Eight for Omaha – Week 1 College World Series Leaders

Jun 13, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; General view of logo before the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; General view of logo before the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

The College World Series is a long ways off, but it’s never to early to look at which teams are in the drivers seat to be among the final eight.

This entire column can be premised with a caveat: it’s way way way too early to be making definitive projections about a tournament that happens in June. That said, the conversation is interesting. It’s worth fleshing out who the true contenders look to be at the get go and which teams are on the rise.

As of the last rankings release on February 20, here’s how tow to top 10 shook out.

  1. TCU
  2. Florida
  3. Florida State
  4. South Carolina
  5. LSU
  6. NC State
  7. Vanderbilt
  8. Oregon State
  9. North Carolina
  10. Louisville

Eight for Omaha – Week 1 Edition

1. Texas Christian (No. 1, 4-0)

The Aggies know just how good TCU is in the postseason. There’s a reason they’re the top team in the country. TCU took care of business against Penn State this weekend, outscoring the Lions 27-7. The Frogs managed just two hits in the opener, but eight walks gave them more than enough of a presence on the bases to get the job done. This squad from Forth Worth has top line pitching and offense, giving them the catbird seat for the race to the College World Series.

2. Florida (No. 2, 3-1)

Despite the SEC earning seven host spots in the 2016 field, it was only the Gators that made it to Omaha. That same team boasts one of the best one-two-three punches on the mound in the country. Alex Faedo, Brady Singer, and Jackson Kowar combined to allow six earned runs in 15 and one third innings this weekend while striking out 23. And their offense led by third baseman Jonathan India is potent from one to nine.

3. North Carolina (No. 9, 4-0)

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As long as we’re talking about pitching, we should mention the Tar Heels. North Carolina swept a good Kentucky team that was picked to finish fourth in the strong SEC east. Led by J.B. Bukauskas, who struck out 111 batters last season, the Tar Heels pitching kept the Wildcat bats quiet until it was too late.

4. LSU (No. 5, 4-1)

The Tigers started their season with a bang. On Saturday, Jared Poche became the first LSU pitcher to throw an individual no hitter since 1979. They were dominant in all phases of the game against Army and Air Force over the weekend, outscoring their opponents 25-3.

5. Florida State (No. 3, 2-2)

The Seminoles did not start their season on the right foot. An offense with high expectations was held to one hit on Opening Night against VCU. They responded by smashing the Rams 12-3 and 11-3 to win the series. Nobody goes undefeated in baseball, but the better teams find ways to win their series.

6. NC State (No. 6, 2-1)

The Wolfpack nearly came through the losers brackets to beat Coastal Carolina in the 2016 Regionals. The year before they allowed a ridiculous late inning rally against TCU. They’ve come so close and have a veteran lineup. Experience matters if you’re going to make a run to Omaha and the Wolfpack have it.

7. Oregon State (No. 8, 5-0)

The West came dangerously close to not being a factor in the 2016 College World Series. It took a surprising run by the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos . This year the West figures to be more prominently represented and the Beavers are the best of the West.

8. Texas Tech (No. 11, 4-1)

Tech made it the College World Series in 2016 and they’ve picked back up where they started. The Red Raiders can swing the bats with the best and showed off their firepower in Starkville on Opening Weekend. Friday night starter Davis Martin will give them at best a punchers chance in any series.

Next: Texas A&M vs Pepperdine, How to Watch and More

Where are the Aggies?

Texas A&M isn’t in the national seed just yet, but it’s still early in the season and the Aggies are climbing the rankings. At this point in the game it’s all about winning series. Pepperdine is a step up from Bowling Green, but the real resume boosters will come when SEC play is here in March.

***Ranks and Stats from D1 Baseball, Individual team pages, and BaseballCube.com***