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The Post-Pre-Nationals Grote Poll October 18, 2005
(editor's note: prior to LetsRun.com and just before the dark ages there was TNFMedia.com, which was run by John Schiefer and Ryan Grote (a national class runner). One of the highlights of TNFMedia was the Grote Poll were Grote, an NCAA XC qualifier himself, analyzed the NCAA field in his every humorous style.  If you have a thin skin stop reading. If you don't like foul language stop reading. If you disagree with Grote's predictions tell us who you think are the top NCAA teams in the LetsRun.com NCAA Super Polls, where you give us your top 10 teams.)

2005 Grote Polls
1) Preview of the Grote Poll Preview August 25, 2005
2) Grote Poll Preview September 5, 2005
3) The Grote Poll Addendum B September 14, 2005
4) End of September/Beginning of Real Meets Edition September 27, 2005
5) 1st Weekend of October Edition October 10, 2005
6) The Post-Pre-Nationals Grote Poll October18, 2005
7) Conference Meet Preview October 26, 2005
8) The Post-Conference Grote Poll November 2, 2005
9) The Pre Regionals Grote Poll November 10, 2005
10) Nationals Preview November 15, 2005
11) 2005 Grote Poll Awards November 30, 2005

    The place to be and the weekend to be there was this past weekend in Terre Haute.  What's better than going to Terre Haute for NCAAs?  Going there twice.  Everybody who's anybody was there.  Except #1 Arkansas and #2 Wisconsin.  And Arizona.  And UTEP.  And Alabama.  And Texas. No Dick Harter in Terre Haute this time.  Campbell was not there, nor was its mascot Gaylord the Camel.  The only Gaylord there was 12th in the “blue” race.  This time his time was better than all Pilots from the “white” race, but his team was not.  Again.   Let us not forget Cornell, who thumbed its nose at Pre-Nationals, opting to go even the score with Arkansas in the Hogs backyard after they romped through Van Cortlandt in September.  Nice thought, but there was no evening of the score.  The only way that may have worked would be if Cornell brought not just Jimmy Wyner, but the rest of his Mainland HS team to Fayetteville.  If anybody can take down the Hogs on their home turf it would be Mainland.  I don't care if only two of them are running D1.  Get the band back together.  Shave some heads.  Throw on some Cornell uniforms and head south.  Leave behind Hyde and all others.  The Mainland guys would get it done.  

    On to The Grote Poll, which feature much upheaval after all the teams from all the regions tangled in Terre Haute.  The NCAA meet is in 5 weeks, meaning the RV from NJ, leaves in 33 days.  Watch out.  

THE GROTE POLL TOP 31

1.  ARKANSAS-  They did nothing to dissuade me from believing they will be the winners on November 21st.  Boit won over a difficult field.  Cormier ran well.  Kosgei was puzzlingly far back at 29:49, but I'll trust that was not his best.  The Razorbacks may just run everybody together all-out one time, but that will be the meet that matters.

2.  WISCONSIN-  Will Withrow remain my pick to win the whole thing even if he never runs a race?  I don't know yet.  I do know that I ate 6 sausages in a combination of two kinds of bratwurst and wieners on Saturday, fresh from Badgerland, in celebration of OkTOBYfest, our dog's 3rd birthday.  Toby seems totally unaffected by Jerry Schumacher's decision to run his squad at Jim Drews again instead of in Terre Haute.  They, too, will be there when it matters.

3.  COLORADO-  A solid showing from the Buffs.  Schoolmeester is good on that course apparently, better over 10k.  Billy Nelson appears headed in the right direction.  The Big 12 meet will feature a fun matchup with Texas, and the region will not be easy with BYU and UTEP.

4.  STANFURD-  I said I would not rank them higher than 6th, and I was going to stick with that, but it really would have messed up the top 31.  Whatever.  I hate Mike Mussina.  I am thrilled that he is in the last year of his contract and will be gone for good after 2006.  I am not interested in hearing excuses about his outing Monday night.  Five runs are five runs.  Whether on a 2-run and 3-run homer or some soft dribblers, an outfield crash and a bad throw from first to home, five runs are indeed five runs.  That is what Mussina gave up, and the Yankees lost.  Its his fault, and the problem with him is simply that he went to Stanfurd.

5.  NOTRE DAME-  A very good showing from the Irish on a heartbreaking day in South Bend.  Van Ort is apparently getting healthy.  He should close the gap and be closer to Moore or O'Donnell, which gives ND four likely All-Americans.  Once again, they beat up on my beloved Pilots, which does not mean I have “penis envy” of Notre Dame, as has been suggested.  If I had that, I would admit it.  I know nothing of Notre Dame and its penis and really don't care to know any more than the nothing I know.  

6.  ARIZONA-  The gap from Cheseret to their 5th is likely too much to be a top 4 trophy squad.  They were far from blown out in Fayetteville, and look like a solid bet for an auto in the region.

7.  UTEP-  How does the same school go from being the first college to play and win a national title with black player in 1966 as Texas Western, a great American upset story, to a school with nothing to do with anything American in cross-country?  Who knows, but it works I suppose.  The Miners were only 1 point in back of ‘Zona, and I fear that Elias Koech may be capable of better than the 31:12 he ran on Saturday.  Through 4 guys, which of course means nothing when you score 5 guys, UTEP beat Arizona 45-60 and trailed Arkansas only 41-45.  This is a scary team.

8.  BYU-  They were beating solidly by Stanfurd, but still a pretty solid team.  Rohatinsky established himself as a definite contender.  Their at-large credentials are as good as possible should they fall to 3rd behind UTEP.

9.  FLORIDA-  Once again, Henok, Enoch, ptooeey.  Something is going on in the South Region and its no longer a joke.  The Gators would have matched up well with BYU in the other race actually.  As much as they are a legitimate top 10 team now, they do not have it easy in the region.  

10. TEXAS-  The 6 second 1-5 split in NC, either means they are really good or they are just really going to be 5 guys in the way at NCAA's.  Clear a path.

11. GEORGETOWN- The Hoyas move up a few spots, although I am not convinced of their prowess just yet.  No Bumbalough?  I read some interview that said he would run, if it was a false load of crap, it must have been from Marc Bloom.  Perhaps something happened to the talented frosh from Tennessee, but more I feel it is more likely Marc Bloom's fault and will blame it on him.

12. IOWA-  They are apparently better when running in the Midwest.  Murray Keating was not as impressive for them, but this weekend they looked more like the team from Griak, no superstars, but a solid tight grouping, 5th man at 24:45.

13. PORTLAND-  Out of the top 10 and down to unlucky #13 for the Pilots.  That number worked out just fine for Wilt Chamberlain, though.  UP ran fine for 5th in the white race with a nice pack and 19-second spread.  One would figure John Moore to be capable of more of an impact race in November.  Either way, they look great for an at-large and seem to be solidly the 3rd best team in the region now.  Had I made predictions, I would have picked them 3rd on Saturday behind CU and Iona.  I would have been wrong.  This is not to suggest any disappointment in my alma mater, I am proud of them and eager to see them in person in Terre Haute.  I fully understand the shame and embarrassment the team likely has in having any sort of association with me, and do not blame them if they avoid me and other travelers from NJ at all costs.

14. WILLIAM and MARY-  Nice run from The Count, 1 point in back of UP as a team.

15. MICHIGAN-  Tied with W&M, but a notch back here for no good reason.

16. ALABAMA-  The Tide was not too far behind fellow travel agencies Arizona and UTEP at Chile Pepper.  Sorry, I meant Division 1 Institutions of Higher Learning, not travel agencies.  Either way, ‘Bama sports 5 Kenyans in its top 5.  Good percentage.  There is a 1:55 gap from 5th man Peter Etoot to 6th man and presumably 1st US guy Frederick Cameron.  Nice work and way to develop the homegrown talent.  Try going back to Peoria for some recruiting, it worked before.

17. KANSAS- In different races, but they match up pretty well with Iowa and should push them for the win at regionals.

18. DARTMOUTH- A big gap from 24:32 to 25:04 betwixt their 4th and 5th costs them, but the region is becoming weaker by the week.  A solid, but not great race from Ben True in 25th.  I would not be surprised if he matched that place at NCAA's.

19. VIRGINIA-  The favorites for ACC's.  A very close group 1-5 and a serviceable 6th man.  Nice run from frosh Biladeau.  UVa is a program that has regained and maintained respectability in the last few years.  None of this would have been possible had they admitted me into their fine school 13+ years ago.

20. FLORIDA STATE-  Yes, a 3rd team from the region already, and 2nd team from The Sunshine State.  A 5th man at 25:14 is the difference maker and keeps them a bit behind their in-state rivals, but they will challenge UVa in the ACC.

21. WASHINGTON-  Will their football team ever win again?  They did enough to secure an at-large, but similar to Portland were not world beaters on Saturday.

22. IONA-  Up until now the Gaels were pegged by me as a trophy team.  Kiplagat is running superbly, Chemlany well enough, and frosh Khadroui well at 24:33, but its other 2 scorers over 25 minutes drops them like a rock here.  Where's the Ugandan guy?  

23. INDIANA-  Both Jeffersons and Haas can run at a higher level, and IU is not too far off from challenging Michigan.

24. EASTERN MICHIGAN-  Will the win at Penn State do enough for at-large consideration?  They will not beat Wisconsin or Notre Dame.  They need to hope that American is an auto qualifier and perhaps Providence, as well.  Either way, nice run from a young squad.

25. OKLAHOMA STATE-  No French guy or 6th or 7th guy.  Coming in just ahead of Ohio State and Cal Poly bodes well for them to make a return visit.

26. OHIO STATE-  The Great Lakes will get a bunch of teams in, and the Buckeyes are good enough to be in that bunch.

27. AIR FORCE-  They are hanging in, taking some hits, but beating enough teams to get into NCAA's.  

28. AMERICAN-  They better get an auto or the loss to EMU will hurt.  Who's going to beat them for 2nd in the Mid-Atlantic!?!?!  Princeton!?!?!  

29. CAL POLY-  A bit off of last year's form, but tend to run well at 10k and peaked correctly last fall.  

30. TENNESSEE-  A 4th team from the South?

31. DUQUESNE-  There has to be an at-large from the Northeast or Mid-Atlanic.  Doesn't there?  Why not the Dukes?  Norm Nixon's alma mater.  For you youngsters, he was the backcourt mate to Magic Johnson in late 70's and early 80's for the Lakers.  #10.  They won titles with him in '80 and '82 beating the Sixers both times.  Stormin' Norman was traded to the Clippers (still San Diego) in a deal that brought them a pick that they turned into Byron Scott.  It worked out well.  I don't like the Lakers, never did.  Around these same years, the Nets were coached by Larry Brown briefly and had a great backcourt with Michael Ray Richardson who liked cocaine too much, and the best power forward in the game in Buck Williams.  He was traded for Sam Bowie.  Dammit.

THE GROTE POLL REGIONAL ROUNDUP

NORTHEAST-  Right now it looks like a two team region with two heavy favorites.  If Dartmouth or Iona should fall to 3rd they would get an at-large, but nobody else has the credentials just yet.

1.  Dartmouth

2.  Iona-  Something tells me they still win and become at least at top 10 team.

3.  Cornell-  More Mainland guys I tell you.  More Mainland guys.  They could help their at-large situation at Heps by beating Princeton.  Right now it is grim.

4.  Columbia-  Mainland guy still injured?

5.  Providence-  Very disappointing so far.  Buried at Penn State after Fagan and Haji.

6.  Army

7.  Yale

8.  UNH

MID-ATLANTIC-  Similar to the Northeast, its shaping up as a two team region, but I rank Duquesne just to be ridiculous.  In reality Princeton is in OK shape for an at-large if they are 3rd, but I like The Grote Poll to operate beyond the realm of reality and reason.  I still say CBA is better.  

1.  Georgetown-  Heavy favorites now.  Tough Big East race with ND.

2.  American-  Laying a bit low this season.

3.  CBA-  Bound for Terre Haute once Justin Wheat is back.

4.  Duquesne

5.  Morris Hills-  Rockie's Pasties up in Wharton, NJ, make a good meal.  

6.  Princeton-  Could actually be an auto.

7.  LaSalle-  In trouble for the at-large, auto is not out of the question, particularly if you remove the 2 high school teams from the rankings.

8.  Penn

9.  Navy

10. Villanova

SOUTHEAST-  The battle for the Commonwealth.  W&M vs. UVa.  NC State has taken the redshirt route and is probably out of the at-large loop.  Liberty could make a push for 3rd if the younger McDougal is a bit better than Saturday.  

1.  William and Mary-  The Count give them the edge.

2.  Virginia

3.  NC State

4.  Liberty

5.  Clemson

6.  Norfolk State-  I still like these guys

7.  Eastern Kentucky-  Individual threat in Korir

8.  Louisville-  Another Korir and Corey Thorne and a coach who has them on the rise.

SOUTH-  The most improved region by far.  No longer a joke.

1.  Florida

2.  Alabama-  Perhaps a top 10 type of team.  

3.  Florida State-  Seem to be getting better each week.

4.  Tennessee-  Solid team, a few NJ guys there.

5.  Auburn

6.  Georgia

7.  LSU

SOUTH CENTRAL- Very little drama here.  Will Arkansas run its top 7?

1.  Arkansas

2.  Texas

3.  Rice-  Individual contender spans the alphabet.

4.  UT-Pan American-  Another good individual in Keating.

5.  TCU-  Another good individual in Kangogo.

GREAT LAKES-  2 great teams and a bunch of good teams.

1.  Wisconsin-  Withrow has to run the regional right?

2.  Notre Dame      

3.  Michigan

4.  Indiana-  Looking for them to improve and sneak up on some people.

5.  EMU-  Should have run at Pre-Nationals.

6.  Ohio State-  Seem to run everywhere.

7.  Butler

8.  Indiana State-  No Larry Bird, no Waytons, but a solid squad for the Sycamores.

9.  Michigan  State

10. Miami (Ohio)

MIDWEST-  3 or 4 teams should get out.  Minnesota is a bit of a mystery this year, their Big 10 showing will be key for them.

1.  Iowa

2.  Kansas

3.  Oklahoma State

4.  Minnesota-  Could use wins over some Big 10 schools from the Great Lakes.

5.  Illinois

6.  Missouri

MOUNTAIN-  Again there are 3 top 10 teams in this region.

1.  Colorado

2.  UTEP-  Have the tools to push the Buffs.

3.  BYU- Could still be 2nd.

4.  Air Force

5.  NAU-  Outside shot at an at-large.

6.  Colorado State-  Lost to Princeton.

7.  Weber State

8.  Utah State

9.  Wyoming-  Kenyan Cowboys Philemon Tanui and Shadrack Too.

WEST-  Lots of very good teams, all with good credentials.

1.  Stanfurd-  Might I prefer them to still win over ‘Zona?

2.  Arizona-  See above.  Probably not.

3.  Portland-  Still a promising team with top 10 capability.  

4.  Washington-  Best Husky team since 8th placers from Lehigh in 1993?  Oh yeah, we also won PAC-10's that year even though I never got my ring.

5.  Cal Poly

6.  UCLA-  Always a really good team, have yet to totally put it together.

7.  Arizona State-  Top 10 team to 17th at Pre-Nats?

8.  Oregon-  Oh no, Gaylord will have to go to NCAA's on his own…survive as an individual instead of functioning as a part of a group and team!?!?  How will he survive?  And will there be an underwater treadmill and altitude chamber in Terre Haute?  Maybe there wasn't at Pre-Nats, and the powers-that-be (Phil and AlSal) will see to it that they are provided for NCAA's.  

9.  Cal-  They beat Abiliene Christian at Chile Pepper.

10. Washington State

THE GROTE POLL INDIVIDUAL PICKS

1.  Matt Withrow, Wisconsin-  Sticking to it.

2.  Josh McDougal, Liberty-  Stomped on a pretty good course record.

3.  Boit, Arkansas

4.  Schoolmeester, Colorado

5.  Solinsky, Wisconsin

6.  Kiplagat, Iona

7.  Rohatinsky, BYU

8.  GAYLORD-  See…I'm not being mean, the guy gets 12th at Pre-Nats and I still believe he'll run a good one at NCAA's.

9.  Cheseret, ‘Zona

10. Mutai, UTEP

Anything beyond the top 10 and my head starts to hurt.  I believe there will be an American winner.  There are a load of very good Kenyan guys out there, but too many, tough, hard working, really good x-c guys who have a lot of pride from the US.  Withrow, McDougal, Schoolmeester, Solinsky, Rohatinsky, The Count…one of those dudes will pull through.  If not them, somebody from Mainland will win.

That does it for the Post-Pre-National Grote Poll.  I find this one to be not very funny.  If this upsets you, just remember that you get what you pay for…

Tell us who you think are the top NCAA teams in the LetsRun.com NCAA Super Polls, where you give us your top 10 teams.)


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