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There are so many massive blowouts in DII, that it's hard to discern whether a UW-Whitewater or Illinois State 107-point win is more impressive than that 118-point UM-Duluth win, or if a 74-0 shutout for Vassar should carry more weight than an 99-3 Fairfield win or an 84-7 result for Holy Cross.
That's where conferences like the New England are refreshing. A very strong conference traditionally, New England regularly produces close matches and competitive teams.
After a deep playoff run last season, Coast Guard started the year ranked in the top 10. Then a loss to then-unranked Norwich bumped them down. On the weekend, Norwich lost by seven to Vermont. The Catamounts, now 2-0, have a better point differential than Rhode Island, the other undefeated team in New England, against their only common opponent so far. Therefore, Vermont jumps into the rankings ahead of URI, Norwich and Coast Guard. Vermont and Coast Guard play this weekend, and URI meets Norwich, so the race could stratify or get more logjammed.
Another big match this weekend resides in the Potomac, where several-time defending champ Salisbury goes up against Georgetown. The Hoyas have been the third-best team in the country's toughest conference the last few years, but big winning margins over George Washington and John's Hopkins indicate they might be able to close the gap this year.
In the Northern Lights, defending National Champion Duluth hosts Northern Iowa. The top-ranked Fighting Penguins lost very little from last year's squad and are expected to be right back in the mix this year. Of everyone in the Northern Lights, UNI has the best chance of knocking off Duluth.
Falling out of the Top 25 this week are Rowan and Bentley, who lost to Notre Dame College and UMass Lowell, respectively. Rowan's losing to a top-10 team isn't necessarily enough to bounce it out of the rankings altogether, but the losing margin of 40 is. Likewise, Lowell's concession of 54 points to Bentley raised antennae.
|1||UM-Duluth||Beat North Dakota|
|4||James Madison||Beat Mary Washington|
|6||Notre Dame College||Beat Rowan|
|7||Old Dominion||Beat Heat Elite|
|8||SLU||Beat Central Missouri|
|10||Northern Iowa||Beat North Dakota State|
|13||UNC Wilmington||Beat Coastal Carolina|
|15||Rhode Island||Beat New Hampshire|
|14||Norwich||Lost to Vermont|
|18||Holy Cross||Beat Merrimack|
|19||Georgetown||Beat John's Hopkins|
|21||Coast Guard||Beat Boston U.|
|25||Buffalo State||Beat Hobart|
|18||Rowan||Lost to Notre Dame College|
|20||UMass Lowell||Lost to Bentley|