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College Hockey:
Can anyone deny the Q?

A mid-morning post positing a pressing predicament: Can anyone deny Quinnipiac the No. 1 vote this week?

Down went top-ranked Minnesota, victims of in-state upstart Minnesota State – at Mariucci Arena, no less. Down went No. 3 Boston College, slapped around in Chestnut Hill by what had been – entering the evening – the 5-14-4 Maine Black Bears. Down went No. 4 New Hampshire, dropping a road tilt at .500 Merrimack.

The Bobcats have run off 17 straight games without a loss (15-0-2). They have allowed more than two goals in a game once since Halloween (15-1-2 since then). They boast the second-best scoring margin in the country (+1.33), second only to Minnesota’s +1.88. QU has the second-best defense in D-I, allowing 1.58 goals per game – Miami’s 1.56 can be matched with one more one-goal-given performance.

And the kicker: Quinnipiac leads the nation in win percentage (.812), as they have for a few weeks now. They have one more win, one less loss, and one less tie than “top-ranked” Minnesota (.760). But doesn’t “The U” play a tougher schedule? Not according to the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) so far. QU has played the 18th-toughest schedule in Division I so far; Minnesota… 28th? There goes that argument.

So they haven’t played Boston College, Notre Dame, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Denver. Is that the team’s fault? Is it somehow the players’ job to book top competition? Or is it their job to win, regardless of foe? (It’s not easy getting elite non-conference games in Hamden, Conn., is what I’m saying.) The Bobcats swept Nebraska-Omaha and took three points against Ohio State. They beat Cornell, Dartmouth, and Union (twice), and haven’t lost a league game yet. Two tilts with Yale remain, and what a doozy those will be.

Quinnipiac doesn’t need the No. 1 spot. It doesn’t mean squat – they’re already No. 1 in the PairWise, the only rank that matters. They don’t care if you dismiss their schedule or opposition; they don’t care whether you think they’re good enough to go toe-to-toe with Minny or BC or UNH.

They don’t care what your justifications are for slighting them. But wouldn’t it be nice to recognize the best record, the best consistency, and – just maybe – the best team in the country, for what it is?

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