Every Wednesday, our co-founder, Craig Amick, will give you a snapshot of who in the country is trending toward Omaha, who could surprise and who is quickly falling out of the race. This column has nothing to do with polls (you can find ours here) or standings, but instead takes a look at who, based on historical data and trends, would be the picks to have a place at T.D. Ameritrade Park when June rolls around.
So, Dartmouth is now 7-0. Maybe this is the year of the Mean Green? Then again, probably not.
North Carolina and Florida State each suffered a loss in their series last weekend, closing the book on the major conference undefeated teams. On the other hand, both are still in a small group of teams that has separated itself from the rest of the pack.
There isn’t any change in this week’s Omaha Eight. There was no reason to change anything. There are other teams knocking at the door, but right now this group of eight teams has become the favorites to get to Omaha.
This coming weekend, though, is full of series that will have an effect on this list.
Florida State hosts a red-hot Georgia Tech team. Oregon State and South Carolina take on teams that have been up and down in Arizona State and Arkansas. And Oregon, Kentucky and Mississippi State get opportunities to improve their position with series against ranked teams.
The conference slates are heating up, and this is the time of year we typically see two or three teams really set themselves apart. Which teams will do that this year?
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- North Carolina — They didn’t come out unscathed, but the Tar Heels won a big early season conference series against Miami.
- Vanderbilt — The reeling Gators come to town this weekend to face the red-hot Commodores. Series to watch?
- LSU — After a hard-fought series win over Mississippi State, the Tigers get a bit of a breather against Auburn this weekend. Opportunity for a let down?
- Oregon State — The Beavers went into Tucson and swept the defending champs last week. Now it’s time to host an angry Arizona State.
- South Carolina — The Gamecocks welcomed Missouri to the SEC with a series win, but they’ll have to hit the ball better this weekend to beat Arkansas.
- Florida State — After a mid-week win over rival Florida, the Seminoles dropped their first game Friday before coming back to win the weekend series over Maryland. It gets much tougher this week.
- Mississippi — The Rebels went into Fayetteville and got a big series win over Arkansas. Texas A&M comes to town this weekend.
- UCLA — It was a perfect week for the Bruins, but the competition heats up this week against a pretty good California team.
Sleepers (in alphabetical order):
- Dartmouth — Fullerton is too close to the top eight to be a sleeper, so why not include the only undefeated team in the country?
- Georgia Tech — The Yellow Jackets get their opportunity to move into the Omaha Eight this weekend when they travel to Tallahassee.
- Louisville — The Cardinals are on a winning streak, even if it isn’t against great competition. Sometimes all it takes is a good seed to make a run.
- Virginia — The series win over Clemson was a great start to the ACC schedule. NC State will be an even better measuring stick.
Falling (in alphabetical order):
- Arizona State — It wasn’t a good start to the Pac 12 Conference schedule for the Sun Devils, losing two-of-three to Washington State. They will need to improve quickly.
- Miami — The 2-4 ACC Conference start may tell us exactly whom the Hurricanes really are.
- Mississippi State — Two weekend series losses in a row doesn’t bode well for a team that had its sights on Omaha.
- Texas — Raise your hand if you had Texas Tech winning in Austin. If the bats don’t wake up, the Longhorns are in trouble.