Every Monday, 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.
Week one didn’t provide us with a lot of surprises, but there were certainly some teams that established themselves as favorites. South Carolina’s sweep, Florida’s tough series win and domination by the likes of Texas A&M, Arkansas & Rice were the headlines.
A few teams that were potential sleepers were, well, asleep during week one. A few other sleepers emerged and could turn into postseason contenders as the year goes on.
Next weekend, we find out a lot about a couple of the current the Big 12 teams and one future conference colleague on this list as Texas travels to Stanford, TCU heads out to Fullerton and Baylor visits UCLA.
Now, without further interruption, here’s the Week One Omaha Eight!
- South Carolina—The Gamecocks swept this weekend, but the offense struggled in the first two games. Is there reason to be concerned?
- Stanford—The Cardinal put out the most impressive performance of the weekend against Vanderbilt. The offense is scary, and if the pitching stays healthy, they won’t only make it to Omaha, they’ll be the favorites.
- Florida—Two-of-three from Fullerton wasn’t a disappointing weekend, but in order to stay at the top, you have to be dominant. Don’t see the Gators slipping any further, and more than likely, they’ll be at the top soon.
- Texas A&M—If the Aggie offense is as good as it looked this weekend, there’s no competition for them in the Big 12. On the mound, there might not be a better staff.
- Rice—The Owls dominated a pretty decent Florida International squad. Last year’s Cinderella is up next when Dallas Baptist comes to town.
- Arkansas—It wasn’t the best competition, but the Razorbacks were more dominant than anyone this weekend in their sweep of Villanova. Arkansas is certainly a team to fear.
- Florida State—It wasn’t always pretty, but the Seminoles pulled off the sweep against Hofstra. 0-3 Florida International comes to Tallahassee next weekend.
- North Carolina—A 2-1 record against Xavier isn’t exactly shiny, and the Tar Heel pitching staff gave up a lot of runs. Maybe the Heels aren’t as good as expected?
Sleepers (in alphabetical order):
- California—Cal was dominant in the sweep of Pacific and it might not be easy to call them sleepers for much longer.
- Maryland—Head Coach Eric Bakich was excited about his team, but I’m not sure even Bakich would have predicted a series win at UCLA.
- Baylor—Sweeping Oral Roberts put the Bears onto the list for this week. Baylor is replacing some key arms, but the Bears didn’t seem to skip a beat on the mound this weekend.
- Purdue—Could this be the year the Big 10 breaks through? It’s been a while since the Big 10 was represented in Omaha, but the Boilermakers look like a team that could make a run.
Falling (in alphabetical order):
- UCLA—The Bruins look like they have the same issue as last year. If the offense doesn’t make some strides, it will be another disappointing year at UCLA.
- Oklahoma—The Sooners showed their inexperience this weekend, dropping two-of-three to Pepperdine. The pitching has a long way to go and if the veterans don’t step up offensively, it could be a long year in Norman.
- Vanderbilt—The Commodores are replacing a plethora of arms and it doesn’t look like they’re ready to compete at the high level they’re used to at this point.
- St. John’s—It was a tough weekend for the Red Storm at the Big 10/Big East Challenge. St. John’s dropped two-of-three to Big 10 teams, which potentially signals that they were a bit over-hyped going in to the season.