February 19, 2020: College Baseball Power Rankings

Although pitchers and catchers may just be reporting for MLB, college baseball jumped right into the regular season this past weekend, and already there was some shakeup in expectations, with a few surprising results. Among these were Ole Miss and their series victory over Louisville, Vanderbilt’s 1-2 weekend. Here are our power rankings, based off of three ballots, which take into account both preseason expectations and rankings, as well as results from the opening weekend. 

Honorable Mention

  • UCLA
  • Ole Miss
  • Michigan

#10 – Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • The Bulldogs got a great start out of the gate with a series sweep of Wright State, with their pitching staff accumulating an ERA of under 3 over three games. The preseason #10, the Bulldogs didn’t exactly make a statement in beating an inferior opponent, but it was good, clean start to the season. 

#9 – LSU Tigers

  • LSU, a month removed from their football national championship, started their season with two dominating victores versus Indiana before a slip-up in the finale. Ranked #11 in the preseason, two of our ballots put the Tigers in the top-10, good for them to snag the #9 slot in this initial edition of the power rankings. 

#8 – Auburn Tigers 

  • Auburn had absolutely zero difficulty with Illinois-Chicago this past weekend, winning all four games at home. After a 5-3 victory in the opener, the Tigers took the final three games by a combined margin of 39-4. Much like Mississippi State, the series sweep over a low-caliber opponent does not justify much of a leap, so Auburn slots in at #8, where they were in the preseason rankings. 

#7 – Louisville Cardinals

  • Possibly the biggest disappointment out of any ranked team, Louisville won their opener with ease, 7-2, but gave up 15 runs over the next two games, as they dropped the series to the Ole Miss Rebels, starting their season off on the wrong note. The preseason #1, Louisville plummets to #7 in our initial power rankings. 

#6 – Arkansas Razorbacks 

  • The Razorbacks had a cupcake of an opening weekend, and they glided through their first three contests with very little difficulty, outscoring Eastern Illinois 27-5 en route to three victories. The preseason #7, Arkansas hops up to #6 thanks to Louisville’s slide. 

#5 – Texas Tech Red Raiders

  • It didn’t take Texas Tech long to get their bats warmed up, as they poured on 65 runs in four games versus two different opponents to crush their opening contests. Their pitching also only gave up 11 runs in their victories, allowing them to run away with each game by a decisive margin. They also jump up one spot from their preseason ranking of #6. 

#4 – Vanderbilt Commodores – 1 First Place Vote

  • Our ballots showed a little more mercy to Vanderbilt, who slides just two spots from their preseason perch at #2, despite a 1-2 weekend. The Commodores even nabbed a first place vote, after dropping a tight game to defending national runners up Michigan and a one-run defeat to Cal Poly, sandwiched around a dominating victory over UConn. The defending national champs have some easy games as they look to rebuild confidence after a tough first weekend. 

#3 – Georgia Bulldogs

  • The SEC doesn’t just run the football world, as they have several teams up near the top of the rankings in our baseball power rankings as well. #5 in the preseason, the Bulldogs jumped to #3 after a clean series sweep of Richmond. It certainly wasn’t a stiff challenge for Georgia, but their clean performance and the struggles of Louisville and Vanderbilit lifts the Bulldogs two spots. 

#2 – Florida Gators

  • Hosting Marshall, the Gators allowed the visitors no closer than seven runs in any game, scoring 34 times in three contests to throttle the Thundering Herd in a series sweep. They also jump two spots from their preseason spot at #4, and they figure to be a title contender in 2020. 

#1 – Miami Hurricanes – 2 First Place Votes

  • Sitting at #3 entering the year, the Hurricanes were the most direct benefactor of Louisville and Vanderbilt’s lackluster efforts in the first weekend, as they rocket up to the #1 spot in our initial power rankings. They handled Rutgers with ease in their opening series, and they’ll be looking ahead to a showdown with Florida next weekend.

Saturday’s ACC Recaps and Takeaways

The ACC was busy on Saturday, but there were a few yawners before a Notre Dame-Florida State thriller ended the day. Recaps and takeaways are here, as well as the one Sunday game still to be played in the conference.

Louisville 80 Clemson 62

The Game: Darius Perry scored 19 points, Samuell Williamson chipped in 14 points off the bench, and Louisville went on a 17-0 run in the first half to put away the Tigers with ease, the game never coming closer than 13 points in the second half. 

The Takeaway: Clemson is not a legitimate ACC contender. The Tigers had their inspiring underdog week, when they snapped a 59-game road losing streak to UNC and beat Duke at home, but they’ve lost two of three since then, and I don’t see the Tigers making any serious run in the ACC Tournament. 

UNC 94 Miami 71

The Game: Brandon Robinson balled out with 29 points for the Tar Heels, Armando Bacot had a double-double as UNC put up 51 points in the second half and rolled versus Miami to break  a 6-game skid. 

The Takeaway: Miami is the worst team in the ACC. They’ve lost 6 of 7 games with five of those losses by 16 or more points and three by 20+. They entered the day in a tie for last in the ACC with UNC, and they were run off the court by the Tar Heels, clearly highlighting their struggles to be competitive this year. 

Syracuse 69 Pittsburgh 61

The Game: Buddy Boeheim put up 21 points, Marek Dolezaj notched 17 points, and the Orange stayed hot, putting away the Panthers at home for their fifth straight ACC win. 

The Takeaway: Syracuse’s ability to win in different ways could be huge in March. The Orange beat Notre Dame in a shootout 84-82, but they relied on their defense to win on Saturday. During their current winning streak, four of their five wins have been 8 or less points – come March, their ability to win ugly close games could be clutch. 

Boston College 61 Virginia Tech 56

The Game: BC got 23 points from Jairus Hamilton and outscored the Hokies 35-25 in the second half to overcome a halftime deficit and win at home. 

The Takeaway: We have no idea what to expect out of BC. The Eagles beat Wake Forest and Notre Dame to start ACC play, but they lost four of their next five conference games, losing by 39, 18, 19, and 26 points. They lost to Pitt earlier in this week, but won today as an underdog – in conclusion? BC might be the worst or best team on your schedule depending on what version of the Eagles shows up.

Florida State 85 Notre Dame 84

The Recap: Highlighted by Wyatt Wilke’s 19 points 5 for 6 shooting performance from long range off the bench, Florida State shot 12/18 from deep as a team and held off a furious comeback by Notre Dame, who missed four shots in the final 15 seconds. 

The Takeaway: Notre Dame is the best in the country at almost making huge comebacks. As the final Irish shot fell short of its mark, John Mooney grabbed the ball and hucked it at the base of the hoop in frustration. The Irish fell to 2-5 in one possession game and have lost four games in ACC play by a total of 7 points. In all four games, the Irish came back from a double-digit deficit only to lose it in the final seconds.