Penn State has officially regained the number one team ranking on the coaches poll for the first time since November 19th 2019. This is pretty big considering coming into the season the Hawkeyes were a massive favorite to essentially dominate the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments again.
With recent developments it has caused a shift in the rankings. Spencer Lee out for the season and Drake Ayala gets his redshirt pulled. Penn State officially lands All American Drew Hildebrandt. Penn State lands NCAA Finalist Max Dean, and so on.
Obviously this does not mean much for the team race as you still have to wrestle it out and anything can happen but this is very interesting to see as Iowa has fell in at number 1 on the polls even after the Max Dean transfer but they just now decided to change it.
Just to recap the events that have went on between both teams causing this switch. Iowa has been ranked number 1 in the country for 28 straight ranking cycles which is insane to say the least. Both teams are still unbeaten as expected and that will change on January 28th for a fact.
Iowa losing Spencer Lee. Now this is huge for them even with Drake Ayala who is still a threat at 125 pounds, with Ayala being there it negates some of the damage being done losing Lee due to injury for the rest of the season. This also gets somewhat affected by Nick Suriano now at Michigan as it is very obvious that Suriano is an overwhelming favorite as of now to win the Big Ten Tournament. So this will be interesting to see how this plays out for Iowa.
Penn State picks up Max Dean and Drew Hildebrandt. Very big for Penn State as they pick up All American Drew Hildebrandt who took 4th at the national tournament last year. They also have pulled in Max Dean who by some maybe considered an underdog to win the entire thing this season with how he has looked. Dean obviously does not have as big of an effect on Penn State being they already had Michael Beard at the spot who may be on medical redshirt at this point after an injury in the Southern Scuffle finals to Rocky Elam. Hildebrandt is massive here, he does not need to win the title or do anything crazy to help. Penn State has not had a guy at 125 in the postseason since Nico Megaludis essentially when he beat Thomas Gilman in the national finals.
A smaller development with Penn State is they have got Brady Berge coming back. Going off of a recent interview on Flo Damion Hahn coach at South Dakota State talked about how Berge had the urge to compete again and also said that he is now healthy and been practicing so he should be able to pick up right where he left of “to go pursue this childhood dream of his”
Overall this ranking will ultimately be decided on the 28th when both of the teams throw down in a match you are not going to want to miss.