The latest United Soccer Coaches poll came out yesterday and three Big Ten teams made the cut. The mighty Indiana Hoosiers, who lost in the championship game last season, are ranked number 2 in the country. The Hoosiers have an 8-1 record. They received 1 first place vote, and were only 28 points behind the leader, Wake Forest. The Hoosiers sole loss came against the Demon Deacons, in the first game of the season, in double OT. All things considered, I could see giving the Hoosiers a first place vote. I personally wouldn’t, but I understand.
The other top 5 B1G team comes from East Lansing. The Spartans are undefeated, with an 8-0-2 record. Their first tie came against a Western Michigan squad that did quite well in the NCAA tournament last season, reaching the NCAA sweet 16. The Broncos were knocked off by Michigan State, so one can understand why they might have played them extra touch this season.
The Michigan Wolverines are ranked 19th, with a 6-1-2 record. They are just above Notre Dame, which plummeted in the rankings thanks to a loss to Michigan State on Sept. 17th.
Much like with basketball, I don’t pay much attention soccer until tournament time. However, it is worth mentioning the early returns this season show the Big Ten having two legit contenders for the crown. Ironically or not, Indiana knocked the Spartans out last season on penalty kicks, and the two could very well meet again this season.