Chasing Omaha
Following College Baseball all the way to Omaha

Omaha Eight

March 14, 2012

The Omaha Eight – Week Four

Omaha 8

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.

The true contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pack, while we’re figuring out who could challenge them week by week.

Florida, South Carolina, Stanford and North Carolina have given themselves a bit of separation at this point, while Florida State and Arkansas are close behind. After that, it gets murkier, and the last couple of spots are really wide open at this point.

On the other end, Maryland caught a dose of reality over the weekend. The Terrapins will have to show some character and recover from the sweep to get back into any rankings in the near future.

Will Kentucky continue to roll when faced with stiff competition next weekend? Can UCLA stay hot even against conference-foe Arizona State? There are a ton of story lines this week, and it should be another fun weekend of college baseball.

Agree? Disagree? Love the column? Think we’re nuts? Send a tweet to @craigamick_co or let us know what you think in the forums!

The Favorites:

  1. Florida—The Gators haven’t lost since the first series of the season. No reason to think they’ll stop winning this weekend.
  2. South Carolina—4-0 last week, but an intriguing series looms in Lexington. We’ll see just how good Kentucky is this weekend.
  3. Stanford—Winning two-of-three against Rice was huge. Southern California comes to town this weekend to open Pac 12 play.
  4. North Carolina—The sweep of Clemson solidified the Tar Heels’ position as a favorite. A trip to Maryland shouldn’t slow them down.
  5. Florida State—The Seminoles took care of business against Duke over the weekend but took a tough loss Tuesday in Gainesville.
  6. Arkansas—The Razorbacks swept Binghamton and now look forward to SEC play and the opener against Alabama.
  7. Cal State Fullerton—The Titans have established their place in the race with a series win over Texas A&M. Long Beach awaits them this weekend.
  8. Texas A&M—A&M lost two-of-three to Fullerton and limps into the Big 12 Conference schedule, opening against Kansas State.

Sleepers (in alphabetical order):

  1. Kentucky—Is there a hotter team in the country than the Wildcats? There isn’t another undefeated team, that’s for sure.
  2. Mississippi—Speaking of hot, the Rebels are adding depth to the pool of SEC contenders. Auburn will be a good test this weekend.
  3. Purdue—The Boilermakers continue to roll and should be expected to walk through the Big 10 schedule. Wichita State provides an interesting matchup this weekend.
  4. UCLA—The Bruins are back, sweeping Georgia this weekend and winning 10 straight. The Arizona State series will tell us a lot about both teams.

Falling (in alphabetical order):

  1. Clemson—The Tigers certainly have had some hard luck lately, losing quite a few one-run games. That said, they don’t look like a College World Series team right now.
  2. Georgia—The Bulldogs took two steps back getting swept by UCLA over the weekend. With SEC competition looming, it will be interesting to see how they recover.
  3. Maryland—Was last weekend midnight for Cinderella? Wake Forest took it to the upstart Terrapins, and Maryland didn’t look like a contender for much of anything over the weekend.
  4. Oregon—The Ducks expected more than a 2-2 weekend in the Nike Showcase. They have some work to do if they’re going to make a run.

About the Author

Craig Amick
Co-Founder / Media Director / Big 12 Writer, Read Full Bio »

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  1. waltgreenberg

    Craig, with all due respect, how in the world can you have Texas A&M anywhere near your Top 8? You do realize they have yet to play a game on the road (or even a neutral site), and lost 2 of 3 games to the only team they’ve played who have a pulse (and they lost one to mighty Holy Cross, and struggled mightily to win several other games against weak opponents). They deserve to be ranked ahead of Rice? Yeah, right.

    • They were close to dropping out of the eight this week, and it was between A&M and Rice for the #8 spot. Had I taken yesterday’s games into account (not all were finished when I wrote the article, so I didn’t) then I may have gone the other way. Bottom line is I feel like A&M is built more for a tournament run, but it’s not easy to do any sort of rankings this year because beyond the top 4 or 5 teams, there are a LOT of mediocre baseball teams out there.

      • waltgreenberg

        Craig, how exactly is A&M more built for a tourney run? They certainly have a great duo atop their weekend rotation, but their pitching depth falls off very quickly after that. Not true with the Owls who can march out 8+ guys with “plus” stuff and proven experience (Reckling, Benak, Stephens, Kubitza, Simms, Duffey, Wall, Chargois), and that doesn’t even include true Freshman Zech Lemond (who has done nothing but impress so far and gets the start tonight against Arizona) and Chase McDowell (who is well ahead of schedule in his return from TJS, and could be ready to rejoin the weekend rotation spot he held last year by mid-April, if Kubitza and others should falther). Quite honestly, Craig, there is no comparison between Rice and the Aggies with regards to pitching; Rice blows A&M away.

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