Teddy Cahill: Welcome to the Top 25 chat. Running a little behind here, but we’ll get going with your questions now.
Bill (Atlanta): I'm a little surprised that sweeping a hot Coastal team didn't get the Yellow Jackets ranked. I was reading "National Seed" posts about the Chants before Friday.
Teddy Cahill: We talked at some length about both those teams before deciding not to rank either. The thing about Coastal being a national seed in last week’s projections was that was based more on a belief that the committee would not want to have four SEC or ACC national seeds, not that Coastal was clearly one of the eight best teams in the country. We like Georgia Tech’s resume, but we didn’t feel as good about it overall as the other teams we brought into the rankings this week. The good news for the Yellow Jackets is that with Miami coming to Atlanta this weekend, they have another marquee series to prove how good they are.
Josh (Mobile, Alabama): Not as of right now, but from the scheduling and the way you see the last few weeks in the season. Who do you prefix as national seeds. I know your eight for Omaha. I wanna know your eight for national seeds from what you expect to happen in the last few weeks of regular season.
Teddy Cahill: I will preface this by saying I am not Baseball America’s resident bracketology expert, that is Jim Shonerd and you can see his latest projection of the field on Wednesday. But for the eight national seeds, I’ll take: Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UC Santa Barbara and Virginia. I don’t know how good I feel about that. UCSB is up to nine in RPI and hosts Fullerton, which is still in first place in the Big West. If the Gauchos win that series and take care of business to win the Big West, I think they get rewarded. And I’ll take streaking Virginia to close strong and snatch the ACC’s third national seed. That’s probably aggressive, as Louisville and NC State have great cases as well. But they have tougher remaining slates than Virginia and could fall behind the Cavs in the conference standings.
Matthew (Charlotte): Hell of a series between South Carolina and Florida cut short. It was close to having the feel of their showdown in the CWS Finals in 2011. What is one strength and weakness for both teams that could push/prevent them getting to the CWS?
Teddy Cahill: It was a fantastic series that I was thrilled I was able to be at. Outstanding games in a great atmosphere. Pretty much everything you want in a college baseball weekend, up until the storm on Sunday. The strength for Florida is obvious, it’s their pitching depth. If the Gators got in a marathon game, they’ve got the arms to win it and still be fresh the next day. Their weakness, such as it is, is on the offensive side. They have talent there, but South Carolina (as a few other teams have) showed that they can be kept off the board. Florida probably wasn’t as patient at the plate as it should have been on Saturday and it cost them against Braden Webb. As for South Carolina, the strength is in the starting staff. Clarke Schmidt, Braden Webb and Adam Hill all pitched very well this weekend. But I think the bullpen is a bit of a soft spot. Josh Reagan and Tyler Johnson have been very good at the back end, but the Gamecocks still need someone to step up to help bridge the gap between the starters and those two guys.
Tom (Austin, Texas): Assuming either the SEC or ACC get 4 national seeds, who goes on the road in super regional round: team #4 in the ACC or team #4 in the SEC? Or do both of them have to travel?
Teddy Cahill: So if I’m reading this right, the crux of this question really is which league is most likely to get four national seeds. I’ll say the SEC because it is the No. 1 RPI league. But, as I said earlier, I think there is a realistic path to both the SEC and ACC getting *only* three national seeds.
Dylan Johnson (Starkville, MS): With the way the season has been going for Mississippi State, not saying they will because you can't predict baseball. But there's a good chance they finish 18-12 or better winning nine out of ten SEC series. My question is, there's only a decent chance they still finish behind A&M in the west. Would they still gifted a national seed if they finish behind A&M and their only slip up was against the Aggies. I ask this because Florida and South Carolina are pretty much sure ins as national seeds with A&M almost there. Depends on how they finish they final 3 weeks of tough series's. I just find it hard to believe 4 SEC schools would be gifted national seeds. I think Mississippi state would deserve one if they finish winning 9/10. Just asking for your opinion on this situation. Appreciate it, and thanks for all you do for college baseball!
Teddy Cahill: This will be very interesting. I think Mississippi State is the potential fourth SEC national seed right now and the Bulldogs have the easiest closing schedule of any SEC contender. So winning nine series is not out of the question. I’m not sure. There are a lot of moving parts here and we obviously can’t really know what the committee is thinking. All the Bulldogs can do is keep winning and make the decision as hard as possible.
Dion (Los Angeles, CA): What do you make of the Big West at this point? Seems UCSB, Fullerton, Long Beach, Cal Poly and UCI could all make a case for the post season.
Teddy Cahill: It was a wild weekend in the Big West, as Long Beach halted Cal Poly’s momentum with a sweep, leaving the standings all bunched up again. UCSB should be fine for the tournament, as long as it takes care of business. And if you made me pick right now, I’d probably take the Gauchos to win the league. Long Beach and Fullerton are both in decent position right now. Everyone else probably needs to win the league. Irvine’s RPI is on the wrong side of 100 and Cal Poly dipped to 86 after this weekend, which was really it’s last chance to make a statement. But it’s definitely going to be a good race right down to the wire.
Jordan (Hattiesburg): Could Southern Miss still host a regional after a weekend lose to FAU? Or what would they need to do to get to host? Also who do you see winning the CUSA tournament?
Teddy Cahill: I think the Conference USA champion is still in position to host, whether that’s Rice or Southern Miss or Florida Atlantic (though Rice’s RPI dipped to 30 this weekend and FAU is 29). The series loss this weekend probably cost Southern Miss a chance to establish itself as a potential national seed this weekend, however.
Mick (Chicago): It was supposed to be a weak middle infield class this year. Have there been any surprises where that's concerned and how is next year's crop emerging?
Teddy Cahill: It remains a week middle infield crop. Florida Atlantic shortstop C.J. Chatham has been trending up, and Connor Justus at Georgia Tech has emerged a bit. But right now I don’t think there’s a first-round college middle infielder this year – unless you count Nick Senzel who is playing shortstop for Tennessee right now.
Earl Lightell (new orleans): The sky is falling in baton rouge!! What does Lsu need to do to right the ship? Poche and John V sundays starter been struggling. Start lang on friday's?Are we in danger of not hosting a regional? Thx u
Teddy Cahill: The sky is always falling in Baton Rouge, non? What a strange athletic year for LSU between Les Miles, Ben Simmons and the current level of panic surrounding the baseball team. There is a very real chance that LSU doesn’t host this year. There’s still enough time left in the season to change that, but the Tigers are probably sixth in the pecking order right now and getting six hosts from one league is pretty tough. But the Tigers are still a really talented team that has the chance to make a lot of noise the rest of this season.
Teddy Cahill: Thanks to everyone for your questions. It’s a great time of year as we head down the stretch in the regular season. If I didn’t get to your question, leave it in the comments and I’ll answer it there.