A year after ending the season with the final No. 1 ranking, Vanderbilt opens the 2015 season ranked No. 1.
The defending national champion Commodores head up Baseball America’s preseason Top 25 college rankings for the first time. They’ve now have opened the season in the top 10 seven of the last 10 seasons.
The Commodores are one of three Southeastern Conference teams in the Top 10 and five in the Top 15, joined by No. 2 Louisiana State, No. 6 Florida, No. 13 South Carolina and No. 14 Mississippi State.
Virginia, the 2014 runner-up, opens the season ranked fourth, one of six Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the Top 25, the most of any conference. That includes new ACC member Louisville at No. 12, the second-highest preseason ranking in Cardinals history.
Two Texas teams open 2015 with their highest preseason ranking ever. Houston, of the American Athletic Conference, opens at No. 3, while Big 12 Conference member Texas Tech, fresh off a 2014 College World Series appearance, opens at No. 5. The No. 3 ranking matches Houston’s highest ever, preseason or otherwise, while Texas Tech has its highest ranking since it reached No. 3 during the 1997 season—the first baseball season of the Big 12.
Three other schools make their first-ever appearance in the preseason rankings. Maryland, in its first year as a Big Ten school, opens the season ranked 16th. The same is true for Kennesaw State of the Atlantic Sun, which like Maryland won a regional for the first time last season. The Owls open at No. 19. The third newcomer is No. 25 Liberty.
The staff of Baseball America determines the Top 25 rankings. Last year’s records do not include ties.