During my four years at Western as a varsity athlete and the past year as a sports editor, I have spent a lot of time looking at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport top 10 weekly rankings.
Over that time I have come to realize how inaccurate and misleading the CIS weekly top 10 rankings are.
As a member of the Western cross country team, I felt we were left out of the rankings on multiple occasions when we deserved to be there.
For example, this past year they put the Manitoba Bisons ahead of us at one point during the season. Do you think they know how to run in Manitoba? The answer is no, the Bisons are slow. We beat them at the CIS cross country championships in Guelph, as did 13 other schools.
Now, the injustices done to my cross country team is not what upsets me. What has, however, is how the CIS top 10 pollsters have treated the women's volleyball team at Western over the past few weeks.
The rankings for most sports are decided by giving each head coach in the country one vote — the only exceptions are men's hockey and football. One would assume the coaches would have a good grasp of where their competition stands but evidently it appears they don't.
The Mustangs women's volleyball team had an 11-game winning streak and finished the season with a record of 16–3, good for first place in the Ontario University Athletics west division. Despite this impressive resume they are continually left on the outside of the CIS rankings looking in.
This oversight is particularly perplexing when you look at the teams ranked in the top 10 ahead of them.
First off, how are the McMaster Marauders ranked seventh when they recently lost to the Mustangs in four sets and are behind them in the standings? How can it be justified to rank McGill and Sherbrooke in the nine and 10 spots when they each have records of 15–7?
I think this lack of love for the Mustangs may stem from their performance in the regular season last year. They finished the season with a 7–12 record and barely squeaked into the OUA playoffs.
But can this logically be the real reason when you look at how the Mustangs performed in the OUA playoffs last season? In the quarter-final they knocked out OUA west division champions McMaster in four sets and took the eventual OUA champion Toronto Varsity Blues to five sets in the semifinals. To cap it all off, they made quick work of Guelph in four sets in the third place game to take home the OUA bronze medal.
It seems these rankings put too much weight into past success and history. One could argue that this year's Mustangs women's hockey team should not be in the top 10 rankings, due to their very mediocre season thus far, having gone 15–8–1, which only has them in fourth place in Ontario. Yet they sit seventh in the country, according to the weekly poll.
Another timely example is the absence of the Mustangs women's basketball team from the CIS rankings all season.
This team has received no recognition despite being in first place in the OUA west division and holding an impressive record of 13-5. It should also be noted that this record includes three stand out wins against top teams. They have beaten the defending CIS champion Windsor Lancers, the number eight ranked McMaster Marauders and the number seven ranked Ottawa Gee Gees all on the road. Again, they are likely left out of the rankings because of their poor record in the regular season last year. Last year they finished with a record of 7-13 and were eliminated in the first game of the playoffs.
Regardless of this ridiculousness, it doesn't really matter where all these Mustang teams are ranked. If they're the real deal they will all prove themselves in the OUA playoffs.