College Baseball Rankings Top 25 Chat (5/7/18)
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. I just want to quickly shout out Mike Martin for breaking the all-time wins record Saturday. Truly a remarkable accomplishment to compile 1,976 wins in 39 years. The consistency required to do so is just incredible. Any way, you guys have plenty of questions, so let's get to it.
Tom (Jonesboro, AR):
- Knowing it is not likely, what has to happen for Southern Miss to have a shot at hosting a regional? It seems that a regional host will be hosting another top 10-15 team in that same regional, with the way things have been going.
Teddy Cahill: If Southern Mississippi wins six of its last seven and then goes and wins the CUSA Tournament, I think it's in the discussion. It probably at that point is still bubble out in the hosting race, but I think it forces its way into the discussion if it has 45 wins, a regular-season title and a conference tournament title. The RPI is a real issue, however, and there's not really anything Southern Miss can do about it but win as much as it can.
- What’s your rationale for a 12 spot jump for Georgia this week, other than they play in the SEC and to add more hype to their upcoming series with Florida this weekend?
Teddy Cahill: I can assure you adding hype to this weekend's series was not a consideration. The rationale is that Georgia is in second place in the best conference in the country and has a top-five RPI. I think the Bulldogs had been too low because we were slow to rank them and now we're correcting that. Given what they have coming up (at Florida, vs. Arkansas), Georgia will let us know on the field if it deserves to be that high.
- Is UConn close to hosting in your opinion. If not, What would they need to do from here on out to get into the top 16 seeds?
Teddy Cahill: UConn is No. 16 in RPI, so yes. But I think a lot of it is going to come down to where it is in the American standings, which makes the next few weekends critical. Taking advantage of getting Houston and East Carolina at home is a must for the Huskies. Or it may need to go down to Clearwater and win the tournament. It's there for the taking, but there's still work to be done, is I guess the tl;dr summation.
- with Iowa winning 2 of 3 vs. Oklahoma State, do you see them getting in the tournament?
Teddy Cahill: Yes. We had Iowa as the first team out in last week's Projected Field of 64. That won't be the case this week. The Hawkeyes still have to make hay these last two weekends, however. I'm talking about going 5-1 or 6-0. Because Iowa still needs to improve its Big Ten record and can't afford the RPI hit it would take from losing games to Northwestern and Penn State. But I feel good about Iowa's ability to get that done.
- What do the Beavs have to do this weekend against Stanford to make the Pac 12 a race down the stretch?
Teddy Cahill: Oregon State is two games back in the loss column - thanks tie games for making this math more difficult - with nine games to play. This is must win for the Beavers. I don't think it's must sweep, but if they don't sweep they will need help. I could see Stanford tripping up at Washington on the final weekend when the Huskies may be playing for their postseason lives. But the Beavers have a tricky finish of their own with UCLA coming to Corvallis. Sweeping this weekend put Oregon State in control of its own destiny, but that's going to be a tall order with the way the Cardinal is playing.
Greg (Orange, CA):
- Weekly heat check- did UCLA getting swept by U of A basically end their hosting chances? Or has it dropped more to the 50-50 range?
Teddy Cahill: They're not done, but UCLA's margin for error is largely gone. It's going to need to beat Oregon State that final weekend. If the Bruins have taken care of business leading up to that weekend and then beat the Beavers, they'll probably finish second in the Pac-12 and have a top-20 RPI. That probably gets it done. They're on the bubble for me right now. I'm really not sure where we'll land on them in this week's Projected Field of 64.
- Huge series win this wkend for the Horns. No one gave them much of a chance to take series, me included but they did what no one else in country has done and that’s win a series in Lubbock vs tech. Did this series win lock up a regional host for Texas or do they need to win in final series vs tcu and make noise in conference tourney? Would finishing second in big 12 regular season be enough? Unless ok st goes 3-3 in final 2 conf series and Texas sweeps tcu and wins big 12 I’m guessing they’ll finish second..thoughts? Thanks as always!
Teddy Cahill: That was a massive series win for Texas. Very impressive to go into Lubbock and win a series, especially bouncing back the way they did after losing last weekend at West Virginia. The series kept Texas in the host race. It did not lock up a host spot. The Longhorns definitely need to beat TCU. That might be enough to get it done. At that point Texas would have 35 wins, 15 Big 12 wins, finish in second in the Big 12 and a top-20 RPI. That's a pretty strong resume, regardless of what happens in Oklahoma City, where the competition Texas will be facing won't hurt its RPI any.
Nick (Los Angeles):
- If Stanford wins their series this weekend would that bump them to #1?
Teddy Cahill: We go through this every week and my answer never changes. Stanford will not be No. 1 next week unless Florida loses this weekend. Florida has not lost a series this season. It is running away with the best conference in the country and can clinch the conference title this weekend. It has the second most wins in the country. It ranks No. 1 in strength of schedule. The Gators are the best team in the country right now and it really isn't that close. This is no disrespect to Stanford, which is a clear-cut No. 2 right now. But it just doesn't have a comparable resume.
- What do you think the chances are of Minnesota hosting a regional? I know they're Top 15 in the RPI, but a lot of games coming up against lowly competition. Does a 5-1 stretch even cut it against them?
Teddy Cahill: Very good. Going 5-1 down the stretch in the Big Ten gets it done for the Gophers, particularly if that is good enough to win the conference title and it should be. If Minnesota wins the Big Ten and is in the top 20 in RPI, it hosts. I'm not sure if can maintain a top-16 RPI without winning the Big Ten and that would make this more uncertain. But right now, I think the Gophers control their own destiny and have a pretty advantageous finish, though both Michigan State and Rutgers are going to be fighting for the last spot in the B1G Tournament and won't be pushovers.
KFC (S Florida):
- Can Stetson host?
Teddy Cahill: Yes. Stetson is up to 11 in RPI. It has 37 wins and is winning a pretty solid conference to boot. Right now the Hatters look like hosts. The margin for error is pretty minimal, I think, and this weekend at Florida Gulf Coast will be tricky. But it's all there for Stetson.
Jodie (Knightdale, NC):
- What is the absolute minimum NC State has to do to be a top 16 seed at the end of the season?
Teddy Cahill: That's tough. Anything less than going 5-0 this week is courting trouble, I think. But if the Wolfpack win the series at Florida State, they should finish ahead of the Noles in the ACC standings and have a pretty solid RPI. And that might be enough if they split with JMU and went 2-1 against Wake. But that's pushing NC State closer to the hosting bubble than it would like. A perfect week would ease a lot of that pressure, I think.
Jason Jaso (Costa Mesa California):
- With the slow start to there season, Fullerton has been forgotten about, and rightfully so. However, it seems they have really turned it on as of late, and are dominating the big west for the most part. What are your thoughts on them coming down the home stretch?
Teddy Cahill: Fullerton is rolling toward another Big West title, just as we figured they would. The Titans have just taken a bit of a different path to first place than they usually do. I think they're playing good, solid baseball built around their pitching and defense, as has long been the formula at Fullerton. The Titans have found a lineup that works and they're getting good production from Mason Berryhill and Ruben Cardenas. At the end of the day, it's a pretty typical Fullerton team that I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see make a deep postseason run. You can read more about Fullerton in Off the Bat here: https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/off-the-bat-minnesota-sweeps-into-first-place-south-carolina-hits-stride/
- What will it take for NC State to secure a top 8 National Seed?
Teddy Cahill: Winning the ACC Tournament is probably the clearest path. Winning out may get it done too. The RPI is an issue and as it stands the Wolfpack won't win the division.
Vanderbilt Clinches SEC Title, Stanford Starts Strong
Vanderbilt clinched the SEC title and Stanford opened a pivotal series against Oregon State with a win.
- SIAP. Thanks for what you do for college baseball. Now, with South Carolina not being ranked what does it take for them to be ranked now? Also how far are they away from being a host consideration
Teddy Cahill: Thanks, Scott. We considered South Carolina this week. I think for me it was mostly an issue of the Gamecocks' overall record that kept them out this week - and yes I know it's essentially the same as UConn's. But the Huskies have played a grand total of nine home games this season. They get more of a pass on the overall record than the Gamecocks. South Carolina is close though. The last three weekends have been very loud. As for hosting, that's going to be a fun philosophical debate. The RPI is a real issue, but if the Gamecocks win these next two series, they're going to have 17 or 18 SEC wins, which usually means you host. I think, in the end, South Carolina will get squeezed out because of RPI. But it's a real credit to the team that it's even in a position where it can talk about this after starting the season 20-17 and 6-9 in the SEC.
Brian (Columbia, SC):
- What's your take on South Carolina down the stretch in terms of what they need to do, seeding if they can make the tournament, and what changed from the beginning of the season to the present?
Teddy Cahill: While we're on South Carolina - they're in a really good position to make the tournament. Win the midweeks, win this weekend against Missouri, don't get swept at A&M and they're comfortably in. As for what changed, I went much more in depth into that question today in Off the Bat than I can here. So I'd encourage you to check that out here: https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/off-the-bat-minnesota-sweeps-into-first-place-south-carolina-hits-stride/
Tyler (Loganville, GA):
- Good afternoon Teddy, My buddy (Jeremy - Locust Grove, GA) are headed up to the Triangle this weekend to see a pair of games (NC State-Wake) Friday and (Duke-UNC) Saturday. Do you think Duke can slow down the recent freight train that is the Tar Heel express? Which NC State should we expect (the top 5 most of season or the one that was swept by UNC)?
Teddy Cahill: It's going to be a good weekend of baseball in the Research Triangle. I'll be interested to see how Wake comes out of its finals break, but it wasn't good the last couple weekends. So I think NC State should be able to take care of business, though that's a very tricky Friday matchup with Griffin Roberts on the mound for the Deacs. As for the Duke vs. North Carolina showdown, it'll be interesting how both of those teams respond to their week off. The Tar Heels are such a complete team that it's hard to pick against them, but this Blue Devils team is tough and is going to be eager to knock off their rivals.
Scott (Raleigh NC):
- Can ECU get back into consideration for a Top 8 Seed? If so what do they need to do? Where does the AAC rank compared to the Big 12, SEC, ACC?
Teddy Cahill: I think ECU has to win the American or finish close to the top and then win the tournament to be a top eight seed. I don't think it's gone for the Pirates, but there's essentially no margin for error at this pint. The American currently is fourth in conference RPI, it's been as high as third this year. I think it stacks up pretty well with the ACC and Big 12 this year. The SEC is well ahead, but I think there's a fair amount of similarity between the Big 12 and the AAC. They're the same size, neither has a truly elite team, but both have about five really solid teams and some pretty good depth to the conference.
KD (Dallas, TX):
- You mentioned the huge UT series win...the opposite side of that is Tech has been trending down lately and likely not a Nat Seed contender now. Any chance they dont host at all?
Teddy Cahill: Yeah, if Texas Tech were to get swept in Stillwater and then quickly go out of the Big 12 Tournament - 0-2 or 1-2 - it doesn't host. That RPI number is so loud it can paper over a less than spectacular Big 12 finish, but it can't solve a conference record under .500. I think the Red Raiders are still in fine shape overall, but things have gotten dicier over the last couple weeks.
- What does Baylor have to do to lock up a spot in the tourney
Teddy Cahill: Sweep Prairie View, go .500 over the last two weekends and avoid going 0-2 in the Big 12 Tournament. It's probably going to be tight, ultimately, but the Bears are in a pretty solid spot right now.
- Is Tech ouf of the national seed conversation or would a sweep of OSU and a good showing in the Big 12 tourney keep them in consideration?
Teddy Cahill: Sure, if Texas Tech does that, it's right back in it. A sweep of Oklahoma State alone might do it, provided it doesn't go two-and-que in Oklahoma City. At that point, it's got 15 Big 12 wins and probably finishes second or third in the No. 2 RPI conference and has a top-five RPI. That won't be easy, but there's still a path for the Red Raiders to a top-eight seed.
- So what are your thoughts on UGA having a shot at Omaha? Could they realistically be a national seed? Would it take at least 4-2 over the last two weekends and a few wins in the SEC tourney?
Teddy Cahill: I think it definitely could happen. Georgia is really young and has no postseason experience on the roster, which makes me a little hesitant, but it's proven it can go out and beat really good teams. I could definitely see it happening. I thought about including the Bulldogs in my updated Field of 64 this week, but ultimately opted not to. But pretty much any SEC team this year has the talent to make a deep postseason run.
Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today. Thanks to everyone for the questions. Hard to believe we're three weeks out from Selection Monday. Remember to check out our latest Projected Field of 64 on Wednesday here at BaseballAmerica.com.