College Baseball Rankings Top 25 Chat (5/14/18)
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. It was another full weekend of baseball around the country and you have questions, so let's get to them.
- Do you think UGA is still in a good position to host a regional? Thought they could have won Friday and they competed well this weekend. Was curious if you think we learned anything more about them this weekend from playing the top ranked gators. Thanks!
Teddy Cahill: Yes, Georgia is in a good position to not only host, but also to be a top-eight seed. I don't think I learned anything new this weekend about the Bulldogs. They're a good team and have been really all season. It was good for them to come out and win on Sunday, but even getting swept wouldn't have been disastrous. Very interested to see how this weekend's series against Arkansas plays out.
- Who wins the Pac-12?
Teddy Cahill: Stanford, probably. The Cardinal coming back to win Sunday changed the complexion of that race. I think Stanford and Oregon State have about even schedules from here on out and the Beavers need the Cardinal to slip up again. I think Oregon State is just going to run out of room to make up the deficit.
Jason (Costa Mesa California):
- After taking 2 out of 3 from UC Riverside, Fullerton is 14-4 in the big west with only Northridge and LBSU left in the season. Is Fullerton to far down to have any shot at hosting? And if so, would you consider them one of the more dangerous 2 or 3 seeds in the field with a good shot at Omaha? Always love these chats!!
Teddy Cahill: Fullerton will not host this year. I don't think it'll be a 2 either, which means either Stanford or Oregon State is going to get stuck with one of the best 3s in the field. I've said it before, I'll probably keep saying it for the next few weeks - if Cal State Fullerton ends up in Omaha this year, I will not be the least bit surprised. That pitching staff will make the Titans a very difficult out in the postseason.
Paul (Houston, TX):
- If Houston were to win the league outright and win the American Conference Tournament Championship, do you think they will host again for the second straight year?
Teddy Cahill: Houston's RPI is too far gone for that, I think. A week ago the Cougars were just barely on the right side of the bubble. I think Houston put itself firmly in the field this weekend, but it still is just 52 in RPI. It's not going to be able to jump up the 30 spots it needs to host.
- With Baylor going 4-1 on the week including a series win over ranked Oklahoma State and moving their Big 12 record over .500, are they now securely in as a 3 seed? Does 1-2 at wvu and 0-2 put them back on the outside looking in? Any insight is appreciated
Teddy Cahill: Baylor is still hanging around the bubble. It doesn't have a great RPI (51), but more importantly, I think, is that the Bears are just 11-10 in the Big 12. It doesn't have the resume to support a conference record below .500. So this weekend at West Virginia is big. Win the series and Baylor is in, but a series loss is going to make the Big 12 Tournament more important for the Bears. Going 1-2 in Morgantown and 0-2 in Oklahoma City would leave Baylor out.
- With the American being a Top 4 baseball conference again this year: how many teams you see making the NCAA Regional? With Houston heating up and winning our conference, can we possibly get 5 bids in? Is there any scenario where Wichita State could miss out because of a poor conference record?
Teddy Cahill: Five bids and I think it's a pretty solid five at this point, barring an unexpected slip up by UCF down the stretch. Wichita is out short of winning the tournament. Even when the Shockers had a top 25 RPI, a losing conference record in the American wasn't going to be enough. Being 7-13-1 in the American definitely won't get it done.
- General question: what's the conference you're most surprised is going to get 2 bids to the NCAA tourney? Which team has most surprised to have a chance from what you would've projected preseason? Thanks as always
Teddy Cahill: I was skeptical about the Atlantic Sun for a long time and now Stetson might host, so it has to be the A-Sun. And Stetson may well be the choice for most surprising team. I knew the Hatters would pitch, but I in no way thought they would have a top-10 RPI. Tennessee Tech also a worthy pick here. Not picking the Golden Eagles to win the Ohio Valley was one of my worst preseason picks and now they have 44 wins. Just an outstanding year for Tennessee Tech.
- Any way Texas Tech can become a national seed or are we stuck as a regional host?
Teddy Cahill: Win this weekend and make a run in Oklahoma City. I don't know that Texas Tech has to win the Big 12 Tournament to get into the top eight, but it couldn't hurt. Any chance definitely starts with a series win this weekend at Oklahoma State.
- What will it take for Tech to get back into a National Seed? Are they secure to host regardless pending losing out?
Teddy Cahill: I wouldn't want to go 1-2 this weekend and then 1-2 or 0-2 in the tournament. That leaves Texas Tech's conference record closer to .500 than would be advisable. The big RPI number makes up for a lot - just ask 2017 Clemson - but that would be four straight losing weekends going into Selection Monday. Hardly the kind of last impression you want to give the committee.
- Boy Mississippi State had every chance to win that series at Kentucky but didn’t. If they can manage one from Florida that would have them at 13-17 in the sec and an RPI around 40 maybe under. What would they need to do in Hoover to get in?
Teddy Cahill: In that scenario, Mississippi State would need to be playing on Saturday in Hoover, I think. That gets the Bulldogs to 16 SEC wins. I'm not saying 16 SEC wins is a magical number, but I think with Mississippi State's RPI and a 16-18 SEC record, that would do it. But the Bulldogs are living dangerously right now.
Wes A. (Jackson, MS):
- Ok just how good are the Rebs? Are they a legit top 8 seed? What do they have to do to get that secured spot?
Teddy Cahill: Really good. Ole Miss is a top-five team for a reason. Love that pitching staff and the offense was very impressive this weekend, especially Friday and Saturday. I'd say they have a top-eight seed locked up already, except that they're playing Alabama this weekend. Losing that series would be a drag on Ole Miss' RPI and they might fall a spot or two in the SEC standings. But win this weekend and the Rebels will be all set going into Hoover.
- Has St Johns done enough over the past three weeks to earn a spot in the regional should they win their League regular season conference, but lose in their tourney? intriguing midweek matchup (again) with Minnesota
Teddy Cahill: I think St. John's is set with a series win this weekend. But the Big East Tournament is going to include at least one RPI anchor, if not two. St. John's is playing with fire if it loses multiple games over the next two weeks to Butler and Georgetown, which both have 150+ RPIs.
Jeramey (Locust Grove):
- The state of North Carolina has a healthy resume of schools who could host regionals. In your eyes, who will host right now? Thanks as always
Teddy Cahill: Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State for sure right now. Probably still East Carolina, but the Pirates have to win this weekend at UConn or they may need to win the AAC Tournament. It'll be interesting to sort out the host race this week when we put together our Projected Field of 64.
Darren Baker Using Strong Cape Performance To Make His Own Name
Darren Baker, the son of Dusty Baker, is establishing his own name in the baseball world with a standout performance in the Cape Cod League.
- Assuming Miami wins the remaining 4 games on their schedule and finishes 29-25 with a winning ACC regular season record with a good showing in the ACC tournament, any chance the Canes get in to regionals without winning the ACC Tournament.
Teddy Cahill: I am of the belief that, yes, Miami is not yet in a position where it needs to win the ACC Tournament. It has to sweep BC this weekend. At that point it's 17-13 in the ACC. Win a couple games in the tournament and I think a team with 19 ACC wins has to get in. But the Canes also aren't in a position where they can afford to look ahead. They're still at a point where they need to keep winning every game in front of them for now.
Matt (Iowa City):
- How screwed is Iowa after a clunker of a weekend at Northwestern? 4-0 this week is an obvious must, but do the Hawkeyes need to win the Big Tourney now?
Teddy Cahill: The Hawkeyes aren't in good shape, that's for sure. Right now I'm not sure that they're going to have to repeat as Big Ten Tournament champions to get to regionals, but they are going to go to the tournament with work to do again this year. Iowa has to sweep Penn State this weekend. Another loss will put the Hawkeyes in a position where it's auto-bid or bust. But with the Big Ten standings as bunched as they are, it's hard to get a good feel for what the pecking order is right now. There will be a bit more clarity next week.
- Would a series win at FSU lock up a national seed for NC State? (Barring going 0-2 in the ACCT)
Teddy Cahill: Probably not, but it would certainly put it in the discussion. If NC State can find a way past Clemson in the ACC standings that would greatly help the Wofpack's case. But realistically, I think NC State is going to have to go make a bit of a STATEment in Durham. That doesn't mean it will have to win the tournament, but I don't think it can afford to just coast through the ACC Tournament if it wants a top-eight seed.
- how do u see the final wkend of conference play in the big 12 playing out? Ok st going to hold on? or will the Horns find a way to win the conference by taking series from tcu a team who has owned them since entering big 12? Would love to hear your thoughts about an exciting final wkend in the conference.
Teddy Cahill: The door is open for Texas, but it's still a pretty big ask to make up two games in the standings in one weekend. Either the Longhorns have to sweep the Horned Frogs, who are playing for their postseason lives, or the Cowboys have to get swept in Stillwater. Neither feels particularly likely. So, yes, I think Oklahoma State wins the title. The Red Raiders struggle away from Lubbock, the Cowboys play really well at home and they're going to be eager to halt the slide they've been on the last couple weeks.
Sam (South Carolina):
- What's keeping NC State off of your "Eight for Omaha" list? They've only lost one series all year, three games that they had the opportunity to win in the bottom of the 9th (against North Carolina). If they win the series against Florida State (which will most likely make them a national seed), do you see them making it to Omaha? Furthermore, what does East Carolina have to do to host?
Teddy Cahill: North Carolina State is off my Eight for Omaha because I don't think it matches up well with premium pitching staffs. The ACC is really light on the mound this year so it hasn't much mattered so far, but I remain skeptical that the Wolfpack are going to be able to handle the big-time arms they'll eventually face in the tournament. Maybe the draw works out favorably and they can avoid them, but I just think that if NC State gets drawn with an Auburn or a Coastal or paired for supers with an Ole Miss or an Arkansas, it will struggle. And I think the series against North Carolina was further evidence of the potential problem. I've been pretty consistent in that view all season and winning at Florida State is unlikely to change my mind at all.
- Does FSU have a good shot at a National seed with a series win over NC State this weekend or will they need that, plus a deep ACC Tournament run?
Teddy Cahill: It starts with a series win this weekend. I don't think that secures it at all, but it has to start with beating North Carolina State this weekend. Much like in the Wolfpack's case, I think the Seminoles would then go to Durham needing to show a little something. That doens't mean a finals run, necessarily, but I don't think they could afford a quick exit either.
- Florida's pitching depth sets up extremely nice for Regionals, Super and CWS. Is there another team that can come close to their pitching staff?
Teddy Cahill: Florida has the best and deepest pitching staff in the country. I don't think it's particularly close, but Stanford, Ole Miss and Arkansas (at full strength) all stand out as well. I really like what Coastal has in terms of starting pitching and Stetson has some really high-end arms it can ride. But, for me, Florida is the clear cut best pitching staff this year. It's hard to match Singer and Kowar at the front of the rotation and Byrne at the back of the bullpen.
- Can you name 5-6 coaches who will need big raises to keep them from jumping ship to bigger programs?
Teddy Cahill: I swear I didn't plant this question, but I am going to use it as an opportunity to tease a piece I'm working on. Check back at baseballamerica.com later this week (maybe tomorrow, but probably a little later) for a catalogue of names to watch this summer on the coaching carousel. I think (hope?) you will enjoy it. And it'll include far more than five or six naes.
Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today, in part because I need to finish that coaching carousel piece I just teased. This is the time of the year everyone wonders about the NCAA Tournament field, so remember to check back here Wednesday for our latest Projected Field of 64. We'll have some tough decisions to make this week when we're putting it together.