What an incredible first month to the season. 31 games have been played so far this year, with over 1/3rd of them being upsets! If the month of September was any indication, it’s going to be a FUN season of college dodgeball!
Below is the official October Power Rankings list, voted on and written by the NCDA Content Team. Please keep in mind: these power rankings have no impact on the actual NCDA Standings.
1) Grand Valley State
Grand Valley erased any concern that they would fall off this year thank to a dominant performance at the Early Access Tournament. The Lakers relied on an extremely efficient transition game to dismantle their opponents at the event, beating BGSU, MSU, and SVSU all in blowout fashion. The Lakers will be tested more this month, as they plan to host an event on October 19th.
The champs know they’ve got a target on their back, and they delivered in both games against JMU. After falling down 3-1, the Tigers came back and score twice in the 2nd half to force OT against JMU, but resulted in an OT loss. They hit the reset button and went up 3-0 in the 2nd game with ease before putting in their subs and losing the final point. Don’t expect this to be a re-building season for Tigers; expect them to reload and come out swinging like they did last year.
3) James Madison
JMU is still a top tier team and a force to be reckoned with. After missing Nationals last year, the Dukes wanted to make a statement early in the season; a 4-3 OT victory against Towson will do the trick. While they lost their 2nd game 3-1 to Towson, JMU and their fans will remind you that it is unwise to look down on the Dukes.
4) Michigan State
Not an ideal start to the season for the Spartans. MSU hosted the Early Access Tournament in September, where they tested themselves by scheduling Central Michigan, Grand Valley State, and Bowling Green State. They came a way with an overtime win over CMU, a blowout loss to GVSU, and an overtime loss to BGSU. Michigan State clearly has the talent to compete with anyone, but they will need to clean some things up if they want to remain a top team. Look for the Spartans to rebound in October.
5) Central Michigan
Central Michigan lands at #5 in this month’s rankings after seeing action at one event in the month of September. CMU earned wins over Kentucky and Saginaw Valley State at the Early Access Tournament, but despite a fantastic 2nd Half comeback, they fell short in overtime against Michigan State. A win in that game and CMU would be much higher on this list, but the loss to MSU paired with MSU’s loss to BGSU later that day sort of shows that this team is not at all untouchable. One thing that fans unfortunately didn’t get to see in September was a Final Four rematch game between GVSU and CMU. It is a near certainty that we will see that matchup at GVSU on October 19th.
What a start to the season for the Bobcats! Ohio went 3-0 at the Buckeye Invitational, with wins over BGSU, Miami, and CSU. That performance solidified Ohio’s spot as the top dog in the state for the time being. The Bobcats looked deep and balanced at OSU, winning each game by multiple points. If Ohio can continue to improve, there is no reason why they can’t climb even higher on this list. One could argue the Bobcats deserve to be as high as #4 in the country this month.
The Redhawks take a bit of a stumble in this power rankings for two reasons. One, Ohio’s convincing win over Miami helped them leapfrog the rankings a bit, two, it’s becoming more clear that this Miami team relies too heavily on Tom Morand and Dominic Tyburski. With Morand out of the lineup this past weekend, the offense was simply lacking the firepower to beat an equally talented team in Ohio. A team that relies too heavily on a few players is not a recipe for long term success. Still, they were able to salvage the day with wins over Kent and BGSU. We will need to see improvement from more role players on Miami before we can move them back up next month.
8) Virginia Commonwealth
The Rams picked up 3 wins at the Shell Showdown against WVU, UVA, and UMD. While the scorelines weren’t particularly dominating, they were convincing wins that showed they are still in the upper half of the East Coast. What was good about the Rams performance was the team effort in each of their victories and not having to rely heavily on one or two players. Their next scheduled appearance is going to be in Akron for the annual Pink Out tournament. That event should provide a strong indicator of whether or not this team is capable of reaching heights never achieved by this program.
9) Ohio State
The Buckeyes proved many doubters wrong on their home court last weekend where they went 3-0 at the Buckeye Invitational. OSU took down BGSU, Akron, and UC, which may not have been the toughest slate of any team at the event, but they won each game in impressive fashion. OSU had great performances from many players including Ben Johnson, Dylan Greer, and rookie sensation Ryan Ginsberg.
10) Saginaw Valley State
Saginaw Valley State had a sub par start to the season, going 1-2 at Early Access, with 4-point losses to in-region foes Central Michigan and Grand Valley State. The Cardinals clearly have a lot to replace this season, as was seen by their roster full of new faces. Saginaw did have some promising young players showing off their skill at the Early Access Tournament, so there is still reason for optimism. While Saginaw may look weaker than in recent years, if they can develop talent the way they usually do, this team should be deep and dangerous by the winter semester.
11) Bowling Green State
No team had more of a roller coaster month than Bowling Green. BGSU started their season getting blown out of the water by a superior GVSU team. They followed that up with an upset over Michigan State in an overtime thriller that as of now is the game of the year. Unfortunately for the Falcons, a week later they traveled to Ohio State for the Buckeye Invitational and promptly went 0-3, with blowout losses to OSU and Ohio, along with a close loss to Miami. This team will need to rebound in October to get back into the top 10.
Maryland was looking solid at their home tournament against West Virginia and UVA with no problem. Then they fall short against VCU. However, they’re an organized team that knows what they want to do on both sides of the court. Shawn Sullivan, Zach Fernald, and company are poised on having another successful season. Their next tournament will more than likely be in November.
13) Cleveland State
CSU moves up two spots to #13 after going 2-1 at the Buckeye Invitational. The Vikings’ only loss was at the hands of undefeated Ohio, making that 2-1 record even more impressive. CSU has a very strong top-end group of players, and they were strong enough to lead the team to wins over Kent and Akron. Cleveland State is a very intriguing team right now, and one to watch moving forward especially when we see them matchup against other teams in the top 15.
14) Wisconsin Platteville
Wisconsin Platteville has yet to play a game this season, but they remain at #14 in the Power Rankings due to their potential. UWP is a young squad that has the talent to compete with many of the teams above them on this list. They will see action this month at the Cornhusker Clash on Oct. 12, along with potentially an appearance at the GVSU tournament one weekend later. We wil have a much better gauge of Platteville after the month of October.
15) Penn State
Penn State falls to #15 this month after not competing at the Shell Showdown tournament at UMD last weekend. The Nittany Lions have historically been a middle of the pack East Coast team, but with the improvement of squads like VCU, UMD, and even WVU, they are in a more vulnerable position than in years past. The key for PSU is to get some early season events under their belt, so their younger players can develop. The Fall semester is crucial for development of players, and if PSU plans to remain a top 15 team, they will need to give their players some early season tournament experience.
Akron moves down to #16 on the Power Rankings after a 1-2 day at the Buckeye Invitational. No team in Ohio had more production to replace this offseason than Akron, but they were able to field a competitive team in September, which is a good sign. Akron earned a win over Cincinnati, while losing to Ohio State and Cleveland State. They certainly will need to develop their younger players if they plan to finish as a top 10 team once again in 2020.
17) West Virginia
For a 3rd year team in the league, I’m very impressed on how well WVU has performed this past week. They’re a young team that plays with energy and a system that complements their players. Cory Nasiadka is the real deal and is more than worthy of being an East Coast OT player and will win another East Coast player honor this year.
Kentucky made the trek up to East Lansing again this fall for an early season test. While UK was unable to earn any wins over varsity teams, the Wildcats didn’t get blown out in any of their matchups. The win/loss column might not be the greatest for Kentucky at the moment, but they earned some very valuable experience at that tournament and showed some signs of improvement from last year.
Cincinnati started their season off looking much improved from a year ago. The Bearcats went 1-2 at the Buckeye Invitational, with a 3-2 win over Kent State (their second win ever as an NCDA program). Cincy looks like a team to watch this year. They have potential, it just comes down to how much they can develop over the course of this year. In a deep and crowded Ohio Region, UC should not be counted out.
20) North Georgia
North Georgia slides down to #20, but they will have an opportunity to change the voters’ minds this weekend. UNG will take on GSU in a doubleheader to start the season down south. Expect this team to continue their win streak against Georgia Southern, but keep an eye on the younger players on their squad. UNG has a few stars to replace, and the best way to do that is to have improved depth. We will know a lot more about UNG after this weekend.