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Lambert Power Rankings, 10/18/2008

One win this week - Lafayette's win over No. 14-ranked Liberty - had huge effects for the Patriot League across all manner of polls this week, and the Lambert Power Rankings were no exception.

First, Lafayette became the first Patriot League school to spend time in the Sports Network's Top 25, debuting this week at No. 24.

Even though TSN voters were impressed, the official ECAC Lambert Poll this week saw Lafayette remain at No. 8, while Colgate also made an appearance at No. 9.

Lafayette was already represented in my weekly Lambert Power Rankings, but they've shot up from No. 9 to No. 5, possibly because I rate the win over Liberty highly. Here are my power rankings (including, in parenthesis, their ranking last week):

1. (1) James Madison (CAA, 6-1, 74 points)
2. (2) Richmond (CAA, 5-3, 67.5 points)
3. (3) New Hampshire (CAA, 5-1, 58 points)
4. (5) Villanova (CAA, 5-1, 55 points)
5. (9T) Lafayette (Patriot, 5-1, 50 points)
6T. (4) UMass (CAA, 4-3, 48.5 points)
6T (NR) Maine (CAA, 4-3, 48.5 points)
8. (6) William & Mary (CAA, 4-2, 47.5 points)
9. (NR) Colgate (Patriot, 5-2, 44.5 points)
10. (NR) Albany (NEC, 4-3, 43 points)

Interesting that my LPR and the actual Lambert Cup poll almost came out the same this week, only subbing out Harvard in the voters' poll for Maine in mine. (And Harvard came in at No. 11 in the LPR this week with 41 points, so they're not at all far off the board.) Worthy of mention is that Sacred Heart and Yale - who were in last week's Lambert Cup poll but weren't in my LPR - ended up losing.

I'll say it again: it's strange that Lafayette arguably had the biggest non-conference win in a decade - yet still stayed at No. 8 in the Lambert Cup voter's poll.

The GPI this week shows Maine as well as Harvard and Northeastern (instead of Colgate and Albany) as the strongest teams in the East:

1. James Madison (1.00)
2. Villanova (4.25)
3. Richmond (5.38)
4. New Hampshire (10.25)
5. William & Mary (13.13)
6. UMass (15.63)
7T. Harvard (23.00)
7T. Maine (23.00)
9. Lafayette (26.25)
10. Northeastern (27.50)

Interestingly, the GPI lists four teams ahead of Colgate and Albany in the East as I define it (Liberty, Delaware, Hofstra, Holy Cross). Note the presence of two sub-.500 CAA teams, which would be very unlikely to make it into the Top 10 in my system.

Here's the GPI of all the Patriot League schools (and the change from last week):

26T. Lafayette (26.25) (+19)
46. Holy Cross (38.13) (-6)
47. Colgate (38.25) (+13)
64. Lehigh (50.00) (+2)
69. Fordham (53.13) (+13)
85. Bucknell (62.50) (-3)
107. Georgetown (76.00) (-4)

Don't ask me why Holy Cross loses six spots by beating Dartmouth. Perhaps they should have blown them out more?

Of the eight playoff conferences, the Patriot League leapfrogged over the OVC this week (and also the Ivy League) thanks to the Lafayette and Fordham wins. That makes the Patriot League the sixth-best autobid conference out of eight autobid conferences. The Patriot League, OVC, Big South and Ivy are very close in ranking - only about 1 1/2 points separate all the conferences, with the MEAC continuing to bring up the rear (more than 10 points behind the Patriot League).

As heady as this sounds, the Partiot League has three out-of-conference games left - two against Marist, which will hurt the GPI no matter what the score, and Georgetown this week plays Richmond, a near-certain defeat that should not count much against the GPI. In contrast, the OVC has one out-of-conference game against FBS Auburn. Look for the OVC to surpass the Patriot League when all is said and done.

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