Another week, another set of power rankings.
This week is a bit different though. It was really difficult to rank these teams this week. Why was it so much tougher than usual? The SoCon was really, really good this week.
Western Carolina beat Appalachian State at home. VMI beat Longwood relatively easily. The Citadel took care of James Madison dramatically. Chattanooga barely lost at Marshall and then cruised by Charlotte. Wofford beat Georgia Tech. Samford had Memphis dead to rights before finding a way to lose. Furman disposed of UNC-Asheville. ETSU got revenge on Northern Kentucky. UNCG destroyed Elon.
That leaves Mercer with only a performance that they did not exceed expectations this week. They only beat a horrid Florida A&M team by 18 points. It’s hardly like that was a disappointment.
The five losses the conference had this week were when Samford blew a last fifteen second four point lead at Memphis, Chattanooga had multiple opportunities to tie or win it in the final minute before losing at Marshall, VMI played Davidson close for a half before falling, Samford playing Clemson close for a half before falling, and Western Carolina getting beat at North Carolina.
There is not an embarrassing loss in the bunch (unless you count the nearly unbelievable way that Samford lost to Memphis.
It was a 12-5 week for SoCon teams. They went 10-5 against D1 teams. On top of that, many of those wins came easier than expected. It was a very good week for SoCon teams.
We haven’t even done more than mention that Wofford beat Georgia Tech.
The league struggled to find their footing in the first week or so of the season, but there has been gradual improvement from virtually every team. I would say that there are only two teams not meeting or exceeding expectations for the season- one is Samford, who is still not whole as a team, and the other is The Citadel, who is guaranteed to not be whole again this year since they are missing Preston Parks. Beyond that, I’d say everyone is basically meeting or exceeding expectations, especially if you start looking more recently.
Teams are improving. Some of them rapidly. This is going to be a really interesting conference season.
On to our most recent power rankings.
7) Western Carolina
10) The Citadel
Looking at this week’s rankings, the top 3 are all very tightly bunched, with all of us having them in a different order. The bottom four are the same way- all mixed up in our various rankings. The middle three are pretty standard throughout, with minor variations here or there (ETSU climbs to third on one ballot, drops to fifth on another, for example).
The SoCon is getting more interesting by the week. With Monday and Tuesday off this week, we are hoping to get a lot more coverage out this week.