2008, 10 a.m.
Field of dreamers
Phil Stanton and Sean Ryan
Selection Day has arrived, and with it, the usual
Power conference or mid-major; RPI or strength of schedule;
conference record or league tournament showing.
The result is a grab bag of worthy teams. What seemed so clear a
few weeks back is anything but for the committee that will
select the 64 participants in the NCAA college baseball
In that bag are the following teams, with our picks for who
makes it off the bubble and who stays home (full list below).
Oregon State – Let’s discuss the elephant in the room.
The two-time defending champion proved it again can play with
anyone, winning series against Georgia, Pepperdine, Arizona
State, Arizona and UCLA. But three banana-peel losses to USC and
a RPI of 59 are reason to worry. The strength of schedule is
great at 14. We expect the Beavers to make the list. But we’ll
also say, they could be one of the first teams left out.
St. John’s - The regular-season champs of the Big East
lost two in a row in the conference tourney. Never a good thing.
The RPI is 57, but the Red Storm didn’t lose a conference series
all year. We think St. John’s is in. If it isn’t, it might be a
result of no real marquee wins out of conference.
New Orleans - Forty-two wins and a RPI of 43 in the
ninth-best conference. It’s extremely close, but we put the
Privateers in, possibly taking a spot from Tulane by virtue of
winning two of three against the Green Wave.
Arkansas - Nine from the SEC? We waffle every year. This
year, we think Arkansas very easily could be left at home. We
wouldn’t have a problem with that. But we also wouldn’t have a
problem with the Hogs getting called. They were a game away from
making the SEC tourney field, which would have made their bubble
talk a moot point. 14-15 in the SEC might show better than poor
conference records in other big-time conferences (Clemson,
Oklahoma). And, the head of the selection committee is from the
College of Charleston - The toughest call on the board.
The RPI is 53, and the Cougars were second in the regular season
and in the Southern Conference tourney. On the plus side is a
win over Coastal and two over a good Texas-San Antonio. On the
negative, no other real big wins out of conference (0-4 against
Clemson and South Carolina). We give them the nod, but could
very easily see their spot being given to Baylor, Oklahoma,
Tulane or even Clemson.
Why not the following?
There’s really no good reason for including the five above and
not Baylor, Oklahoma,
Tulane, Clemson, Missouri State, Kansas State, Washington State,
UC Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, New Mexico or San Francisco.
The toughest calls are Baylor, Oklahoma and Tulane. We realize
we’ve included only five from the Big 12, which we don’t really
think will happen. Good luck to the committee choosing between
the Bears and Sooners. Oklahoma (41) a higher RPI than Baylor
(48) and took two of three from the Bears. But the Sooners’
conference record hurts.
And Tulane? The RPI is 49, and the Green Wave was third in the
We think anything could happen. Should the committee look at the
big conference teams (Oregon State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Arkansas),
it could be a long day for the smaller (College of Charleston,
Tulane, St. John’s).
It’s a grab bag. It’s anyone’s call.
Good luck to all.
America East (1) –
ACC (6) – Miami,
North Carolina, Florida State, NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia
Atlantic Sun (1) –
Atlantic 10 (1) –
Big East (2) –
Louisville, St. John’s
Big South (1) –
Big Ten (1) –
Big 12 (5) – Texas,
Texas A&M, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Missouri
Big West (4) – Long
Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, UC Davis
Colonial (2) – James
Madison, UNC Wilmington
Conference USA (4) –
Houston, Rice, Southern Miss, East Carolina
Horizon (1) –
Ivy (1) – Columbia
Metro Atlantic (1) –
Mid-American (1) –
MEAC (1) – Bethune-Cookman
Missouri Valley (1)
– Wichita State
Mountain West (1) –
Northeast (1) –
Mount St. Mary’s
Ohio Valley (1) –
Pac-10 (6) – Arizona
State, Arizona, California, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon State
Patriot (1) –
SEC (9) – LSU,
Georgia, Vanderbilt, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ole
Miss, Alabama, Arkansas
Southern (2) – Elon,
College of Charleston
Southland (1) – Sam
SWAC (1) – Texas
Summit (1) – Oral
Sun Belt (2) –
Western Kentucky, New Orleans
West Coast (2) – San
WAC (1) – Fresno
Independent (1) –
Last five in (in order): Arkansas, New Orleans, St. John’s,
College of Charleston, Oregon State
First 10 out (in order):
Oklahoma, Tulane, Clemson, Missouri
State, Kansas State, Washington State, UC Santa Barbara, Santa
Clara, San Francisco