the most disappointing start of any team this season. The Tigers proved to be no match for East coast rival JMU. Towson also struggled to survive their game against Stevenson. TU will have a number of tournaments to get back on track this fall, but it is clear that this team is a work in progress, and not an elite level program just yet.
VCU sits at 3-2 on the year with two losses to Towson. The Rams have not upset any top level team, nor have they been upset by a team beneath them in the standings. I am excited to see how this team progresses in the coming months but for now they are #9 on my list.
Ohio had a solid start to the year. They are 2-1, with their only loss being to CMU. I am dying to see what the outcome would be between Ohio and Kent or Ohio and BGSU. I may be totally wrong in placing the Bobcats at #3 in their own region, but for now, BGSU and Kent have slightly better resumes (BGSU with close losses to both GVSU and SVSU along with wins over MSU and Kent. Kent State with the OT thriller of a loss vs. BGSU).
I fully expected UWP to take care of business and go undefeated in their first tourney of the year at Nebraska. I did not expect them to do so in such dominant fashion. UWP beat DePaul 6-1, and UNL 7-0. I think it’s safe to say the transition to 12v12 is benefitting the Pioneers.
As expected, MSU is taking a major step back this year. They have too many players to replace. The first tournament of the year certainly exposed some of MSU’s issues, but I am not giving up hope at all on the Spartans. I saw a handful of talented new players making plays for Michigan State at their season opening tournament, where they were only able to get one victory (over Akron). This team is clearly a work in progress, but I anticipate them to be much improved by the time winter rolls around. MSU is young, but certainly not void of talent.
Admittedly I didn’t see any video of UVA in action over the weekend, but I am encouraged to see them getting a few W’s on the board this early in the year. That will only help build confidence for UVA going forward.
Akron had an extremely tough draw in their first tourney, playing against CMU, GVSU, and MSU. With that said, they did hold a tie score with CMU at the half. The two losses that concern me for Akron are those to Ohio (4-0), and Kent (4-0). Clearly this team has some work to do before they are on the level of some of their in-state opponents.
Stevenson gets the nod at #15 on my list, thanks to some impressive games already this year. SU nearly pulled off an upset over Towson, and also kept it close in their loss to UVA. Stevenson is not a contender in the East Coast Region just yet, but their early season efforts are worth mentioning.
As mentioned above, only teams who have played a match this season are eligible for this list.