National College Baseball Update, Tigers Take Series in Game 3
Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC Tags:
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ACC the center of national college baseball scene...for now. I have to be honest, it is definitely more difficult to make a fair assessment of college baseball teams, compared to college football teams, as we simply do not get to see them in action as much. So therefore, with the long season that it is (around sixty games, then tournaments), I trust that the good teams and the bad teams will sort themselves out by season's end. This is a parallel of sorts to what happens in many sports; play enough games, and the best teams will eventually stand out. So now that the NCAA major college baseball teams have played around ten of those sixty-something games, let's take a look at who is starting to pull away, and who is not.
The top-25, at least in this weekend, centered around the ACC. With five top-25 teams in action, using this conference as a starting point is a good way to get a sense of the national picture, as well. Let it be known that Virginia, #1 in last week's poll, was not in a major series this past weekend (went 3-0, beat Dartmouth twice and Wright State). LSU - the owner of six of the last nine-teen national championships, and defending champs - went 4-0 since Thursday over Pepperdine and Brown. They are 11-0 and ranked #2 in the polls. Please note also that the new rankings will be out sometime today, and I will post it when it comes out later.
The ACC and SEC played three 3-game series over the weekend, with the ACC winning two of those. In Tallahassee, #6 Florida State swept #25 Georgia by a combined score of 38-8 to show they are worthy of their top-10 ranking. Also, #12 Clemson beat #15 South Carolina, 14-3, in the rubber game of that series for the series win. Over 22,000 fans took in the three games in the Palmetto State that included a neutral site matchup here at Greenville's Flour Field, Saturday.
But the ACC lost a series against #5 Florida, as #16 Miami slipped to their in-state foe from the SEC, two games to one in Coral Gables. The third and rubber game was a close 4-2 Gator win.
But it wasn't just the SEC dueling it out with the ACC, the Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten drove southward to play #20 North Carolina. In that series, the league got another sweep as the Tar Heels beat the Wolverines in all three games. UNC has been one win away from the national championship in two of the past three years.
Also, #4 Georgia Tech went at it with the Big East's Rutgers, where the Yellow Jackets blasted the Knights in yet another three-game sweep, 33-9, combined over the three games.
So, as you can tell, the ACC is firmly planted in the top-25, and this may finally be the year that the conference shakes its bad fortunes and brings home the national championship on the diamond. It appears at this point that six teams - half the league - could be serious threats in the NCAA tournament. It is early, but four ACC teams - UVA, FSU, GT and Clemson - will be in the top-10 of the week three poll.
But the SEC - just like in seemingly every sport - is right there, too. LSU is still my favorite to win it all, and Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina all have strong teams that will be in the top-25 throughout the 2010 season.
In other top-25 action over the weekend, the Pac-10 had three big series as #19 UCLA hosted Nebraska, #17 Arkansas visited Cal, and #24 Stanford hosted UC Santa Barbara.
Arkansas won that road series out West by taking the first two games from Cal, before being shutout in game three when trying for the sweep. UCLA did a number on Nebraska, winning 23-8 combined over that three game series for the sweep. And Stanford won two out of three over UCSB.
Why so early?
I have never understood why the college baseball season had to start so early. Yes, I know with other summer leagues lined up, classes, other sports, and this that and the other a wide variety of things come into play making the college baseball season start in February. But despite these games being miserably cold even here in the deep South, it puts the northern schools at a huge disadvantage. They have nowhere to practice until the fields thaw, and must travel on road shows throughout other parts of the country in the first part of the season.
Look at Nebraska, Rutgers and Michigan this past weekend. All three traveled to warmer places (Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chapel Hill, respectively), and all three got their brains beat in by teams that play year 'round. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, as Clemson is perennially one of the nation's better teams, and I know the weather helps us in recruiting. But I do feel it is unfair to the teams from colder areas, and I feel the season should start about three weeks later than it does.
The College World Series would be played right around the 4th of July under my new plan - I'm sure that wouldn't add to the Americana they already immerse that venue in! Like a college football playoff, it just makes sense...
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