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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | September 19, 2022

Stanford takes big jump in Power 10 rankings, Florida and Pitt enter after crazy week in college volleyball

College volleyball rankings: Florida enters Power 10 after wild week

Alright. Not to be dramatic, but this was hands down the toughest Power 10 ranking I have ever had to create. We had an absolute wild week in college volleyball. And I know I have said that before, but this one truly takes the cake. 

Stanford took down then-No.2 Nebraska on Tuesday night, then fell to No.3 Louisville later in the week. Ohio State was swept by Pittsburgh on Sunday. Florida took down Wisconsin in five-sets in front of a record-breaking 16,833-person crowd. Minnesota lost to Pepperdine, Georgia Tech lost to Arkansas, and more. 

I mean ... HOW? It is tough to take into consideration the strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, the eye test and prior rankings when there was that much parity. I made about seven lists, and quite frankly, I could justify pretty much every one of them. But, had to go with something. Here is my very volatile Power 10 for the week: 

1. Texas

Pretty much the only sure thing on here is Texas. This is the only slot that I didn't have to think about ... the Longhorns are the well-deserved No. 1 team in the nation. 

2. Louisville

This was the second easiest placement after Louisville pulled off a great week with tough opponents. First, they took down ranked Kentucky in a crazy five-set in-state battle. The Cards followed it up with a statement win over Stanford, a hot team, on Sunday. They got better as the match went on, and Claire Chaussee was on fire as she led all hitters with 19 kills at a .310 clip. 

3. Nebraska

I have the Huskers down one spot at No. 3 following the loss to Stanford. Ultimately, I couldn't justify moving anyone else up to the three-slot when the Huskers have just one loss now on the season to a top-five team in my eyes. They followed up the loss with a sweep over then-No. 13 Kentucky last week. 

4. Stanford

Now — No. 4 was perhaps the hardest slot to rank. I ended up going bold and throwing the Stanford Cardinal up here. This team now has two top-three wins, over then-No. 3 Minnesota and last week's No. 2 Nebraska. Plus, a huge win over Florida, a team that just took down Wisconsin on the road. Every loss that the Cardinal have are good losses — to Texas, the No. 1 team in the nation, and a five-set loss to Penn State. Even more impressive, this team is pulling out wins despite playing really high in errors. In the win over Nebraska, the Cardinal practically handed the Huskers two FULL sets, and still won it. They racked up 44 errors with 23 service errors. That is almost a whole set in service errors alone. This is something they can certainly fix, so if they are pulling out that big of wins with this many errors, I can only see them going up from here. 

5. San Diego

I ALMOST put the Toreros at No. 4, but ended up slotting them right below Stanford at five. San Diego has been more than impressive, and when you look at ranked wins, they now are 9-1 on the season with huge wins over Pittsburgh and Ohio State, and just one loss (which is what I consider to be a good loss) to my No. 2 team in Louisville. This is more ranked wins and fewer defeats than Wisconsin, who I have right below them. 

6. Wisconsin

Out of all the teams, I was perhaps the most confused about Wisconsin. I have them at No. 6, but I could have justified putting them lower. The Badgers suffered a loss to Florida last week in front of an almost 17,000 Badger-strong crowd at the Kohl Center. This team looked really lost in the first two sets, but then flipped a switch and was able to spark a comeback to force a fifth set. Danielle Hart gives me a lot of hope for this team, as she was the huge it-factor in that matchup and probably the only consistent player all night long. I would like to see more of Anna Smrek, I mean she was the national title MVP for crying out loud, and when she came off the bench against Florida she was on fire. There are certainly a lot of holes right now for Wisconsin, but I also see a lot of potential. I am keeping them at six for now, with conference play looming. 

7. Penn State

I have Penn State at No. 7, but I also could've argued them to be higher. This team is under a new head coach, with almost an entirely new look, and I am so impressed by how they have started the season. They are undefeated so far and have a HUGE win over Stanford in five sets. I would have put them higher, but they didn't play anyone significant as of late to justify a bigger jump. 

8. Florida

Welcome, Florida! The Gators are in my Power 10, which could be a curve ball to some. Florida has two losses to Stanford and Minnesota, but man, did they pull off a HUGE win over Wisconsin in front of almost 17,000 Badger fans. That is insane to think about. Florida's offensive attack in the win was led by a career-high 21-kill performance from Merritt Beason — she among others really impressed me. The Gators were able to withstand a huge comeback attempt from Wisconsin, and they did it in an incredibly hostile environment. They have no bad losses either, which is the reason why I dropped a few teams out this week. The Gators have been competing with top teams and knocking on the door, and I am throwing them in now.

9. Minnesota

The Gophers drop to No. 9 but remain in my top 10 after struggling a little bit as of late. They lost over the weekend to then-No. 22 Pepperdine in four sets. Pepperdine is a team that is rising in the rankings, so I wouldn't consider it a horrible loss. Nonetheless, it was the Gophers' second loss in a row after falling to Stanford the prior week. Mckenna Wucherer did make her collegiate debut in the loss and tallied 13 kills. She had missed the first six games due to injury, and was a really big name heading into the season as a top-ranked recruit. So I am excited to see how she gets more involved moving forward. 

10. Pittsburgh

Lastly — No. 10. This was the second toughest spot to slot after No. 4. I highly considered Ohio State, Pitt, Purdue and Georgia Tech for this spot. Especially Ohio State, a team with three huge wins over Louisville, BYU and Georgia Tech. With BYU and Georgia Tech falling off a bit, though, I valued those two wins slightly less. Plus, the Buckeyes were swept by Pittsburgh over the weekend, which I totally did not expect. SO, I decided to reward the head-to-head win where I could, and throw Pitt in over OSU, with the Buckeyes as my first team out. 

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