The Pacific Coast, South and Southern California are playing league matches now, and the West will gear up in the next couple of weeks. As the rest of the country waits for its pitches to thaw, the rankings will alter to reflect the traditional strengths and finishes of the aforementioned unions.
The Pacific Coast teams will receive the most attention, and their drive up the rankings forced Midwest teams Michigan and Northern Iowa south. Stanford is the obvious leader on the west coast, but we're hesitant to move them up until they start putting together some convincing wins. The Cardinal went 3-3 at their own tournament in mid-January and recently lost to Fresno State 25-20 in a friendly. They have a nice build-up to their season, however, beginning with easier teams UC Santa Cruz and Sacramento State, which are new to DI, then ramping up toward playoffs with matches against Cal, Davis and Chico.
The latter two tied 17-all in their league opener, then Davis beat Cal 30-10 and Chico defeated Sac State 54-12 last Saturday. We gave the edge to the previously unranked Chico, which rejoined league play after a year's hiatus, since the team beat Davis at the Stanford Invitational.
Colorado broke the top eight after winning the Stanford Invitational, but coach Jim Stebbins was quick to acknowledge the performance gap, considering CU was playing league matches all fall. In fact, the team ended the season on a low note, losing to Colorado State in its last game last year. However, once the Pac Coast teams get a few more games under their boots, expect the Colorado teams to slip a few slots.
In SoCal, UCLA began its season with a runner-up performance at the Stanford Invitational, followed by wins over UC Santa Barbara and Arizona State. The early weeks showcased a young, inexperienced backline, but the return of some key veterans have re-established the wide-open, exciting running game for which the Bruins are recognized. This Saturday evening, they take on UC San Diego, which is also undefeated thus far.
In the South, top contenders East Carolina and North Carolina Chapel Hill initiated their seasons with wins. ECU, which beat UNC in the fall, outscored opponents 140-0 in two matrix matches, and UNC put up 104 points and allowed 22 during games against NC State and UNC Wilmington. The highly anticipated match-up occurs this weekend.
The revivification of these unions means teams like the Midwest's Michigan and Northern Iowa will also start to slip in the rankings. During last year's nationals, the Midwest won one of four games played, and that came against the Northeast's third seed. Through no fault of its own, Grand Valley falls to #25, since West Chester and Dartmouth will be attending Nationals.
Women DI College Top 25 - Feb 3, 2011
1 (1) Penn State (5-0) (7-0). idle
2 (2) Army (8-0). idle
3 (3) Brown (6-2) (7-3). idle
4 (4) Navy (1-0) (4-3). idle
5 (5) BYU (4-0). idle
6 (6) Stanford (4-4). 3-3 at Stanford Invitational; lost 25-20 to Fresno State (friendly)
7 (7) Virginia (4-0) (13-2). idle
8 (13) Colorado State (3-1) (4-1). idle
9 (16) Colorado (2-2) (5-1). Won Stanford Invitational
10 (18) UCLA (2-0) (6-2). Defeated UCSB 18-13, ASU 43-5
11 (unr) Chico State (1-0-1) (3-4-1). Tied Davis 17-17, defeated Sac State 54-12
12 (19) UC Davis (1-0-1) (5-1-1). Tied Chico 17-17, defeated Cal 30-10
13 (12) Texas Tech (1-0) (4-1). idle
14 (22) East Carolina (2-0). Defeated Appalachian State 80-0 and Southern Carolina 60-0
15 (24) North Carolina (1-0) (2-0). Defeated NC State 64-12 and UNC Wilmington 40-10
16 (8) Michigan (7-1) (8-3-1). idle
17 (9) Northern Iowa (6-2) (7-3-1). idle
18 (11) Eastern Illinois (9-1). idle
19 (14) New Mexico (3-1). idle
20 (15) Texas A&M (0-1) (10-2). idle
21 (20) California (1-1) (3-4). Defeated UC Santa Cruz 60-0, lost to UC Davis 30-10
22 (17) UC San Diego (2-0). Defeated ASU 43-17 and UCSB 24-0
23 (10) Grand Valley State (6-2) (8-2). idle
24 (25) West Chester (3-2) (5-3). idle
25 (25) Dartmouth (6-5) (6-6). idle