Now, this was a possibility after their unbeaten streak came to an end against Milwaukee on Sunday night, but it’s a little harsh in my opinion. Marquette has still played exceptionally well for the majority of the season and has beaten difficult teams (Kentucky and Louisville) on their way to a 7-2-1 record. There are some notable teams that are ahead of them in the rankings like Butler and Georgetown that they will face off in Big East play. It will come sooner rather than later against Butler as they will travel to Indianapolis to play them Sunday.
I’ll start with Butler. They are unofficially one spot ahead of Marquette in #31 position with a 6-1-1 record. Butler is one of those teams that I think deserves to be in the top 25 because they beat then #10 ranked Texas A&M and had a scoreless draw against then #18 ranked Notre Dame. The Bulldogs did have a bad loss against Ohio but aside from that 1-0 defeat, they haven’t given up a goal all season. Six shutout victories should put them in the top 25, but unfortunately I’m not the one who’s voting. What’s even more ridiculous is that Texas A&M is currently ranked ahead of the Bulldogs in an unofficial #28 position. You’d think if you beat a team you would get ranked higher than them especially considering the Aggies’ 4-2-1 record.
The Georgetown Hoyas are in a much better position in my opinion based off of their strength of schedule. They, like Marquette, lost to Stanford 4-0 but have otherwise taken care of business. The other times they haven’t won this season they lost 1-0 to #5 ranked West Virginia and drew 0-0 to #13 ranked Rutgers. The only reason they are currently ranked #15 and not higher is because they haven’t been able to squeeze out the victories against West Virginia and Rutgers which were both winnable games. Central Florida finds itself a spot ahead of them only because they beat then #4 North Carolina. Interestingly enough, the Knights have the played the least amount of games of the teams in the top 25 with just five. You’re probably thinking what I’m thinking... that it’s too small a sample size to put a team that high but their lone loss did come against #3 South Carolina so I can’t argue with their position.
The team that knocked the Golden Eagles out of the top 25, UWM, is at an unofficial #35 position with nine total votes. Going back to my earlier argument, the voters clearly don’t value head to head since they have neglected to put Milwaukee ahead of Marquette even though 1) they just beat them and 2) they are undefeated with a 9-0-1 record. Definitely a head-scratcher there. I think the Panthers should be in the top 25 because of their victory over Marquette and for being undefeated after playing over half their season. The only thing holding them back from the top 25 is the fact that the Golden Eagles are the only ranked team the Panthers have faced this year.
Lastly we have to mention how good Stanford Cardinal has been playing. They are ranked #2 in the country behind UCLA. What’s separates the two teams is that the Cardinal has lost one game while the Bruins are undefeated. After blowing out Marquette in the opener they’ve won six out of their next seven games by a combined score of 35-4. You read that right, the Cardinal have beaten opponents by scores as lopsided as 7-0 and 8-0. Marquette doesn’t look as bad holding Stanford to just four goals. In fact, remember how close it was in the first half against Stanford with the Golden Eagles only surrendering one goal? In all of their wins this season, the Cardinal have only been held to a goal or less in a half three other times. Two of those times came against Wisconsin and Georgetown, so the Golden Eagles are in good company.
What’s the case for the Golden Eagles to be in the top 25? Look no further than the current #25 ranked team. The Utah Utes are 5-2-1 and the only quality opponent they played was #4 Duke and they lost 2-1. I guess since they only lost by one goal they are given the benefit of the doubt? However, they have played two games less than Marquette, so it’s hard to tell if they’re the real deal. As you can tell by the trend, I don’t value teams as much if they’ve only played five or six games since that’s not enough of a sample size to tell if they’re legit compared to a Marquette team that posted a seven game win streak with a shutout streak of over 540 minutes. They have definitely proven themselves to be an elite team heading into the start of Big East conference play.
The Golden Eagles will have a change to bounce back this weekend when they play the Butler Bulldogs in Indianapolis. Hopefully (fingers crossed!) if they win that game they will jump ahead of Butler in the rankings, and perhaps back into the top 25. As it stands, Georgetown is the only Big East team in the top 25 but Butler and Marquette are not far behind sitting at #31 and #32 respectively. The good news for the Golden Eagles is that if they can beat both the Hoyas and the Bulldogs it will look great on their resume. On the flip side, if they lose to both these teams they will undoubtedly slide out of reach of the top 25. A big date to circle on your calendars is October 19 when MU will travel to Washington, D.C. to face the Hoyas.
You can check out the full top 25 poll right here.