North Carolina re-enters Top 25; Penn State, Ohio State still ranked 1-2 heading into Holiday tournaments

Manheim, Pennsylvania — The nation’s top five teams have combined to go 34-0 in the first month and a half of the college wrestling season as the final USA Today/NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll was released on Wednesday for the 2017 calendar year.

Penn State (5-0) remains No. 1, while Ohio State (6-0), Oklahoma State (5-0) and Missouri (8-0) maintained their positions over the past week. NC State (10-0) moved up to No. 5, jumping one spot over Lehigh (6-1). The rest of the top ten was unchanged as the Big Ten took three of the four spots at 7-10 with Iowa, Minnesota, and Michigan staying put as did No. 10 Virginia Tech from the ACC.

Penn State beat Indiana 44-3 to open up its Big Ten schedule, while Ohio State dropped one individual bout in two neutral-site victories. The Buckeyes shut out Princeton prior to the Beast of the East in Newark, Delaware on Friday and then beat Chattanooga 39-3 at The Cooler in suburban Atlanta.

Oklahoma State got a scare on Tuesday night, splitting 10 matches with unranked Wyoming in a battle of Cowboys. The Stillwater-branded Cowboys won the dual 20-15 in a dual that saw two-time NCAA champion Dean Heil have his 55-match win streak snapped by Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith. A day earlier, Oklahoma State topped Northern Colorado 37-4.

NC State won nine out of 10 in Lincoln to beat then-No. 12 Nebraska 29-3. Things got worse for the Huskers as another ACC school came in and stole a victory. North Carolina (2-3) topped the Huskers 22-14 and re-entered the Top 25 at No. 24 this week. The Tar Heels did fall to then-No. 15 Northern Iowa 17-16 on criteria two days later. Nebraska slid six spots to No. 18.

The only other matchup between ranked teams saw No. 23 Central Michigan score a modest 24-10 upset over No. 19 Purdue on Monday. Central Michigan also picked up wins over Northern Illinois and SIU Edwardsville.

Other ranked teams earning wins last week were: Cornell topping Buffalo 31-6, Oklahoma edging Appalachian State 19-13 and the aforementioned Northern Iowa win over North Carolina. Lock Haven beat Bloomsburg and non-Division I schools Wheeling Jesuit and Messiah to improve to 4-0. North Carolina’s return meant Navy was forced out of the Top 25 one week after making its first appearance since 2008.

Of note, South Dakota State (4-2) is ranked 15th this week, the highest in program history at the Division I level. The Jackrabbits had been ranked as high as 16th on five different occasions, all coming since February 2017.

The next poll will be a Wednesday release on January 3, 2018.

The USA Today/NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll is comprised of two voting coaches from each Division I wrestling conference. Points are 25 for each first-place vote, 24 for second, 23 for third all the way to a 25th-place vote is one point.

Future Poll Dates (Tuesdays unless otherwise noted): January 3 (Wednesday), January 9, January 16, January 23, January 30, February 6, February 13, February 20, February, 27.

RankTeam (First)RecordPointsConferencePrevious
1Penn State5-0396Big Ten1
2Ohio State6-0388Big Ten2
3Oklahoma State5-0367Big 123
5NC State10-0333ACC6
7Iowa7-0301Big Ten7
8Minnesota3-1286Big Ten8
9Michigan2-1273Big Ten9
10Virginia Tech4-1260ACC10
11Arizona State2-2237Pac-1211
13Illinois1-2198Big Ten14
14Northern Iowa2-1191Big 1215
15South Dakota State4-2177Big 1216
16Wisconsin4-0145Big Ten18
17Rutgers3-2140Big Ten17
18Nebraska2-2103Big Ten12
19Oklahoma2-2101Big 1220
20Lock Haven4-081EWL22
21Central Michigan3-380MAC23
23Purdue4-170Big Ten19
24North Carolina2-337ACCNR

Others Receiving Votes: Navy 20, Northwestern 7, Utah Valley 6, Drexel 2, North Dakota State 2
Dropped Out: No. 25 Navy (3-0)

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