Rankings are flawed metrics built and powered by flawed humans, so maybe there is no answer other than weird sampling. But it stands to reason that if you're ranked in a poll, and all you do is win, you go up. If you beat good teams, you go up further.
Last week Bowling Green was ranked 17th in the CollegeInsider.com Women's Mid-Major poll. Then they hosted Dayton, ranked 14th/15th and was scoring about 80 points a game, and beat them 65-40. Three days later the new poll was released and the Falcons were ... 23rd.
I don't know.
What's interesting is that the mid-major does not include the Atlantic 10, Mountain West or Conference USA, generally regarded as "mid-majors." (The Mid Majority put the MWC and C-USA above their Red Line). So if you factor all that in, then not only has Bowling Green won their last six games, but they've all won them against teams the Mid-Major poll considers "power conferences."
Not only that, they were jumped by the following teams:
No. 22: Harvard, who improved from #23 by virtue of losing two games last week (Oklahoma State and SMU) by a combined 45 points, bringing their record to 7-5;
No. 21: James Madison, a team with six wins OVERALL and all of them are against mid-majors;
No. 20: South Dakota State, who beat 4-8 North Dakota State and improved two spots;;
No. 19: San Diego, who beat Central Michigan then lost to Iowa, improving one spot.
No. 18. Quinnipiac, who lost to Georgia Tech and beat Northeastern, improving one spot.
No. 17 Hampton, who beat Saint Peter's and lost to Virginia Tech, dropping two spots.
It really looks like BGSU purposely skidded down the ranks; nobody else had terrific weeks. And of all those opponents, BGSU played the second-toughest one (Dayton) and clobbered them unlike anything they've seen this year.
I'm not sure what else they're looking at. They're one of the ten best teams according to RPI among "mid-majors."
My only theory is that maybe the ballots were collected before that Sunday game, even the poll factors the Dayton win into their W-L record. Maybe because it was a holiday they figured there weren't many games to factor in, collected ballots prematurely, and next week they'll be much higher. Another one is that a couple of voters, for some reason, forgot to include the Falcons? It's a mystery to me; but that's why there's another poll next week. Jesus, I spent way too much time agonizing over this.