Heading into the final month of MCLA action, things are coming to a standstill. The top thirteen positions in the Coaches Poll remained exactly as-is this week. Things slowed down for most teams over the past couple of weeks to focus on school, or break. Those that did play, won the games that they should, but not by enough to convince a hop in the rankings.
Our league leader was not different. #1 Georgia Tech took time off after the hard fought win over #7 Florida State. This weekend, they’ll go over five-thousand feet above sea-level for what should be the last major tests of the regular season. The Rumbling Wreck meets #5 Colorado on Friday, then #10 Colorado State on Saturday, before returning home for the rest of their conference schedule. Stay tuned, this could be the last chance for a real shakeup before the playoffs.
Late Start Catches Eagles
#18 Boston College finally played… and they lost! Their much anticipated season opener against New Hampshire, 9-10. With the loss, BC will take a hard fall, dropping four spots in the poll. Shoutout to senior Steven Van Fossan for trying to make it happen with 5 goals and 1 assist in the opener. They’ll follow up with #16 Virginia Tech, #20 South Carolina, and #14 Michigan State this weekend in Maryland. A third of their schedule will be played against top-ranked teams in one weekend. Best of luck to the Eagles.
Catching a Break
The Boston College start was so bad for most coaches, that they hurled them down the rankings by four whole spots. The diversion allowed #15 Oregon to sidestep the commotion and actually move up a spot in the polls. Despite taking nearly a month off and dropping two of their last three games against unranked teams, the Ducks took another step forward in line. #16 Virginia Tech was also able to piggyback off the situation and climb a couple of spots. They’ve only lost to #20 South Carolina, #3 Grand Canyon, and #8 Arizona State by four goals between the three games. The Hokies have throttled their conference games so far, with a combined score of 27-4. They have #16 BC and #14 MSU dialed up for the weekend get together in crab country. That weekend is really going to tell us a lot about these teams.
Believe in the Beav!
For whatever reason, a loss to #22 San Diego State is going to come back to haunt #13 Oregon State. With two games left, the Beavers have an opportunity to finish 13-1, undefeated in the PNCLL, and claim Civil War dominance over the Ducks to close things out. They’re already 4-0 in conference, with a big win over #21 Boise State under the belt. Maybe #12 UC Santa Barbara’s Wednesday night slip-up with unranked Sonoma State will help OSU’s case. There’s no reason they aren’t held in higher regard. The season finale with Oregon will be as good, or better, than any conference playoff game.
Why Not the Seawolves/Sooners?
Can someone explain how a team that is 7-4, with only blemishes coming to Top 15 teams, and two wins over ranked opponents can’t get a number next to their name? Okay, the poll came out before they shocked #12 UC Santa Barbara, 12-9, but Sonoma State knocked off #25 Liberty weeks before. The only losses on their record come to #2 Cal, #3 Grand Canyon, #13 Oregon State, and #15 Oregon. Everyone should agree that those are some pretty decent teams to lose to. Following the big win against the Gauchos, coaches would have to dig up some wild excuses to leave them out.
Now let’s make a case for Oklahoma. 10-0. That’s a good start. They won three games, in two days, last weekend. Two on Saturday and one on Sunday, each day with a conference win. Impressive, right? They finished undefeated in the LSA. By a combined score of 84 to 27 in conference. Even better. Now I get it, no ranked opponents popped up along with way. That doesn’t mean they aren’t getting the job done. This is a seriously good ball club. They’ve got Texas State and Texas on their plate this weekend. Don’t expect the Sooners to slow down anytime… near the current time.
DII Conflict in the Northwest
We’ve have to talk about the rolling wildfire that is the #16 College of Idaho. The Yotes made an unprecedented eight spot leap up the rankings after stunning former #15 ranked UC Santa Cruz, 10-9, and #23 Southern Oregon in the same weekend. This is the second week in school history that the program Coach Matt Gier has built achieves a national ranking. They’re rolling hot, but 7-0 comes with a lot of pressure. There’s four games left, all against unranked opponents and a pesky D1 team in Wazzu at the end. Fans of the MCLA should keep their eyes on how they handle the next three weeks.
On the other side of the PNCLL, #17 Western Washington is following suit with a clean, 3-0, record. The Vikings chalked up their midseason dance with D1 rival Washington as a scrimmage, so the loss didn’t scar their season. Like the Yotes, they also got the best of #23 SOU, but Western has to follow things up at D1 talent Simon Fraser. Then it’s all conference games until bracket time. That’s where it’s likely an all-out dogfight between the Vikings and the Yotes for the PNCLL glory.
Actually, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. WWU still needs to square off with an impressive Montana squad. The Griz are 6-4, but don’t let the record fool you. Their only D2 loss was at the hands of #2 Concordia-Irvine. Aside from Western and a few more conference battles, they’ve got #8 Montana State and a few D1 teams left on the docket. Don’t be surprised if Montana is another team that springboards up through the Coaches Poll.
Cover Photo by Robert White