There are the conference standings, and then there are the conference power rankings to help show what teams are on the rise or fading.
Off the Block special contributor Jonathan Bates released his latest MPSF Power Rankings, a new weekly that will appear on Off the Block each Tuesday during the rest of the regular season.
Bates has covered the MPSF for Off the Block during the last two seasons.This power ranking is the solely the views of Bates. Follow Bates on Twitter at @mpsf_bias.
MPSF POWER RANKING – Week 9
1. UC Irvine — You could make an argument that Hawai’i is the top and hottest team in the conference right now, but all things considered, I give the edge to UC Irvine because they have beaten Hawai’i two matches to one.
2. Hawai’i — I was skeptical of Hawai’i until this weekend, when they beat Pepperdine in both matches. Yes, Hawai’i has used their home court to their advantage, maybe not the extent of BYU, but they have won a game at UC Irvine.
3. USC — I would say there is a clear difference between No. 1 and No. 2 and the next three teams. If you go by records, USC is behind Pepperdine and BYU. While USC was up 2 sets to none to UC Irvine, going toe to toe with the top team in the conference, and also beating them in five on their home court is an achievement in itself. I would also say that if Micah Christenson was healthy versus UCLA, the result would have been different. Their schedule down the stretch is a bit easier than their foes as they are done with UC Irvine, Hawai’i, and BYU
4. Pepperdine — What is Pepperdine’s best victory this season? They’ve lost each time they’ve played UC Irvine and USC and got swept by Hawai’i. Its best victory is versus Long Beach State. They have the schedule to make up ground with a match remaining vs UC Irvine and USC, and two matches versus BYU – all four at home.
5. BYU — BYU is Jekyl and Hyde. They are unstoppable at Smith Fieldhouse but so-so on the road. Yes, they have split at USC, but their two losses at Stanford are inexcusable. Before this weekend, I would have had BYU at least in the top three and probably top two. It still has matches against Hawai’i and UC Irvine left.
6. Long Beach State — The next cluster of teams are in the No. 6 through No. 8 range. I put Long Beach State on top of UC Santa Barbara and UCLA because they split with UCSB and won both matches versus UCLA.
7. UC Santa Barbara — You could make an argument that UC Santa Barbara should be No. 6 in this poll because it swept USC at home, but their last three wins have come against the three worst teams in this poll.
8. UCLA — UCLA is what UCLA has been all year – loads of young talent. They are inconsistent – they beat USC (and CSUN) at home then lose in five to Long Beach State after being up 2-1. The Bruins are still looking for their identity in some ways. There is a lot to be optimistic about in Westwood.
9. Stanford — Sadly for Cardinal fans, as exciting and surprising as the two wins versus BYU were, they did not have any bearing on where I put them in this poll. Stanford is better than the bottom three teams in this poll, but I think what the BYU matches told me is that BYU is not as good as we might have been led to believe.
10. CSUN — CSUN has beaten UC Santa Barbara, but really there is not much else to hang their hat on.
11. Cal Baptist — The Lancers’ six wins have come either against UC San Diego (two) or non-NCAA Division I-II schools (twice versus Holy Names and UC Merced).
12. UC San Diego — The Tritons are still looking for their first conference victory this season.