Monster weekend approaches for Big Ten and nation’s top three teams

Manheim, Pennsylvania – With four of the nation’s top six teams residing in the Big Ten Conference, this coming weekend will be huge for the individual and team rankings landscape as two ranked duals on Friday highlight the schedule. Penn State, ranked atop the latest NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released on Tuesday, will travel to No. 3 Michigan in one of the year’s most anticipated duals, while second-ranked Iowa will hit the road to take on No. 6 Ohio State in Columbus.

Penn State (11-0) was bolstered by the return of Brady Berge to the lineup at 165 pounds, which helped the Nittany Lions sweep the last five weights in a 27-11 home win over then-No. 16 Rutgers on Sunday evening. Second-ranked Iowa improved to 10-0, sweeping duals on an Illinois road swing. The Hawkeyes beat then-No. 23 Northwestern 33-6 before topping then-No. 21 Illinois 36-6.

Third-ranked Michigan (5-0) set the stage well with its upcoming dual with Penn State by dominating then-No. 7 Ohio State 29-8 in Columbus. The rankings were shaken up as then-No. 6 Arizona State’s eastern road swing saw the Sun Devils come home empty-handed. Despite winning six out of 10 bouts against then-No. 21 Pittsburgh, the Panthers came away with the 24-19 upset. Arizona State’s woes continued as they were upended by Princeton at historic Jadwin Gym 20-18. The Sun Devils (3-3) dropped five spots to No. 11, outside of the top ten for the first time this season.

Fourth-ranked Oklahoma State improved to 9-0 as they topped Columbia in a last-second home dual 35-6. The Cowboys were supposed to face the Lions as part of a tri-meet in Morgantown, West Virginia, but the host Mountaineers had to cancel their date. Columbia hopped on a plane to Stillwater and got the dual taken care of. No. 8 Virginia Tech (5-3) won its Moss Arts Center dual against George Mason 31-15, while No. 10 Wisconsin stayed unbeaten at 7-0, beating then-No. 14 Minnesota 21-15 in Minneapolis.

Michigan State entered the rankings for the first time this season after picking up a pair of wins. The Spartans (7-1) upset then-No. 12 Purdue 17-16 on criteria before escaping Indiana’s upset bid with a 17-15 win over the Hoosiers on Monday afternoon. The Spartans are No. 21 this week.

The Mitten saw a third team enter the rankings this week as Central Michigan (5-2) entered at No. 25 after sweeping the Chippewa Challenge, a quad featuring Central Michigan and three schools headed by Central Michigan alumni – American, Campbell and CSU Bakersfield. The final outcome of the Chippewas’ 19-15 win over then-No. 25 Campbell came down to a stalling call in sudden victory at heavyweight. Campbell fell out of the rankings this week.

With COVID protocols creating a number of postponements and cancelations, No. 23 South Dakota State found an opportunity to get more mat time as the Jackrabbits called an audible and ended up picking up a pair of wins at the Virginia Duals in Hampton, Virginia, which is 2,200 miles away from the Jacks’ initially scheduled destination in Utah. With Utah Valley postponing its weekend duals, the SDSU staff changed some travel plans, drove to Omaha in the snow and got themselves to Virginia where they beat Chattanooga 35-10 and Maryland 28-6.

Highlighting the schedule this week: No. 5 NC State hosts No. 8 Virginia Tech, No. 9 Missouri’s at No. 20 Oklahoma, No. 1 Penn State at No. 3 Michigan, No. 14 Rutgers at No. 21 Michigan State, No. 2 Iowa at No. 6 Ohio State, No. 13 Nebraska at No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 23 South Dakota State at No. 9 Missouri, No. 1 Penn State at No. 21 Michigan State, No. 13 Nebraska at No. 24 Northwestern, No. 16 Lehigh at No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Rutgers at No. 3 Michigan and No. 9 Wisconsin at No. 17 Purdue.

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 18, 2022

RankTeam (First)RecordPointsConferencePrevious
1Penn State (11)(11-0)344Big Ten1
2Iowa (3)(10-0)341Big Ten2
3Michigan(5-0)317Big Ten3
4Oklahoma State(9-0)310Big 124
5NC State(6-1)292ACC5
6Ohio State(5-1)279Big Ten7
7Virginia Tech(5-3)270ACC8
8Wisconsin(7-0)233Big Ten10
9Missouri(6-2)219Big 129
10Iowa State(8-1)206Big 1211
11Arizona State(3-3)204Pac-126
13Nebraska(3-1)185Big Ten15
14Rutgers(12-2)177Big Ten16
16Minnesota(2-3)164Big Ten14
17Purdue(7-3)139Big Ten12
20Oklahoma(5-2)66Big 1218
21Michigan State(7-1)62Big TenNR
22North Carolina(4-4)40ACC20
23South Dakota State(7-1)34Big 1224
24Northwestern(2-3)29Big Ten23
25Central Michigan(5-2)28MACNR

Others Receiving Votes: Cal Poly 19, Illinois 13, Stanford 13, Campbell 11, North Dakota State 10, Oregon State 9, Penn 9, Appalachian State 6.

Dropped Out: No. 21 Illinois (2-2), No. 25 Campbell (6-3).

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

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