May 20, 2011


Bubble-watching was superb on Thursday

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider Co-Founder


Forget those season-ending cliff-hangers on TV. Thursday was a great night for bubble-watching.


Numerous teams precariously perched on said bubble were in action on Thursday, including one on national TV.


Georgia has a strong RPI, but needs wins to keep its head above the .500 mark. The Bulldogs responded with a 5-4 win on ESPNU over one of the leaders in the SEC, Vanderbilt. Georgia improved to 28-26 and still has work to do, but took an important step last night.


The SEC is like a soap opera, especially in the West. There is drama and intrigue around each corner. Auburn stubbed its toe at Tennessee, losing its third in a row and falling to 28-26. Like Georgia, the Tigers have a solid RPI. But they need to maintain a winning record. LSU won huge at Mississippi State as it fights to get a spot in the SEC tourney. Alabama won at home against South Carolina to rise to the top in the West. Ole Miss got an important win at Arkansas to help its RPI.


In the Atlantic Sun, both at-large candidates faltered on the road. ETSU lost at Mercer to fall to fifth in the conference standings. The Bucs need a higher finish to stay on the at-large board. Second-place Jacksonville lost at Kennesaw State and saw its RPI fall.


In the Southland, leader Texas State lost at UT Arlington, but is still in good shape for a bid. Southeastern Louisiana helped its cause with a victory at Northwestern State, but San Houston State suffered a damaging defeat at home to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.


Dallas Baptist got a huge win at home over Charlotte to rise a bit on the bid-ometer.


FIU beat Florida Atlantic to move into first in the Sun Belt. Troy was defeated at South Alabama to drop to second. The Trojans need a regular-season crown to offset a shaky RPI.


In the Northeast region, St. John’s lost at home to Villanova and Rhode Island fell at Dayton to damage at-large hopes.


UCF was shut out at home by Marshall and fell to sixth in Conference USA. That might offset a strong RPI in the committee’s eyes.


Baylor beat Oklahoma at home to boost not only its win total, but its RPI. Kent State beat Akron to win the MAC regular-season crown. Creighton beat Missouri State to maintain its hold on first in the MVC.


And maybe the best bubble-news was at USC, as Frank Cruz had ‘interim’ removed from his title and became fulltime head coach of the Trojans.


Friday should bring more drama, as UC Irvine in the Big West and everyone in the Pac-10 take the field to start weekend series. And tournaments continue in the MEAC and SWAC, and commence in the NEC.