Big 12 Fan in Calif. from Redlands asks: So what would Nebraska have needed to done to move up, was it just a case of the other team’s winning?
Welcome all. I just finished possibly the best cookie I’ve ever had in
my life, a chocolate-on-chocolate confection made by Sarah, the girl
friend of our new production mogul Drew McDaniel. Tasty. Let’s talk
college baseball now.
Will Kimmey: Yeah, it’s hard to leap
three teams that all swept conference series. There’s just no grounds
for it. So maybe if Nebraska could have gone 2-1 vs. Texas, then flown
to Chapel Hill to beat North Carolina, flown to Houston to beat Rice
and flown to Fullerton to beat Cal State Fullerton, that would have
done the trick. Remember, the rankings are dependent of how all the
teams play relative to your favorite, so at times there’s nowhere for
it to rise, or to fall. And the same holds true for that rival school
you love to heap misery upon.
Jess from North Bend, Oregon asks: Which Conference do you feel has the best talent top to bottom?
I think the SEC is a little down this year, still deep top to bottom,
but not as strong overall. The ACC is nice on top but thin down low.
The Big 12 and Pac-10 are as up-and-down stout as you’ll see. All nine
teams in each league are legit, and I’ll give a slight edge to the Big
12 because it’s stronger atop with Texas and Nebraska and OU, and a bit
better at the bottom as well.
Robert from Los Angeles asks: How much did Dave Huff help his draft status with his dominating performance against Arizona State on Saturday?
He more reaffirmed that’s he good. He’s dealt like that most of the
year. He punched out the first nine vs. Pacific back in February and
handcuffed NC State on the road in March when he didn’t have his great
stuff. He, Nathan Culp of Missouri, Wade LeBlanc of Alabama and Tony
Watson of Nebraska should be in a nice battle to see which college
lefty comes of the board second behind North Carolina’s Andrew Miller
Bryan from Omaha, NE asks: How
close is Wichita State to re-entering the rankings? Will Damon Sublett
get any consideration for All American or maybe even player of the year
nationally? Where do you see him in the draft when his time comes?
Wichita State finally got over the .500 mark in conference, and it took
half the year. That’s a solid club with good enough arms to win the
league and make the tournament. It should jump back into the fray of
about 30 teams with similar seasons that start in the middle of the Top
25 and stretch outward forever. Really, you can flip a coin on teams
after you get to about No. 16 or 17 in the Top 25 headed down.
We consider every player for All-America and All-freshman teams. Now,
we don’t spend too long considering a guy batting .100, but we aren’t
in the business of ruling people out from the start. Sublett is still
hitting for average, stealing bags and closing games, and he’s added
impressive power to the repertoire this year. He’ll be in the mix at
2b, closer and utility. Looks more likely he’ll be drafted as a 2b or
OF next year, somewhere in the top 5 rounds depending on how teams view
him. It’s obviously really early to start projecting 2007, because most
clubs are so intently focused on the 06 guys.
Phil from Chicago, IL asks: Do you think Notre Dame has solidified a #1 seed in a regional site, if not, what must they accomplish to do so?
The regional host site is likely more a reality than a No. 1 seed, but
that goal remains intact. Eck Stadium has proven a fine regional site
before, and with 6 sites to go around and at least a small desire to
spread things around, ND should end up there. RPI will play some role
in earning the No. 1, and the Irish are at 32 in some projections
today. Winning the Big East regular season and conference title and
keeping the losses under about 15 should strengthen ND’s No. 1 seed
Nathan from Virginia Beach asks: If
worst case Old Dominion loses their conference tournament, how likely
are they to receive an at-large bid? How many wins will they need?
The NCAA selection committee laughed at UNC Wilmington last year after
it lost in the CAA tournament despite its putting together a 40-19,
21-3 season. I found that decision shameful. Looks a lot like what ODU
is on course for, huh? ODU hasn’t played the strongest nonconference
schedule, so it might want to at least make the CAA finals if it can’t
win and then start hoping.
Joe from Houston asks: Thanks
for your time. With Rice and Houston continuing to play well, is there
a possibility that the NCAA would allow both schools to host regionals
and match the two regionals for a super-regional?
That would make some sense, but could have carried more traction had
this scenario arisen last year. Now with both in CUSA, if both teams
end up as No. 1s, the NCAA doesn’t normally seed two 1 seeds across
from each other for a super-regional matchup. Perhaps Rice, guessing a
Top 8 seed, would draw one of the weaker west regionals and Houston
could get paired with, say, Texas. Houston will need a strong No. 2
finish in CUSA to Rice, or to beat it, and it’s shaping up that way
Jerry from Clemson asks: The ACC regular season looks like a “dog fight” to the end. How do you see the final weeks shaping up?
North Carolina holds the overall lead, and has remaining series at
Duke, at Virginia and against Boston College. That’s the easiest road
of any of the contenders. Clemson has Florida State still. And FSU also
plays Miami, while both Florida-based teams have NC State still to
come. Virginia is two games behind UNC, and could leap it with a sweep.
Georgia Tech has Miami left, but needs help from UVa to get ahead of
UNC. Clemson and UNC do not play this year.
bob from wilmington, nc asks: What
are your thoughts about the CAA right now? 2 bid league? Can my
Seahawks still earn an at-large berth with mid week games left vs. Elon
and NCSU and series vs. JMUVCUODU? I sure hope so!
I just mentioned how the CAA got dumped on last year, and UNC W
especially. I see that happening again unless ODU loses the final game
of the league tourney and still get an at-large. But those teams have
all played well, plus Northeastern. Tough times for VCU and JMU, which
played without Harold Mozingo (right hand injury) and Kellen Kulbacki
(right oblique tweak) over the weekend.
Smitty from Columbia, SC asks: Will,
have you heard about the “turn of the century” game between College of
Charleston and the Citadel for tomorrow? Sounds like they are going to
wear throw back uniforms, use wood bats, and play at The Joe. If the
weather holds out they’ll probably draw a huge crowd. Even though this
is a non-conference game what is your take on this and how it relates
to college baseball?
Yes, I’ve even gotten e-mails and phone calls from each school asking
for my attendance, but sadly BA has yet to perfect the teleport device
that could get me there and back Tuesday without losing a ton of office
time. It will be fun to watch and draw a nice crowd with all those
perks, as you usually don’t see this many hi-jinks in a college game.
Sounds more like a minor league promotion night. I’d say go if you can.
Marc from Austin asks: After a rough week for the Horns, where are they sitting in the Super Regional picture ?
BTW, the Huskers proved they are the best team in college baseball right now.
They’ll need to win a regional to get there, and that should happen.
Texas likely will play host to both a regional and super-regional. The
Huskers made a fine case. I’d be content to have my name on rankings
that had any of these teams atop them: Fullerton, Rice, Nebraska, North
Carolina. All lead their leagues and have been playing really well
lately and all season. There’s very little difference among them,
really. Each has a strong case and immense talent.
Rick from Tallahassee, FL asks: We
are stunned in Tallahassee, what does Mike Martin need to do to fire up
his kids after losing 6 of 7 games. Do you think they can turn the ship
Not that this stretch was predictable, but FSU hadn’t really proven
itself capable of beating a Top 25 team this year. Look back at the
schedule and the best series win it has either Minnesota or Maryland.
Martin coaches his clubs well and they play good baseball, but I think
North Carolina and Georgia Tech simply were more talented teams, and
Miami won a toss-up series. Clemson and NC State await on the schedule
to end the season, and that will be a good indication of exactly where
FSU stands. I say it splits those six games.
Kevin C from Omaha asks: Now
that the Texas series is behind, how do you see the balance of
Nebraska’s schedule playing out? Oklahoma is a bit of a surprise to me
this year, what’s your take on the Sooners?
Nebraska’s the favorite in the Big 12 the rest of the way, and aside
from the OU series, it should stand as a heavy favorite every weekend
the rest of the way. At Baylor could be a potential road block, but I’d
take NU to at least win 2 games each weekend the rest of the way. OU
has played really well, and seems to be getting better each week. It
has 10 straight wins and its three senior starters along with a veteran
group of position players showed no worries about going to Dan Law
Field in Lubbock over the weekend, and that’s always a hard place to
win. No team had swept there since 2001. And Texas has won 2 titles in
that time span.
Sandy from Rock Hill, SC asks: What is your take on the use of our pitchers here? Seems like Rollins and Wilson are out of gas.
Joe Hudak has hundreds more wins that me as a college coach, but I
always wonder when you see guys shuffle around and get two-start weeks
sometimes and then start and pitch relief in the same series. Wilson
did the double dip this week, and Rollins did the start-relieve deal. I
know pro guys throw every five days, but not as many college pitchers
are conditioned to do so. I’d have to think that has something to do
with each struggling on short rest, just as Texas’ Adrian Alaniz has
not been as good in weekend starts in those weeks in which he’s come in
for a Friday save. He did that this week as well. Again, I don’t know
the throwing routines of these guys or how their arms are feeling.
That’s just my take.
gary blair from dallas,tx asks: How is Texas with 15 loses still in the top 10 ?
Rankings aren’t based only on how many wins and losses a team has
accrued. We rank teams on how good they are and how they are playing
lately. Mississippi State has lost 11 games, which is fewer than
several teams ahead of it in the rankings. But it is 8-10 lately. Texas
accrued most of its losses early on. Right now, I’d still take Texas to
dave from alabama asks: What
is it going to take for Troy to get into the top 25? There rpi is way
up there to 14th. They are 32-10, 11-1 in conference play. They have
beaten alabama, taken 2 out of 3 from auburn, swept south alabama, and
2 out of 3 from FIU. What is it going to take?
As we’ve said all year, there’s a ton of teams in a big ugly pile on
the edge of the Top 25. So we look for a big series win or a good
record of success against other Top 25 teams to alert us to that.
Troy’s best series win is against Memphis, a middling CUSA team, and it
lost to another middle of the CUSA team, Southern Miss. Auburn’s near
the bottom of the SEC, and those are midweek games. So take
Mississippi, or UCLA or Houston or Virginia, all teams that entered the
rankings this week. Compare their seasons and their opponents and their
wins and then decide which team you drop in favor of Troy. We did that,
and couldn’t take Troy over them. Doesn’t mean Troy is bad, as it’s
right in there among the Top 30.
Matt from Denver asks: With Chamberlin, Watson & Dorn, does Nebraska have the best weekend rotation?
I think it ranks up there with North Carolina’s, Cal State Fullerton’s
and Rice’s, whenever Joe Savery next decides to pitch (it’s been a
month, Joe). Oregon State, Alabama and Texas all can jump into the
discussion. Wonder why those teams own the top spots in the rankings?
Brian from CA asks: Who do you see as the top 5 pitchers in the nation right now? Does Ian Kennedy make your list???
Miller, Morrow, Lincecum, Lincoln, Chamberlain, for draft purposes.
LeBlanc, Degerman, Roemer and Price jump in for college baseball
purposes. Kennedy has really struggled for most of the year, save a
recent game against Cal. His velo has been down. Is he tired? Is he
hurt? Haven’t hurt that either of those things are true, but it is true
that he’s not the same guy who dominated the Pac-10 in 2004 and 2005.
Mike from Michigan asks: Hey
Can you tell me what is going on in the Mid-American Conference? There
doesnt seem to be one standout team like there has been in the past?
Who do you think will come out of the MAC?
It’s not a bad thing, there’s just a lot of parity, just like there is
across the nation And a Miami team that dominated a year ago seems to
have some tired arms after working a ton of innings last year (hi,
Keith Wieser). I’ve got Kent State. The Flashes can pitch and have the
league’s best player in Manny Burriss.
Brandon Leif from Raymond, Nebraska asks: Do you think they will ever make college go to wood bats?
Can’t see it. It’s too expensive, there’s not enough good wood to go
around after the majors and minors have their pick, teams with more
money would end up with better bats because they could pay more, and
finally the games would be boring. The Cape has the best hitters in the
nation and league leaders hit .260. Imagine that across all of college
Will from NC asks: Does
the Socon have any chance at 3 bids (CofC, Elon, and Furman)? I mean
you are dealing with a conference in the last week had a number of wins
against the ACC including the 9th place team (Davidson) beating Wake
Forest on Tuesday along with UNCG beating Chapel hill and Furman
beating Clemson. I know midweek games are not a good barometer of a
quality team but they still are some impressive wins.
You’re right, and this league has three solid teams. But I can’t see
all three getting in. I think two will make it. I like Furman’s start,
but it still has both CofC and Elon to come. (CofC beat Elon 2-1 in
their series this year.) CofC is in for me right now. If it also wins
the SoCon tourney, bid 2 comes down to Elon and Furman. Either of those
teams can take away the anxiety by winning the conference tournament.
Husky Fan from Stamford, CT asks: UConn
is statistically one of the top pitching teams in the country led by
seniors Tim Norton and Nick Tucci, and have a yound but solid line up.
They have been been on a tear of late including sweeps at West Virginia
and St. Johns (save 2 tough-to-swallow mid week losses last week). Do
you consider them a contender for an at large regional bid? And do you
think a series win vs. Notre Dame this weekend could vault them into
the top 25?
Those arms have been very strong, but UConn’s RPI is around 75 right
now, which isn’t good enough on its own. Knocking off St. John’s puts
UConn in position to jump into first place in the Big East with a sweep
of Notre Dame at home this weekend. (Good luck with that.) More likely,
a second-place conference finish and either a tournament win or
runner-up finish to ND there could make a strong case, but that’s about
the only chance UConn will have because of its RPI.
Taylor from Houston asks: Thanks
for the chat, I’ve got two questions for you. After Kentucky’s sweep of
then-SEC leading South Carolina, exactly how serious is this Wildcats
team? And what is the draft status of 2B John Shelby? His average is
low, but he’s got decent power numbers, and he plays good defense. He’s
still a 1st-2nd rounder, right?
It can really club the baseball, especially at home. And S. Carolina, a
week after losing its ace to Tommy John surgery, is still trying to
figure out how to recover from that. Good combo for a sweep, but I like
the strike-throwing of the staff and the resiliency of the team to come
back twice from 6-run deficits on the weekend just as much. This is a
team with a legit chance to make super-regionals. As for Shelby, he’s
got plenty of power and athleticism, and is a very good interview to
boot. But his plate discipline scares the heck out of some scouts. If
he’s going to be a good pro, he’s got to lay off bad pitches.
Everything else is there, and he’s a top 3 rounds guy.
That’s all the time I’ve got today. Thanks for coming out, and to keep
on the food theme, it’s time to knock over a bowl of spicy thai