soccer-men-d1 flag

Alberto Camargo | NCAA.com | September 6, 2022

3 takeaways from the latest men's soccer rankings

Clemson defeats Washington, secures 2021 Men's College Cup

The latest United Soccer Coaches men’s rankings have been released, with Clemson retaining its spot at the top of the sport.

Here are three things I noticed about where each team placed in the top 25 just after Labor Day weekend:

FULL RANKINGS: Take a look at the latest top 25 in DI men's soccer

Clemson losing ground

Clemson men's soccer

No. 5 Kentucky entered the 2022 season ranked No. 8. Each week they have slowly crept up as teams above them like Georgetown, Pitt and UCLA fell after losses. This makes enough sense, but the two first-place votes the Wildcats received this week caught me by surprise for two reasons.

First, Clemson has done next to nothing that would suggest they aren’t still the best team in the country. Sure, the Tigers’ 1-0 win over South Carolina on Sept. 2 was a bit closer than expected, but often times form and logic are disregarded in rivalry matches. As the preseason No. 1 and defending College Cup champions who are still perfect on the season, Clemson is still my undeniable No. 1. 

Second, the Wildcats' schedule to this point doesn’t immediately stick out with impressive wins over ranked opponents. The Wildcats received these first-place votes before defeating No. 10 Louisville on Sept. 6. No one else in the top 5 can say they have played any team of note so far. The closest is No. 3 Wake Forest’s opening night win over Central Florida, a team that received votes this week. Therefore, Clemson losing first-place votes stood out to me.

An untested team at No. 2

Stanford men's soccer

Stanford made a surprise appearance in the top 3 of the rankings last week after not even receiving votes in the preseason poll. There are plenty of reasons to be impressed with the Cardinal like its +10 goal differential after just four games, but the strength of schedule is not one of them. 

They move one spot higher to No. 2 even though they remain untested thus far. Stanford’s first real test of the season comes Friday against a Creighton team that received votes this week and was ranked No. 7 last week.

Recognition for Denver

Denver men's soccer

The team to jump highest in the rankings this week was Denver, climbing 14 spots from No. 20 to No. 6, and it’s a well-deserved recognition of how well the Pioneers have played this season. Not only have their performances been notable, but the opponents have been as well.

Though it may not have looked like much at the time, Denver’s 2-1 win over Grand Canyon looks much better after the Lopes’ shock upset of then-No. 4 UCLA on Sept. 5

Denver really made noise when it traveled to College Park and blanked then-No. 9 Maryland 2-0, while dominating the ball and creating more chances to score than the Terps. Even a 1-1 tie with Georgetown, a 2021 College Cup semifinalist, is a good result for Denver. The Pioneers are on the up and they should be a team we all keep an eye on this year.


 

The 2022 NCAA DI men's soccer bracket, predicted round-by-round

NCAA.com's Alberto Camargo makes his College Cup and national champion picks for the 2022 DI men's soccer championship.
READ MORE

2022 NCAA division I men's soccer championship bracket announced

The 2022 NCAA DI men's soccer championship selection field announced. The championship is Dec. 9-12, 2022 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
READ MORE

We picked a best starting XI for DI men's soccer in 2022

NCAA.com's Alberto Camargo picks his best starting XI across DI men's soccer this season — with some extra rules for variety.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners