NCAA Wrestling preseason power rankings: Iowa or Penn State at the top?

Penn State Nittany Lions wrestler Roman Bravo Young (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions wrestler Roman Bravo Young (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Ranking the top 10 teams heading into the 2021-2022 NCAA Wrestling season, and where Penn State Wrestling stands

While it was certainly nice to have an actual beginning, middle, and end to the 2021 wrestling season (Thanks 2020!!), it was far from surprising who took home the team title.

And had there been a finish to the 2020 season, Iowa would have undoubtedly been back-to-back NCAA Champs last season.

But as it stands, their NCAA streak currently holds at a firm “one”.

Will the Hawkeyes make it back-to-back this season? Will another powerhouse from the B1G or Big 12 or Pac 12 dethrone them? Can Penn State Wrestling make another National Championship push?

These are all questions which will be answered in due time, however, let’s take a look at how I think things will shake out when the dust finally settles on the 2021-2022 season.

With that, here are my top 10 teams for the 2021-2022 NCAA Wrestling season

2021 Stats

Rank: 10
Dual Meet Record: 2-6

NCAA Champions: 0

All-Americans: 3
133 – Chris Cannon (7th)
149 – Yahya Thomas (3rd)
157 – Ryan Deakin (3rd)

2021 Recruiting
Rank: 10
Recruits: 3
Top 100 Recruits: 3
No. 9 Joel Vandervere (proj – 149)
No. 19 Carter Young (proj – 141)
No. 94 Evan Bates (proj – 197)

And right out of the gate I’m swinging for the fences in predicting Northwestern to finish in the exact same place they ended last season. But here’s the reason this is somewhat of a bold statement.

As of the


typing on the interwebs of this, Ryan Deakin has still not decided on what he’s doing with his extra year of eligibility. If he decides to come back, then you can easily slot Northwestern in as a top 10 team.

But if he doesn’t, then things could get interesting with how they handle the 157 spot.

Will the Wildcats bump up Yahya Thomas and let top 10 recruit Joel Vandervere loose at 149? Or will Thomas stay at 149 and they let Vandervere eat 2 donuts so he can move up to 157? Or maybe they redshirt Vandervere, keep Thomas at 149, and punt every match at 157?

Who knows?

Either way, Deakin’s decision will greatly impact Northwestern’s 2021-2022 season.