I’ve been waiting somewhat patiently for the latest edition of the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports poll to come out today to see what, if any, respect Air Force would receive now that its beaten the No. 3 team in the country and lost a tight game to the No. 9 team.
Though I’m not necessarily surprised, voters still refuse to respect the Falcons or, for that matter, the league in which they play. Air Force entered the weekend perfect, 12-0-0, but many said its schedule wasn’t difficult enough to warrant a top ranking. I somewhat agree. The fact that the Falcons had been blowing away inferior opponents had me voting them higher (I believe 7th on my ballot last week).
When today’s poll came out, the Falcons were ranked 10th, one spot higher than last week. My argument is that Air Force, in knocking off No. 3 Colorado College in CONVINCING fashion, deserved a better fate. Some will say that Air Force lost a night later, but that shouldn’t impact the position that much. Every team in front of Air Force has losses, most team more than two and some teams have four or five losses.
The fact that Air Force is being held back because it is a member of Atlantic Hockey should be a crushed argument after this past weekend. Other Atlantic Hockey members were dominant and, in fact, the league posted a 5-3-1 record out of conference on the week. Mercyhurst won the RPI tournament by beating the host, RPI, and the No. 7 team in the country. Cansisius took three of four points from Clarkson, a pre-season top 20. Connecticut manhandled Brown. The only non-league losses of the week by Atlantic Hockey members were by RIT, which admittedly got manhandled by UMass-Lowell, Holy Cross, which lost a heartbreaker to former No. 1 Boston University, and the aforementioned loss of Air Force.
I really hoped that the pollsters (in full disclosure, I voted Air Force third this week) would have taken this opportunity to correct the Falcons under-rating. Though maybe it’s better off – teams might continue to take Air Force lightly and proceed to get outplayed. This is a team that deserves respect and I’m confident will continue to earn it.
UPDATE (4:15 PM ET): The other poll was just released at Air Force was also 10 in that poll. Good to see that short-sightedness in voting is not limited to USCHO’s balloters!