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.
Both legitimate undefeated teams that remain reside in the ACC. North Carolina and Florida State still have no losses. Which will be the final unbeaten?
All bets are on Florida State. The Seminoles have Maryland this weekend, while the Tar Heels have to battle a Miami team that will be angry after a surprising series loss to Duke.
Mississippi State was the final unbeaten team in the SEC until Central Arkansas shocked the Bulldogs with a series loss last weekend. Now-rival Ole Miss leads the way in the SEC, record-wise.
On the other hand, if you use the eye test, Vanderbilt and LSU look strong, and, of course, South Carolina is hanging in there like it seems to every year. In other words, the SEC race will be an interesting one again this year.
There wasn’t a ton of movement in the Omaha Eight this week. The Mississippi schools traded places, and Florida State replaced Oregon, who lost its second weekend series in a row.
Looking ahead, there will be some tests this weekend for the favorites. North Carolina hosts Miami in what should be a great series in Chapel Hill.
LSU gets its first real test, travelling to Starkville to open SEC play against Mississippi State.
We’ll find out where Ole Miss stands after a tough SEC opener against Arkansas. If the Rebels can pull that one off, they’ll solidify a spot in the favorite category.
Finally, Oregon State will get to see how it bounces back from adversity for the first time this year as the Beavers travel to Tucson to face the defending national champions.
Conference play is in full force this week, and the postseason picture begins to take shape in the next few weeks.
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- North Carolina — The Tar Heels remain a dominant undefeated team. No question at this point who looks like the best team in the country.
- Vanderbilt — Winning two-of-three in Eugene solidifies the Commodores as the early favorite in the SEC.
- LSU — The Tigers are right behind Vanderbilt after another easy weekend, but the first real test is this weekend in Starkville.
- Oregon State — The Beavers picked up their first loss of the season Tuesday night against San Francisco. Defending national champ Arizona awaits to open Pac 12 play.
- South Carolina — The Gamecocks are red hot heading into SEC play. Missouri shouldn’t pose much of a problem in the conference opener.
- Florida State — The Seminoles remain as one of only a few undefeated teams at this point and easily could stay that way going into the Georgia Tech series in two weeks.
- Mississippi — We will find out this weekend if the Rebels are for real when they travel to Fayetteville to face the Razorbacks to open SEC play.
- UCLA — The Bruins got good wins over Southern California and Notre Dame, but the shutout loss to Oklahoma could be cause for concern.
Sleepers (in alphabetical order):
- Cal State Fullerton — The Titans won the weekend series against Texas A&M as they continued to roll through decent competition.
- Georgia Tech — The ACC is deep, and the schedule has been soft to this point, but we’ll find out where the Yellow Jackets stand in two weeks against the Seminoles.
- Louisville — The sweep of Alabama was impressive. The schedule isn’t strong, so the Cardinals could be looking at a good seed come tournament time.
- Virginia — The bulk of the schedule starts this weekend in Clemson. We’ll know soon if the Cavaliers are really contenders.
Falling (in alphabetical order):
- Miami — Were the Hurricanes looking forward to North Carolina this weekend, or is the series loss to Duke a sign of things to come?
- Mississippi State — Omaha contenders don’t typically lose weekend series to Central Arkansas.
- Oklahoma — The California trip exposed some weaknesses in the Sooners. If Dillon Overton continues to struggle, it could be a long year in Norman.
- Rice — Rice followed a bad weekend a week ago with a 2-2 showing this week. There’s not much left on the schedule, so it would be a surprise if the Owls didn’t start winning consistently.