One month into the season and we already have seen quite a few surprises. The Preseason Power Rankings were clearly not as exact as some may have expected, and the changes are obvious heading into the month of October. Plenty of teams have moved up and down, as we enter the second month of College Dodgeball.
Below is the official October 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: Grand Valley started the year off just like we expected. 3-0 with routine wins over UK, MSU, and CMU. My only concern with this squad is if they are going to compete in enough tournaments this fall. The fall semester is where teams gain much needed experience so they can be firing on all cylinders in the spring. GVSU has only played in one event so far, and their home tournament was just cancelled due to teams dropping out. Not ideal for the Lakers.
Jacob Leski: Another typical weekend for the Lakers, winning all of their matches with little difficulty. Some may say that their match with UK was close, but going up 4-0 at half to me signals a blowout, props to Uk for making it closer than it should have been. Interested to see if this club tries to break their own record of most wins in a row without a loss (41).
KB: The month of September was without a shadow of a doubt the best month in program history for Towson. A dominant 6-1 win over the traditional bully of the East Coast (JMU), not to mention 5 other wins over power ranked teams. Oh, and I forgot to point out they had zero losses. Towson started the season as good as anyone could’ve expected them to. This teams seems on a mission. What’s the ceiling for Towson in 2018-19? Final Four? Championship Game? Winning it all? Undefeated season? Okay maybe I’m overreacting, but that was a heck of a start to the 2018-19 season for the Tigers!
JL: It appears they are finally moving on from last year’s bitter end, and boy are they doing it in style. In a matter of three weeks, they have already compiled quite the resume. With blowout wins over traditional power teams such as JMU and Kent, their next goal has to be to defeat every Michigan team by the time Nationals arrives.
3) Central Michigan
KB: Nothing to complain about here. Central Michigan surprised everyone with how strong they were at their first tournament of the year. It’s not that they lack talent, but rather they had so many new faces in the starting lineup, we expected more of a drop off. CMU still has plenty to prove this season, but they got off to a better than anticipated start in September.
JL: Proud of my alma mater for once again proving many wrong with a strong showing at the MSU Invite. While it is very early to get excited, it is refreshing to see that this squad was able to start off on a strong note. The key to them continuing this success rides entirely on their ability to develop their rookies and simply keeping them around.
4) Saginaw Valley State
KB: SVSU entered the season at #4 in our Power Rankings, and that is where they will stay for this month. The Cardinals had an up and down day at the Michigan State Open a few weeks ago. SVSU grinded out wins over UK and MSU, but unfortunately for them, CMU had a historic finish to the final point of their match, taking the victory from SVSU in the final seconds. Saginaw still looks like a serious contender this year, with solid top end talent and impressive depth.
JL: Even with a last second loss to Central Michigan, the Cardinals have to be somewhat pleased with their first showing of the season. Typically they start off extremely rugged, but that does not appear to be the case for them at this moment. Hope to see them traveling more than they have in years past.
5) James Madison
KB: Not what I expected from JMU to start the year. I had my mind made up that this team would roll past every opponent they faced in the East, but I was mistaken. James Madison was not prepared for their early season meeting with Towson, but I’m sure they will make it closer next time those two teams clash. This is going to be an interesting year out East, and JMU will be a large reason why.
JL: What happened?! The Dukes are making KB and I look like we have no idea what we are talking about, which I am sure many critics would say that we don’t, but that is beside the point. I have heard rumblings that JMU only had maybe 1 week of practice prior to their first tournament, hence their terrible performance. Yes, that plays a large factor in being game ready, but that doesn’t excuse a 6-1 blowout loss to their East Coast rival. Let this be a lesson to all clubs, don’t rush to play at a tournament if your team hasn’t had enough time to practice together. I still expect the Dukes to be the best team in the East by the time April hits.
KB: Holy Cow. Miami is off and running in 2018-19. The RedHawks put together an incredible month with 3 impressive wins over OSU, BGSU and Kent. What an awesome start to the season. The undefeated RedHawks jump all the way to #6, after starting the season ranked #11 on the PR. The top team in Ohio is currently Miami.
JL: Crazy to think that this squad was coming back from being defunct just two years ago! Proud of Tom Morand and company for proving to the rest of the league that they are a force to be reckoned with this season. This is easily the highest place Miami has ever placed on our Power Rankings, and it is well deserved, now they need to travel to Michigan to show that they have what it takes to win a National Championship.
7) Kent State
KB: I’m choosing not to read into the loss margins too much for Kent. Bottom line, this team is still solid, as shown by their wins over PSU, Ohio, and BGSU. But they also have some work to do, after taking two losses to Towson, and another at the hands of Miami.
JL: I will be the first to admit that I thought their matches with Towson would have been much closer, nor did I imagine them ever losing to Miami, but it is still very early in the season. The Golden Flashes would be wise to take advantage of their strong alumni presence, and use their advice and experience towards becoming a stronger team.
KB: I’ve already expressed how impressed I was with UK after their early season trek up to East Lansing. It looks like we underrated the Wildcats by starting them at #14 in the preseason rankings.
JL: Here is yet another squad that made KB and myself look silly. Ricardo Menchaca has started this club out on the right foot by having the gall to travel to Michigan for their first tournament, and defeating Michigan State and keeping it close with Central Michigan and technically Grand Valley. Very impressed.
9) Michigan State
KB: Maybe we were overreacting a little bit by throwing MSU all the way to #3 to start the year. Then again, maybe we’re overreacting by dropping them to #9. Remember, two of their losses were overtime heartbreaks (SVSU and CMU) and another was in the final minutes of regulation (UK).
JL: I am puzzled why I let myself forget that MSU rarely performs well at their home tournaments. The Spartans carried lots of momentum into this season and sadly squandered it with close losses to CMU and SVSU and UK. While they kept all of those matches close, they still failed to pick up a single win, which makes me wonder if they need another year to reach their full potential.
10) Bowling Green State
KB: This is about what we expected from BGSU to start the fall. They aren’t quite the team they were last year, but still solid enough to compete in the ever-crowded Ohio Region. I’m excited to see how this group progresses over the next few months. Remember, they finished last season all the way at #3. BGSU is not satisfied with being 10th in the country.
JL: It is very evident that the personnel losses they suffered this offseason is substantial. However, they have done a miraculous job of recruiting young talent the last two years, hence why I am still high on this team being able to turn things around in the right direction.
KB: Great to have them back. Ohio re-enters the Power Rankings after some inactivity and we jump them all the way to #11. I’m pumped to see this team grow over the course of the season.
JL: Yes, we know we did not place them in our first Power Rankings of the season. Yes, we are aware that they are a talented team. Yes, I am aware Caleb Arnold is no longer on the team, thank you. Happy to see that the Bobcats are back playing again, seems like they learned from what happened last year.
12) Penn State
KB: When your first tournament of the season involves games against Kent and Towson, wins might be hard to come by. PSU didn’t pull off any upsets, but they were able to compete with a few top teams. We will know a lot more about the Nittany Lions in the coming months when we see them play against other programs.
JL: As I have said time and time again, if this team can develop a decent strategy, they will immediately turn into a top 8 team, but until then, they will continue to be a mediocre team as they are year after year.
KB: Don’t read into their record too much. Their losses 5-4 to BGSU, and 4-3 to Ohio. This team is way ahead of where they were a year ago at this time.
JL: I am quite shocked that their only victory was over Ball State. With all of their returning talent from last year, I expected Akron to be a top 8 team this year. Maybe I am being too hard on them with it being this early in the season, but boy was this a poor start to the year.
KB: The drop is more due to some other teams improving their status than it is about UVA dropping off. Not much to see here. They were able to beat UMD in their first tourney, but obviously a win over Towson or JMU was not in the cards.
JL: Tough losses, but a solid win over UMD is why they did not slide for us. They are right where I expect them to be at this point in the season.
15) Virginia Commonwealth
KB: My co-author is a bit more fired up than I am about this team. Nothing to worry about, VCU has plenty of season left to prove what they are.
JL: What on earth is up with this team? Has their executive board finally figured out how to run an organization? Or will they continue to fall short of all expectations? I just pray they actually show up to their first match this weekend. Goes to show how great of an administrator Hunter Ford really was…
KB: I heard good things about UMD despite an early season showing that involved them going 0-3. This team will once again make strides throughout the year. Don’t be shocked when they climb from this spot in the standings.
JL: They have the numbers, they have the talent, their problem is much like Penn State’s, they lack a solid strategy that will propel them above their opponents.
17) Ohio State
KB: After the first tournament of the year I was a touch concerned with the Buckeyes. As it turns out, their 2-point loss to Miami was an impressive result, considering Miami is a fringe top 5 team int he country at the moment…
JL: The Fighting Jeff Starr’s have…My apologies, forgot he graduated. I like the direction this squad is heading. They lost to Miami 4-2, but it appears Miami is much better than we originally anticipated. That loss is looking better and better.
18) North Georgia
KB: North Georgia proved once again they are the best team in their state. The next step for them will be earning a win or two against out of region competition. Hopefully we see them continue to play at a high level.
JL: Solid wins over GSU, don’t think anyone expected anything else. They need to travel north to compete if they want to be taken seriously.
19) Wisconsin Platteville
KB: UWP begins their season this weekend at UNL. I expect them to come away with an undefeated record.
JL: Can they finally win outside of their region? I don’t think so, but time will tell.
20) Central Florida
KB: Hope to see this team in action very soon. I expect major improvement in year two as a program!
JL: They just need to commit to a tournament. They have the numbers, someone reach out to these guys and schedule a match!