Who’s Really No. 1? DigNittany’s North Pole Poll Says Not Penn State (plus Top Ten Action this Week, Upset Alerts, and More)

The North Pole Poll isn’t actually held at the North Pole, but we still might get a cold reception

Lionsfan’s Take on the Week that Was

The Top 3 Teams All Lost: You do the Math

What a crazy week of volleyball!  No. 2 beats No. 1 . . . and then loses to No. 8, while No. 4 beats No. 3.  That’s right…the top three teams all lost.

What does all that math mean?  Penn State is ranked No. 1 for the first time since the 2011 preseason poll — a streak that only lasted one week, thanks to the loss at home last year to Oregon (funny how that all ties together, huh?).  The Lions are the third team to be ranked No. 1 this year, following stints by UCLA and Nebraska (not shocking, considering those three programs are the top three all-time in weeks at No. 1.)

About Those Ducks

Undefeated  and with some impressive road wins, the Ducks soared to No. 2 in the 9-24-12 AVCA Poll, with many fans and coaches having them slotted at the top. From GoDucks.com:

UO has now jumped a whopping 18 positions since its No. 20 preseason polling in early August, and this week’s season high ranking was four better than its all-time best (sixth) from four years ago on October 13.

Who’s on First? (Hint: Not Penn State)

And after watching Penn State’s effort at home against Iowa last weekend, I certainly wouldn’t have put the Lions first.  Is there an argument for them to be there?  Of course it’s the easiest choice given the wacky week of volleyball:

  • Penn State has four quality wins (three of which were at home) and one bad loss.
  • Oregon has one very impressive road win (and two other respectable roads wins);
  • USC has one great win, one respectable win, and one good loss;
  • UCLA has three good wins and 2 good losses;
  • Washington has one great road win.

So basically, who knows? You can argue from alot of angles, but the teams are all close.

Regardless of who’s been on first, it seems like just when we think we know who might be the best team, they get tripped up.  A total of six teams picked up at least one first place vote in the 9-24-12 AVCA Poll, and I imagine this season is going to get wackier as it progresses.

And the Pac 12 vs. B1G battle continues to play out in the polls — eight of the Top 10 teams come from those two power conferences, and with conference play heating up in the next few weeks, you have to wonder if it’s going to get even harder for the pollsters to figure it all out.  Both Oregon and Washington are undefeated and are sitting in the prettiest positions, with the most room to grow here.

DigNittany’s North Pole Poll (It’s Cold at the Top)

Each week, in addition to publishing the AVCA Weekly Poll, the AVCA publishes the votes of its 60 voters (you can find the most recent listing here: DI Poll Voters Weekly.)

With all the debate about who really is No. 1, we decided to dive right into it.  We took the votes of Penn State’s head coach Russ Rose (as published by the AVCA), and added them to the votes of Lionsfan (who gets to vote because he wrote this article), and the votes of DigNittany’s crack team of statisticians and researchers (who spent no time on this, but enjoyed the process), and combined them for our first weekly DigNittanyVolleyball North Pole Poll:

DigNittanyVolleyball's North Pole Poll (It's Cold at the Top)

RankRuss Rose's
Top 10
(as voted in
the 9-24-12
AVCA Poll)
Top 10
not eligible
for the
AVCA Poll)
Top 10
not eligible
for the
AVCA Poll)
North Pole Poll
North Pole
Poll Points
(10 Pts)
(9 Pts)
(8 Pts)
(7 Pts)
Penn StateWashingtonWashingtonWashington20
(6 Pts)
WashingtonPenn StatePenn StatePenn State19
(5 Pts)
NebraskaStanfordNebraskaNebraska 14

(4 Pts)
(3 Pts)
(2 Pts)
HawaiiHawaiiMinnesotatie for #9 -
Hawaii and
(1 Pt)
Kansas StateTexasHawaii

Lionsfan Looks Ahead

This Week’s AVCA Top Ten Acton

1. Penn State @ Wisconsin, @ #10 Minnesota

2. Oregon vs. Utah, vs. Colorado

3. USC @ #5 Washington, @Washington State

4. UCLA @ #5 Washington, @Washington State

5. Washington vs. #4 UCLA, vs. #3 USC

6. Nebraska vs. #24 Michigan State, vs. Michigan

7. Stanford @Arizona, @Arizona State

8. Hawaii vs. UC Irvine, vs. Long Beach State

9. Texas @Baylor, @ Texas Tech

10. Minnesota vs. #22 Ohio State, vs. #1 Penn State

Other Key Clashes This Week

#21 Illinois @ #13 Purdue

Upset Alerts

#15 Kansas State @ Baylor (Wildcats’ fourth game in 11 days);

Michigan @ #6 Nebraska

Crystal Ball

Lionsfan’s Big Match Picks

  • Minnesota over Penn State
  • Washington over USC
  • UCLA over Washington

Because really, wouldn’t those results make next week’s poll even more impossible to do?

Next Week’s Top 10

1. Oregon, 2. UCLA, 3. Washington, 4. USC, 5. Penn State, 6. Nebraska, 7. Stanford, 8. Minnesota, 9. Hawaii, 10. Texas