Moderator: Will Kimmey will begin taking your college questions at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Billy from Hattiesburg asks: What
kept Southern Miss from Breaking into the top 25 this week? Also what
are your thoughts on the Eagles this year possibly going furthur than a
The biggest thing is an overwhelming glut of similar teams outside the
Top 25. Winthrop, San Diego, USC, Kansas State, Old Dominion, Alabama,
Creighton, Miami, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Cal Poly, Kansas and UCLA
all forced their way into the mix at the end this week. You’ve got
there a mix of clubs with either fine records and average schedules, or
strong schedules that have resulted in some nice wins but a fair number
of losses. In the end, Virginia’s sweep of Clemson helped the Cavaliers
grab that last spot, but it was far from easy.
Phil from Seattle asks: Nebraska
pitcher Joba Chamberlain has missed his last two starts, but Nebraska
has yet to lose in that span of time. Is Nebraska’s pitching even
stronger than we thought or is it a combination of that and weak
Nebraska can pitch, but it’s not going to have a shot to win the Big 12
until Chamberlain is healthy. He, Watson, Shirek, Dorn and Cranston
give the Huskers very good depth on the mound, yes. And I like that
Nebraska has allowed seven runs in its last eight games. But look back
at the schedule, and I don’t see the Yankees on there. And I see two
teams (Alabama and Notre Dame)–and maybe three with Arizona–that will
be in the NCAA tournament. So, yes this is an elite staff. But no, I
don’t think the Huskers can be an elite without Chamberlain, who’s one
of the five best pitchers in the country.
Brett Parnes from Boulder, Colorado asks: granted,
they were swept by florida early in the season and had a somewhat rocky
start, and granted this is a rebuilding year … but what do the miami
hurricanes have to do to get ranked in the baseball america poll? has
their schedule been so weak that even winning those 15 in a row isnt
good enough? and do you think a ranking is imminent with another
weekend or two of solid ball?
Fifteen in a row is good. But let’s look at things overall: there’s a
glut of teams with very similar records to Miami’s; Miami lost a series
at home to Winthrop, which is also in that glut; none of those wins
have come against teams that would be borderline NIT teams this year
(if baseball had an NIT). It’s who you play and who you beat. Miami
will get its challenges as the season moves along in conference play.
In summary, we see Miami winning and improving, and that’s good. It’s
going to need to keep doing so and hope all the teams mentioned earlier
cool down. That’s the thing about a Top 25, there are only 25 spots,
and there were maybe 10-15 teams in the running at the end there. It
matters what your team does, but also what others do as well.
Jody from Mobile, AL asks: Do you think Mississippi State is for real? How good do you think they can be?
Frauds have a hard time winning 15 straight games. MSU has as much
pitching depth as any team in the country. It’s also a very veteran
club. The funny thing is, amid this school-record start and winning
streak, the Bulldogs aren’t even hitting well yet. They’ve left 144
guys on base in 15 games. I see MSU as a very strong club that should
be able to top 40 wins and make a nice tournament run.
Cale from West Palm Beach, FL asks: How
can you justify keeping Missouri, one of your preseason Top 25 teams,
out this week after sweeping Texas A&M on the road without Max
Scherzer? If anything, people questioned the Tigers were all-Scherzer,
but now they have proven otherwise, yet Texas a double-digit loss team
is still protected.
By pointing to a 13-7 record against a schedule that features only one
game against a Top 25 team. Texas is 15-10, but it is 6-3 against Top
25 teams (2-0 v. Rice), a mark that doesn’t include three losses at San
Diego, which wasn’t ranked when the season opened.
Preston from Mississippi Delta asks: How
do you see this weekend in Baton Rouge going? I was surprised by what
happened in Lexington. What rotation will LSU go with?
I’ll be taking Mississippi State to come away with two wins there. So
the win streak may end, but not the winning ways. I told LSU beat
writer Carl Dubois via e-mail last week I expected UK to take two. I’ll
admit being too chicken to take that as my Upset City (though USC did
win the Oregon State series), but was concerned about how LSU’s staff
and young bats would fare on the road against a confident UK club with
lots of big bats. I haven’t seen LSU’s rotation for this week, but
Dirks, Olvey and Coleman, in that order might make sense. Olvey has
been the best arm, but moving from Sunday to Friday might not happen
because of rest issues.
Taylor from Orlando, FL asks: How
bad is the Atlantic Sun Conference this year? Do they have any teams
with a shot at the Top 25, let alone more than one regional shot? What
happened once feared A-Sun?
The conference shuffle took Central Florida and Troy, two of the
league’s better teams. Florida Atlantic, the preseason pick and always
a consistent program despite its underacheiving this year, leaves for
the Sun Belt next year. The class of the league looks like Mercer and
North Florida this year. I think you’re looking at a one-bid league,
unless Mercer or UNF win the league handily but not the tournament and
squeak out an at-large based on their nice nonconference wins.
Matt Lane from NY asks: How
come James Madison has not been considered for the top 25? Currently,
they have the longest winning streak in Division 1 baseball (16). Only
losing to clemson 3 games and a fluke to George Washington mid-week.
Also, they average 11.6 runs a game leading division 1 baseball.
I omitted Madison from the earlier list to an extent. It’s very similar
to Old Dominion in that it has run up a ton of wins against inferior
competition. Those teams are in consideration, but it’s hard to take a
JMU when you’ve got a Miami with the same winning streak against better
teams. Or a Cal Poly with more losses but seven Top 25 wins. Not saying
playing schedules like this are wrong for building the team, just that
in a close group of clubs for the Top 25, there’s no allowance for a
big series win to vault a club into the rankings.
Brian Ledbetter from Lexington, MS asks: Do you think that mississippi state is really the best team in the nation?
Right now, sure. I can think of teams I’d take over MSU in a three-game
series at a neutral site, but 15-0 is 15-0. That’s playing really good
baseball, especially compared to the rest of the field.
Kevin from Saginaw MI asks: Is this going to be just another South Alabama year, winning the Sun Belt and failing in the regional?
That’d be my guess. But my question is what’s wrong with that? I know
the goal is to win the whole darn thing, but winning your conference
and making the NCAA tournament is a very solid year and a very good
JJ from Little Rock asks: If UCLA continues to win, does that help the RPI and SOS for Miami who won their series at UCLA?
Yes. Basically, fans, once you play a team, root for it to win all the
rest of its games. RPI is constructed like this: 25 percent is the
team’s record, 50 percent is opponents’ records, 25 percent is
opponents’ opponents’ record.
Corbett from Amsterdam, The Netherlands asks: Sitting
over in Holland, I miss my college baseball first hand, but am quite
fond of your Monday thoughts on the current landscape of college
baseball. So thank you. My question is at this point in the year 7 of
10 Big XII teams have bounced like ping pong balls in and out of your
Top 25 – (UT, Nebraska, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas
A&M) plus Kansas St. at 16-1…Is there this much parity in league
this year or have early season favorites just not played up to
potential yet (MizzouTexas- obvious exception of Nebraska). Who do you
see being the best 5 at end of year? [according to poll I guess-
Nebraska, UT, Baylor, OK, Kansas???]
There’s that much parity across college baseball. Really, there’s no
dominant team that’s emerged this year. All have warts and all could
get swept on a weekend without too many jaws dropping. That makes
things fun, but very unpredictable. We’ve been flexible with the Top 25
this year, especially with the bottom portion, as a reflection of that
parity. As for the best five in the Big 12, my end of season prediction
is this: Texas, Nebraska, Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma
State, Kansas State, Texas Tech. So print this out, and either make fun
of me or laud me upon season’s end. I’m game for each.
Andrew H from Atlanta asks: Will,
what do you think of Georgia Tech’s series against NC State this
weekend. It seems the last couple of weeks teams have been able to
silence Tech’s bats a few times. Is Georgia Tech in trouble or is this
just a sign of how strong the ACC is…as evidenced by Virginia and NC
State’s entrance into the top 25 this week?
Ga Tech still has some work to do with its pitching after giving up
more than 10 runs per game in the series, though errors let in some of
those runs. I think NC State claimed the mantle of the nation’s best
offense this weekend. Neither team really pitched well aside from NC
State in the opener, but the Wolfpack hit slightly better and fielded
better. I’m not going to say one league is better than others, because
entire leagues don’t play other leagues. The teams at the top of the
ACC look fairly sturdy, though there’s a soft underbelly with which to
pad records. And of course, we’ll keep in mind the ACC’s postseason
George from Tallahassee asks: Any idea when ESPN will release a schedule of games they plan to televise this spring?
There have been hints, but nothing’s released yet. It’s not going to be
a large list and almost all of it will be on ESPNU, from what I’ve
Yoda from In Hiding from Vader asks: Great
disturbances in the rankings I feel. Powerhouses no more are LSU and
Texas…CWS begins today, Baseball america picks whom? Run now do
I…Vader is on my trail
How can I not take a question phrased like this? For Baseball America,
I will not pick. Will Kimmey I represent, and take Cal State Fullerton
he will. Florida, Aaron Fitt picks. Agoura (Calif.) High, says high
school writer Alan Matthews.
Michael from Birmingham, Al asks: What
do you think about Samford’s chances of running the table in the OVC
this year? They have some powerful bats returning from last year in
Garret Rice and Matt Alling; and Stephen Artz on the mound who should
be a high draft pick.
Running the table, you mean going unbeaten? That’s zero. Samford does
have a nice club and has played a lot of good teams. I still like
Austin Peay and Jacksonville State a little better, mostly because of
the arms they run out there in guys like Rowdy Hardy and Donovan Hand.
Jim from Aliso Viejo, CA asks: Will
Kimmey, thanks for these chats! I keep hearing about all these college
arms for the draft but someone has to take some hitters, where do you
see power bats like Matt LaPorta, Cyle Hankerd and Danny Hamblin going
in the draft?
You hear about the arms because that’s the strength. LaPorta should
still end up in the first round, and Evan Longoria will be there with
him. Someone else is likely to emerge, but that groundhog hasn’t poked
his head out yet. Hankerd and Hamblin maybe be more 2-5 round jokers.
Alex from Pinehurst, NC asks: With
ECU sitting at 16-6 (I do realize that the 16 wins aren’t against the
stiffest of competition), do you think they will fair better in Houston
this weekend agaisnt Rice than they did the other weekend in Fullerton
when they were outscored 20-1 by the Titans?
East Carolina has played, and especially pitched, very well thus far.
You’d like to see a team score more than one run, even on the road at
Fullerton in cold weather, but that series will help the Pirates this
week at Rice. Having already played a team that pitches well and in a
road environment is good experience. Plus, Rice has struggled to get a
third arm on the mound since Bobby Bell hit the shelf with a pulled
muscle in his throwing shoulder. So ECU will put it on the board more
than once this weekend, and could take that Sunday game. Degerman and
Savery will make the first two games very difficult.
Mitch Meyer from Hawg Country asks: After Arkansas Blew 2 leads against the gators. How are they #11???
Look at last week’s list after that? Everyone else got worked as well.
Not a great week in general for Top 25 teams. Florida is a good team,
so going 1-2 there isn’t the same as getting swept at Maryland-Eastern
Shore. I’ll take my chances with Arkansas at 17-3 being the nation’s
11th best team.
Bill Coen from Woodland Hills, CA asks: I
attend the first two games of the DartmouthPepperdine series. How does
a top 25 team like Pepperdine lose to Dartmouth and still stay in the
top 25? You mentioned their “lethal” hitting…where was that on Friday?
Will Kimmey: Guess it was on spring break. Hey, it’s baseball, even the Devil Rays beat the Yankees sometimes.
GoGoJames from Houston asks: Brad
Lincoln has really stepped it up on the mound after a great season in
the Cape. Where do you see him being drafted this year? Also, do you
see UH making a tournament run this year?
Lincoln has struck out at least seven batters in each of his last seven
starts. That’s good stuff, and that’s a first-round pick. Houston again
looks to be battling its tough schedule for an NCAA bid. The Cougars
are the one team in the nation I think plays too strict a schedule.
They always take on all-comers, which is great for players and fans,
but they tend to split a lot of those and leave their record a bit too
close to .500 when selection day comes around. Mixing in one easy
series might be huge for Houston, but again it’s hard to fault a team
for aggressive scheduling, especially when I chide everyone else for
not playing enough tough opponents.