NCAA Baseball: Final Rankings Heading into College World Series


June 28, 2011; Omaha, NE, USA; Can Florida avenge last year’s loss to South Carolina Gamecocks in the 2011 College World Series? Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The final rankings were released by all major polls by Tuesday. The one thing all college baseball fans and pundits can agree on heading into the College World Series is there is no clear cut No. 1 team in the nation.

The Florida Gators (42-18) have been awarded the top seed entering the tournament by the NCAA selection committee followed by UCLA (42-14), Florida State (43-15), Baylor (44-14), Oregon (42-17), North Carolina (44-14), LSU (43-16), and South Carolina (40-17).

Florida’s billing as the top seed comes as little surprise since the Gators have been the heavy favorite all season.

Before the season started the 2012 Gator’s baseball team was lauded as one of the most talented teams to ever lace them up based on returning talent from last year’s national championship runner-up squad.

Due to a few bumps along the way with injuries, the Gators have come close to living up to the preseason hype. They were in contention for the SEC East divisional title through the last week of the regular season eventually giving way to two-time defending national champs South Carolina. They also swept their regular season nonconference series with Florida State, a season long top five team.

Despite not winning their regular season conference title or their conference tournament the NCAA awarded Florida the top seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament based largely off RPI rankings.

Top 10 RPI Rankings

No. 1 UCLA

No. 2 Florida

No. 3 Florida State

No. 4 Baylor

No. 5 North Carolina

No. 6 Oregon

No. 7 LSU

No. 8 Purdue

No. 9Virginia

No. 10 North Carolina State

Before knocking Florida for faltering in their tournament the entire SEC was steamrolled by the two hottest teams in perhaps all of college baseball not just within the SEC in Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs posted a 5-1 record in the SEC Tournament. Along the way MSU beat Arkansas, LSU, lost to Kentucky, beat LSU a second time, avenged their previous loss to the Wildcats by winning 2-1, and blanked Vanderbilt in the SEC Final 3-0.

Florida went 2-2 in their tournament beating Auburn and South Carolina but lost twice to Vanderbilt; the 2011 SEC Tournament Champion and preseason No. 7 team. The Commodores have won 16 of their last 20 contests.

Of the top eight seeds none of the teams won their end of season conference tournament.

The Pac-12 continues to be the last power conference to get onboard with the rest of college sports thus there is no Pac-12 conference tournament at the end of their season.

Not having a conference tournament does little if nothing to help the Pac-12 and the teams within; perhaps costing UCLA the No. 1 overall seed this year.

The lack of a end of season tourney also poses an unfair advantage to Pac-12 teams by not having to play two or three of the top tier teams within their conference one last time like the majority of Division-I baseball teams must do.

Besides the Great West Conference every other Division-I tournament winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament similar to college basketball tournaments.

The Big West and West Coast conferences are the only two other conferences other than the Pac-12 that do not have a play-in tournament.

The only team that was awarded the honors to host a regional while winning their regular season conference title and post season tournament was Purdue (Big Ten). A team that by and large remains a mystery this late in the season.

Purdue’s only credible win was a Sunday victory over UCLA on the road. UCLA took a double header from the Boilermakers on the preceding Saturday.

The Boilermakers have the stats and wins of a top team but have they faced enough ace pitchers to be prepared for the College World Series?

LSU, the sixth seed in the tournament, ends their regular season as Collegiate Baseball’s top team.

The Tigers won the SEC West and the overall title. Receiving a bye in the first round of the tournament twice they went up against Mississippi State and loss (3-2 and 4-3).

LSU played one elimination game against Ole Miss winning 11-2.

The SEC has the biggest presence in tournament with eight teams-Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt.

The ACC was awarded five regional hosts- Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Virginia.

The most intriguing conference in the tournament maybe the Pac-12 with four regional hosts- Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA.

The Arizona regional might be one of the toughest brackets going. No. 4 seed Missouri won the Big 12 Tournament.Louisville, the No. 3 seed, tied for the Big East regular season title with St. John’s and high scoring New Mexico State, winners of the Western Athletic Conference regular season (three-way tie with Sacramento State and Nevada 11-7).

Who will win the 2012 College World Series?

CanSouth Carolinamake it a three-peat? Will Florida live up to the preseason hype? Can UCLA overcome the loss of two pitchers taken in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft to win it all?

Is Purdue a pretender of contender? Is the ACC overrated? Which Texas school(s) will pave the way to Omaha?

Which teams are the hottest?

Oregon has won 14 of 18 games but not to be outdone by their in-state rival Oregon State has won seven of eight including a three-game sweep of the Ducks. New Mexico, winners of nine straight, does not top the 17 game win streak of Kent State.

You have to love college baseball especially this time of year. On toOmaha!

Collegiate Baseball Top 25

No. 1 LSU

No. 2 South Carolina

No. 3 Florida

No. 4 Florida State

No. 5 Baylor

No. 6 North Carolina

No. 7 UCLA

No. 8 Arizona

No. 9 Rice

No. 10 Oregon

No. 11 Texas A&M

No. 12 Stanford

No. 13 Kentucky

No. 14 Cal State Fullerton

No. 15 N.C.State

No. 16 Purdue

No. 17 Mississippi State

No. 18 Oregon State

No. 19 Arkansas

No. 20 Arizona State

No. 21 Central Florida

No. 22 Miami

No. 23 Oklahoma

No. 24Virginia

No. 25 Kent State

No. 26 New Mexico

No. 27 San Diego

No. 28 Vanderbilt

No. 29 St.John’s

No. 30 Georgia Tech

Always on the bandwagon with voting week to week which makes creditability an issue, Baseball America proved to do little more than copy the top seeds from the NCAA baseball tournament selection committee.

Baseball America’s Top 25

No. 1Florida

No. 2 UCLA

No. 3 LSU

No. 4 Baylor

No. 5 Florida State

No. 6 North Carolina

No. 7 South Carolina

No. 8 Rice

No. 9 Texas A&M

No. 10 Oregon

No. 11 Kentucky

No. 12 Cal State Fullerton

No. 13 Arizona

No. 14 Mississippi State

No. 15 Purdue

No. 16 Oregon State

No. 17Virginia

No. 18 North Carolina State

No. 19 Stanford

No. 20 Central Florida

No. 21 Arizona State

No. 22 Vanderbilt

No. 23 Miami

No. 24 Pepperdine

No. 25 Stony Brook

Dropped out: TCU (20), San Diego (21), Louisville (22), and Arkansas (25)