Lineup changes impact dual rankings as Penn State returns to top spot

Manheim, Pennsylvania – Addition and subtraction are two mathematical skills learned at an early age that carry people through the rest of their lives. In college wrestling, additions and subtractions to starting lineups impact wins, losses, and this week, the national rankings as Penn State returned to the top spot in the NWCA Division I Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.

The Nittany Lions (10-0) remained unbeaten with wins over unranked Indiana and Maryland over the weekend but were bolstered by the addition of Central Michigan transfer and All-American Drew Hildebrandt at 125 pounds. The Nittany Lions returned to the No. 1 spot for the first time since November 19, 2019. Second-ranked Iowa (8-0) had been ranked No. 1 in the NWCA Division I Coaches Poll for 28 straight ranking cycles. Despite beating No. 14 Minnesota 22-10 and then-No. 15 Purdue 36-4, the loss of three-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee from the Hawkeyes’ lineup seemed to be the difference-maker this week. Penn State received eight of the 14 first-place votes, while Iowa received the remaining six.

Michigan (4-0) also saw the return of All-American Logan Massa to the lineup and the debut of past NCAA champion Nick Suriano in a Wolverine singlet. Michigan topped then-No. 21 Pittsburgh on the road 29-12. Fourth-ranked Oklahoma State (8-0) picked up a 35-6 road win at Little Rock on Saturday night, while fifth-ranked NC State improved to 6-1 with a 32-9 win at Princeton. Ohio State (5-0) stayed put at No. 7 after a 27-14 win over Michigan State.

The upset bug bit a pair of top-10 teams as Nebraska and Cornell both lost to lower-ranked teams over the weekend. Nebraska (3-1) fell from No. 8 to No. 15 after dropping an 18-15 match to then-No. 15 Purdue in a bout with both teams missing key starters. The same was true in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania as No. 17 Lehigh upended rival Cornell 18-15, dropping the Big Red five spots to No. 13.

Wisconsin (6-0) made a significant jump this week, picking up wins over No. 23 Northwestern 19-14 and previously undefeated Rutgers 19-14. The Badgers return to the top ten for the first time since February 4, 2020.

Even with winter weather and Covid protocols messing with team’s previously scheduled events, 18 of the Top 25 teams were in action last week, sparked by the start of the Big Ten conference schedule.

South Dakota State (5-1) and Campbell (4-2) returned to the Top 25 after weekend victories. South Dakota State’s entry into the poll is its first this season and the first for the Jackrabbits since November 13, 2018. South Dakota State beat then-No. 22 Northern Iowa 27-13 in Brookings. Campbell topped transitional Division I member Bellarmine 47-3 in SoCon action. The Camels are ranked in the poll for just the 10th time in school history and entered the poll for first time this season.

Methodology: The NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll is voted on by two coaches from each Division I wrestling conference. Each first-place vote is worth 25 points, 24 points for a second-place vote, 23 for a third-place vote, and so on through to one point for a 25th-place vote. The poll is based on dual meet results.

NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll
January 11, 2022

RankTeam (First)RecordPointsConferencePrevious
1Penn State (8)(10-0)344Big Ten2
2Iowa (6)(8-0)341Big Ten1
3Michigan(4-0)317Big Ten3
4Oklahoma State(8-0)310Big 124
5NC State(6-1)292ACC5
6Arizona State(3-1)279Pac-126
7Ohio State(5-0)270Big Ten7
8Virginia Tech(4-3)233ACC10
9Missouri(6-2)219Big 1211
10Wisconsin(6-0)206Big Ten16
11Iowa State(4-1)204Big 1213
12Purdue(7-2)188Big Ten15
14Minnesota(2-2)177Big Ten14
15Nebraska(3-1)169Big Ten9
16Rutgers(11-1)164Big Ten12
18Oklahoma(2-2)99Big 1219
20North Carolina(4-4)66Big Ten20
23Northwestern(2-2)34Big Ten23
24South Dakota State(5-1)29Big 12NR

Others Receiving Votes: Michigan State 17, Cal Poly 16, Wyoming 11, North Dakota State 10, Northern Iowa 9, Oregon State 8, Appalachian State 6, Central Michigan 4, Stanford 3.

Dropped Out: No. 22 Northern Iowa (1-5), No. 25 Cal Poly (0-0)

Upcoming Coaches Poll Release Dates for 2021-22: Jan. 18, Jan. 25, Feb. 1, Feb. 8, Feb. 15, Feb. 22.

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