College Baseball Top 25 Chat (4/15/19)
Click here to see the NCAA Top 25.
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. It was a fun weekend of baseball around the country, filled with some upsets and big results. Let's get to your questions.
Pete (Denver, CO):
- How does the loss of Abel for the season impact the Beavers? Will that deep bullpen be able to pick up the slack and get them back to Omaha?
Teddy Cahill: It's not ideal, but the news last week that Kevin Abel is done for the year and undergoing Tommy John surgery doesn't worry me too much for Oregon State. The Beavers played a month without him already and did pretty well in that stretch. Brandon Eisert has taken over a spot in the rotation and he's pitching well there. Would it be nice to still have him in the bullpen? Absolutely. But the Beavers still have Chamberlain and Mulholand out there doing pretty much the same thing Eisert did. If there was a team that could withstand losing its ace for the year and not missing a beat, it was Oregon State.
Al (Greenville NC):
- Has Coastal Carolina and Texas backed themselves in a corner with regards to possibly hosting?
Teddy Cahill: Coastal yes, Texas no. Coastal's hosting chances are done. The Chants' are down into the 30s in RPI, have lost back-to-back Sun Belt series and don't have the games left on their schedule to make that up. The benefit of playing in the Big 12, however, is that you get many more high-end RPI opportunities. The Longhorns don't have much margin for error now, but West Virginia is a top-20 RPI team and they still have both Oklahoma schools on their schedule, plus the Big 12 Tournament. It won't be easy, but Texas can rebound and still host.
- How many hosts do you think the ACC will get? Seems like a down year for the conference. Will the committee feel pressure to reserve at least three or four based off the ACC's tradition? Or maybe even for regional representation? - Georgia Tech fan
Teddy Cahill: This was a subject we got into on the podcast today, so I'd encourage you to give that a listen when it comes out. The committee will feel no pressure to give the ACC hosts based on its tradition. Remember, the Pac-12 got no hosts in 2016 and it has the most national titles of any conference. So the ACC is going to get no sympathy for it being a little down this year. It'll probably end up with three. Louisville is in great shape. Georgia Tech is looking pretty good. And at least one of Clemson, NC State and UNC will probably host. Miami has pushed itself into the conversation as well. And don't forget about the ACC Tournament's role in the hosting race. All those teams will have a few more chances in Durham to really help their RPI and add a title to their resumes. When it's all said and done, I'd expect three hosts from the league.
- How good is this Louisville freshman class? Can they be better than the 2016 draft class?
Teddy Cahill: I think it's an awfully tall task to ask any Louisville class to equal the 2016 and 2017 groups. When I went back and reranked recruiting classes, 2016 ranked No. 2 (behind Florida's class with Puk, Shore, Dunning, Reed, Guthrie, etc.) and 2017 No. 1. This Louisville class is really good - it ranked No. 4 last fall. But to put it on a level of the 2016 class that produced three first rounders and six top-100 picks, that's richer than I'm willing to go even though it came to campus with more fanfare.
- What’s the reasoning for Georgia only dropping 1 spot when they not only lost a series to an unranked team.. but were shutout?
Teddy Cahill: When we looked at the full body of work, we still felt like Georgia was worthy of that ranking. The Bulldogs are still tied with Mississippi State for the SEC lead and have series wins against Vanderbilt and LSU. Tennessee is unranked, but that's a regional caliber team that Georgia lost to on the road. We didn't think Georgia needed to be killed for a 2-2 week that also included a midweek win against Georgia Tech.
- Solid weekend for Georgia Tech taking two out of three up in Boston. Do you see the Jackets getting a host spot when all is said and done? And if so, will it be a top 8 seed?
Teddy Cahill: Yes, I think Georgia Tech hosts. No, I don't think it will be a top-eight seed unless the Jackets go win the ACC Tournament. Georgia Tech is going to have trouble getting its RPI up to a top-eight level unless it goes on a run in Durham, which it could. But that's going to have to be a part of its resume.
- Where’s the love for Mizzou?
Teddy Cahill: When we looked at it last night, we were debating Auburn vs. West Virginia vs. Missouri. And, ultimately, Mizzou lost out, clearly. When we broke it down, Auburn and West Virginia both have more Top 25 wins than Mizzou. Auburn has a winning record in the SEC, which Mizzou does not (barely). And Mizzou has the worst series loss on its resume. It's all very tight there for the last few spots.
- What are your thoughts on the way Louisiana Tech has been playing so far? Should they continue to play well, do you think they are a lock for an at-large bid?
Teddy Cahill: Where LaTech is right now is probably go for an at-large bid. But the Bulldogs in no way should feel safe. This weekend was a huge series win at FAU and it has the best RPI in the conference - one that's good enough for an at-large. But FAU is still leading CUSA and Southern Miss is still second and has that sweep of LaTech. How the committee would sort that mess out would be very interesting, but at this point there's nothing to feel safe about. Now, if LaTech can keep this pace up, it'll have a good case. If it can get up to 40 wins and keep its RPI in the top 40, it should be able to feel good.
Lyon (Jackson, MS):
- Is Miss State now the favorite to win the SEC West?
Teddy Cahill: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The SEC West is a cage fight that's going to come down to the final weekend. I've been saying LSU is my pick for the last couple weeks and I'll just ride with that for now, despite what happened last week. But if Mississippi State can get a series win this weekend at Arkansas, I may change my answer.
- Is it possible that Nebraska could host if they win enough? RPI is in good shape and still series with Illinois and Arizona State to go. Thoughts?
Teddy Cahill: Yes. According to Boyd's RPI Needs Report, Nebraska can even still finish with a top-eight RPI. That's highly unlikely, but that Arizona State series is a big one for Nebraska to have. If the Huskers roll through the second half, hosting is still on the table. I think it will need to win either the Big Ten regular season or tournament title, but Nebraska is capable of that. The margin for error is not great, however.
Fish (West Virginia):
- Looking at WVU's performance so far against some great teams and their remaining schedule, how do you feel about their chances of making a run through a couple rounds of the NCAA tournament?
Teddy Cahill: I'll take this question as, "Can WVU win a regional?" and I'll say sure, why not. Manoah matches up well with anyone in the country and the rest of the Mountaineers top-end arms are solid. They probably still have another level to get to offensively, but even if they don't, their pitching is good enough to win a regional. They're dangerous in a super regional too because of Manoah. What WVU has done over the last three weeks has been very impressive. And it's a credit to Randy Mazey that we're even having this conversation. That program has come a long way.
- How disappointing has Texas been as of late and is there any hope of turning what is becoming an unacceptable season by Texas standards, around?
Teddy Cahill: There's no question that this weekend was incredibly disappointing. But let's also remember that Texas lost to Kansas State last year and still won the Big 12 and went to Omaha. So, yeah, the Longhorns can turn this back around. This is still the same team that won series against LSU and Texas Tech.
Eric Simmons (Thornton Colorado):
- Why isn't Miami Ohio ranked when they're 29-6?
Teddy Cahill: #MACtion! Because Miami's strength of schedule ranks No. 283 and it has played a total of three games against teams with winning records. I am, however, interested to see how the RedHawks play this weekend against Ball State in a series between two of the MAC's chief contenders.
- Do you consider Louisville a legit contender a Huge weekend sweep
Teddy Cahill: I moved Louisville into my Eight for Omaha (https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/off-the-bat-louisville-ucsb-sweep-crucial-conference-series/), so I guess yes. It seems like they're really finding their stride here in the second half. I know I saw Louisville's best weekend of the season, but it was hard not to come away impressed with the Cardinals.
- Is it time to officially downgrade Texas Tech from national title contender to simply a host contender?
Teddy Cahill: I guess, but I'm also not sure I ever really would have classified Texas Tech as a national title contender. I think you can still look at this team as an Omaha contender for sure. The talent is all still there for that. They just have to find the way to piece it together. I know it's frustrating that it hasn't clicked yet, but it's still there in flashes. And if the Red Raiders can host, they're incredibly tough to beat in Lubbock. Ultimately do they have enough to really match up with some of the premier pitching staffs in the country in Omaha? Maybe not. But I wouldn't be surprised to see the Red Raiders back at TD Ameritrade Park in June.
- the big 12 looks like it could have as many as 7 teams make a regional. will you spend a minute and break down your favorites in the big 12 and if you think 7 teams will play in post season. thx
Teddy Cahill: Got into this a bit on the podcast today as well, so, again, go download that when it comes out later. We had seven Big 12 teams in the Field of 64 projection last week and will again this week. As for trying to predict who wins this league, that's tough. Baylor is in first place, but it has three trick trips ahead (at Texas Tech, at TCU, at Oklahoma State). The Cowboys are in second but their schedule may be even tougher. If we're just looking at schedules, West Virginia probably sets up best. But I'll go with Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have the talent and while they have some tough series, they're almost all at home, where TTU is 15-3 this year. But this race is going down to the wire again this year.
- ECU is obviously disappointed with this weekend's results against UCLA. Given that is was an extremely close series, it shouldn't hurt ECU too much in the long run should it?
Teddy Cahill: No, as long as ECU doesn't let it spiral. The Pirates competed very well at UCLA. They were winning Game 1 late, got walked off on in Game 2 and were in Game 3 the whole time. As sweeps go, that's not too bad. I think ECU showed it can compete with premium pitching staffs and that's a positive as well. It didn't hurt its hosting chances. The Pirates just need to get back to taking business in the American and they'll be set up fine. Important series to that end this weekend with UConn coming to Greenville.
- How many teams do you see getting in the field of 64 from the West Coast Conference? LMU continues to impress after taking 2 of 3 from USD this weekend. Any chance of them getting an at-large bid?
Teddy Cahill: It's a tough road for LMU. The Lions have been great so far, but they still haven't really gotten the top competitors in the league. That starts this week with Saint Mary's, Pepperdine, BYU and Gonzaga in successive weeks. If they can navigate that successfully, yes, the chances for an at-large bid are there. But that's a really tough month ahead. BYU, Gonzaga, LMU and Pepperdine all have RPIs that are in decent shape and if they can finish strong, they all have a real shot at earning bids.
Eric Simmons (Thornton Colorado):
- How many teams do you think make the NCAA Tournament in the Big West Conference? I think UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine
Teddy Cahill: It's looking more and more like a two-bid league. Fullerton is fighting an uphill battle against RPI and also needs to get back above .500 overall. I suppose there's a scenario where Cal Poly wins the title and UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara both still get in as at-larges, but that's not a particularly likely possibility.
- What would UCLA have to do at this point to not get a top 8 seed? Can you put their accomplishments in the last month+ into perspective with other great teams from past years?
Teddy Cahill: I'm going to need some time to research the second part of this question, but I think it's a great question that I'll try to answer on the website down the line. It really has been an impressive run for the Bruins of late. As for blowing a top-eight seed, if the Bruins were to only play .500 baseball the rest of the way and fell out of the top three in the Pac-12, that would probably do it. I think they'll be ok though.
Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today. Thanks to everyone for the questions and, since I've already plugged it a couple times, I'll do it again here: look for the podcast later and give it a listen. We get into some of the same questions we did here, but probably in a little more depth.