Mid-Majors Rankings


Let’s review the new Net Set Mid-Majors Ranking, a numerical average of three other polls and rankings (see below for those three polls and rankings). By combining three polls and rankings into a single ranking, we obtain both the mathematical benefits of the rankings and the human performance insights of the coaches in the polls.

Net Set # School and Conference Location 2016


VB Mag Poll NCAA RPI Index Pablo Rank Net Set Index
1 BYU Cougars//WCC Provo, UT 24-3 1 6 7 4.67
2 San Diego Toreros//WCC San Diego, CA 22-4 5 8 15 9.33
3 Creighton Bluejays//Big East Omaha, NE 22-6 3 17 11 10.33
4 Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine//Big West Honolulu, HI 20-5 4 36 13 17.67
5 W. Kentucky Lady Toppers//C-USA Bowling Green, KY 27-2 1 16 38 18.33
6 Wichita State Shockers//MVC Wichita, KS 20-7 8 37 26 23.67
T7 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers//Sun Belt Conway, SC 23-4 11 42 35 29.33
T7 Colorado State Rams//MWC Ft. Collins, CO 19-7 14 43 31 29.33
T7 Marquette Golden Eagles//Big East Milwaukee, WI 22-6 10 35 43 29.33
T7 Missouri State Bears//MVC Springfield, MO 23-7 7 47 34 29.33
T11 Boise State Broncos//MVC Boise, ID 22-6 15 33 41 29.67
T11 Northern Iowa Panthers//MVC Cedar falls, IA 21-8 12 45 32 29.67
13 Dayton Flyers//Atlantic 10 Dayton, OH 28-1 6 31 53 30.00
14 UNLV Rebels//MWC Las Vegas, NV 22-5 22 24 52 32.67
15 Arkansas State Red Wolves//Sun Belt Jonesboro, AR 23-7 13 53 46 37.33
T16 CSU Long Beach 49ers//Big West Long Beach, CA 18-9 9 61 44 38.00
T16 Miami (Ohio) Redhawks//MAC Oxford, OH 22-5 18 46 50 38.00
18 SMU Mustangs//AAC Dallas, TX 21-7 21 39 55 38.33
19 Cincinnati Bearcats//AAC Cincinnati, OH 18-9 24 34 60 39.33
20 Loyola Marymount Lions//WCC Los Angeles, CA 18-10 19 63 37 39.67
21 Cal Poly Mustangs//Big West San Luis Obispo, CA 17-8 20 56 48 41.33
22 Lipscomb Bisons//Atlantic Sun Nashville, TN 20-7 17 65 51 44.33
23 Cleveland State//Horizon Cleveland, OH 23-5 30 44 60 44.67
24 Southern Illinois Salukis//MVC Carbondale, IL 21-9 16 57 76 49.67
25 Northern Illinois Huskies//MAC DeKalb, IL 23-5 23 67 70 53.33

For volleyball, the term Mid-Majors includes all volleyball teams not in the “Power Five” conferences of the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC. Overall, we have 269 teams included in this Net Set Mid-Major poll when we subtract the 65 teams in the Power Five conferences from the 334 total Division I volleyball programs. And, more importantly, here’s the conferences which comprise the term “Mid-Major” for volleyball. It’s important to remember that the term “Mid-Major” does not refer to the size of the school or to the size of its athletic budget. It refers only to the conference in which the school participates athletically.

America East Conference American Athletic Conference Atlantic Sun Conference
Atlantic 10 Conference Big East Conference Big Sky Conference
Big South Conference Big West Conference Colonial Conference
Conference USA Horizon League Ivy League
Metro Atlantic Conference Mid-American Conference Mid-Eastern Conference
Missouri Valley Conference Mountain West Conference Northeast Conference
Ohio Valley Conference Patriot League Southern Conference
Southland Conference Southwestern Conference Summit Conference
Sun Belt Conference West Coast Conference Western Athletic Conference

Jack Kvancz, the men’s basketball coach at Catholic University, coined the term “Mid-Majors” in a 1977 press conference. Kvancz described Catholic University and opponent Howard University as “two ‘Mid-Majors,’ or whatever you’d call us…..” Kvancz probably had no idea of the impact he would have on the American college sports culture and media. Today, the term Mid-Major is used primarily in NCAA DI sports and refers to athletic conferences that are not included in the “Power Five Conferences” (the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC). Thus, the schools in Power Five Conferences have, by default, become known as “majors.” This distinction of “Mid-Major” is not officially recognized by the NCAA but is a media concept that is clearly “here to stay” and is used regularly by virtually all sports media outlets.

Now I’ll explain the methodology behind the Net Set Mid-Major Ranking, which combines both the mathematical concepts of probability and statistics found in rankings with the human perspective of the coach’s view found in polls.

Net Set (NS) Mid-Major Rankings and the NS Index are an average from the three polls or rankings listed below. The NS Index is a numerical average based upon the positions of teams in these polls or rankings. In the Net Set Ranking, the team’s position in each poll or ranking is summed and then averaged to create the NS Index. This NS Index is then arranged, or ranked, in ascending order, with the lowest NS Index determining the number 1 team, the second lowest NS index determining the number 2 team, and so forth.

1. The Volleyball Magazine Mid-Major Poll, 11/15/16 (http://volleyballmag.com/vbmpoll110816/). VolleyballMag.com’s fantastic Mid-Major Poll, produced by Lee Feinswog, includes all teams not in the “Power Five” conferences as denoted above. The ten pollsters for this poll are all head coaches of a Mid-Major volleyball program.

2. The NCAA RPI Index, 11/14/16 (http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/volleyball-women/d1/ncaa-womens-volleyball-rpi). The RPI ranking is one of the factors for determining the at-large bids to the National Championship Tournament. Here is the basic formula for the RPI rankings currently used by the NCAA.

· RPI = (Winning %*.25) + (Opponent’s Winning %*.50) + (Opponent’s Opponents Winning *.25)

3. The Pablo Rankings, 11/14/16 (http://www.richkern.com/vb/rankings/FreePageRankings.asp). The Pablo Rankings are an incredibly ingenious ranking system that operates on a probabilistic, algorithmic approach to analytics and, in terms of accuracy and predictive analytics, the Pablo Rankings are the most accurate mathematical model available today.

Therefore, we have the ingenious probability algorithm of the Pablo Rankings, combined with the “strength of schedule” perspective of the NCAA RPI Index, and tempered by the human perspective of the first line coaches. To me, that’s the best of all worlds for a ranking.

Let’s Grow Volleyball!



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