Week 7 College Beach Power Rankings: Steady at the Top, Madness Elsewhere
The top five teams in these rankings have made life easy for anyone doing rankings. They’re all, for the most part, taking care of business.
But after that? The NCAA Selection Committee is going to have one heck of a time with this gargantuan — and fun — mess of things. Everybody is beating everybody, making the final three teams, and the first four out, a bit of a random guessing game.
1. UCLA (21-0, previously #1)
It has officially been more than a month since a team has been able to steal multiple sets off the Bruins — or, as some regular Facebook commenters like to say, “BruWins.” That’s how good, and deep, they are, with no sign of slowing down. Even with Stetson, LSU, Florida State and Florida International all loaded back to back to back to back this past weekend, they still went 18-2 in four wins.
2. USC (16-3, previously #2)
This week presented a rare hiccup for USC, a 3-2 loss at Pepperdine in its only match. But a 3-2 loss to one of the top programs in the country isn’t the worst result. Losing at this point in the season can actually be quite beneficial, particularly with a West Region bid all but locked up for Gulf Shores anyway. Best to figure out the holes now and shore them up for NCAAs.
3. Florida State (17-5, previously #3)
There is such thing as a good loss, and that’s when it comes at the hands of UCLA. There’s no real downside to playing the Bruins at this point, especially when it comes to seeding and ranking. Teams are expected to compete, but not necessarily win. So with the Seminoles going 3-1 on the week, their lone loss to those undefeated Bruins, it can be considered a good week.
4. LSU (17-5, previously #4)
They have another big week ahead, with a date against TCU and the Giant Killers in South Carolina, who are the team most capable of upsets this season.
5. Pepperdine (16-6, previously #5)
After a few tweaks to the lineup, both in where certain players are playing and where certain coaches are coaching, the Waves are beginning to roll, landing arguably their biggest win of the season with a 3-2 upset over USC on Saturday.
They’ll have a week off this week before a rematch with — guess who? — those very same Trojans.
6. Hawai’i (18-7, previously #6)
This is where we get to the anarchy of these rankings. Where the Bows and Poly and FIU and Berkeley and South Carolina and Stetson go from here is anybody’s best guess. The Bows did put together five consecutive sweeps before a 3-2 upset at the hands of Cal Poly, but such is beach volleyball, where if you take transitive property and remove UCLA, then everyone has beaten everyone.
Hawai’i just so happens to have beaten a lot of good programs, and most all the ones it should be beating as well.
7. Cal Poly (15-6, previously unranked)
I had reached a point with Poly that if it dropped another match this year then playoffs were likely out of the picture. So when the Mustangs fell to Long Beach State, I figured that was probably that. And then, because sports are fantastic, they upset Hawai’i the next day.
Sports are awesome. March Madness is real. Welcome to the top-8, Cal Poly.
8. FIU (11-8, previously #8)
If nothing else personifies the value of a difficult schedule, Florida International is it. The Panthers have lost eight matches, yes. But all eight of those matches have come against teams ranked in the top-six.
Meanwhile, they have beaten contending programs such as Stetson (twice), Grand Canyon, Georgia State and GCU. Coach Rita Buck-Crockett knew when she took her team out West in March that, when it comes down to it, FIU needs really only to beat the East Coast teams to seal up the third East Region slot for Gulf Shores. At the moment, it’s doing just that.
First Four Out
South Carolina (13-6)
Cal Berkeley (14-3)
Long Beach State (17-5)
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