OMAHA — Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan and the Florida Gators are still searching for the program’s first national title, but they’ll be favored to finally hoist the trophy in 2016, as the Gators are the nation’s top-ranked team in the D1Baseball.com Preseason Top 25 rankings.
The Gators are coming off yet another successful campaign. In addition to going 52-18 overall in 2015, they reached the College World Series semifinals, where they dropped a tough contest to eventual national champion Virginia. UF welcomes back a plethora of key cogs from last year’s club, including premium pitchers Logan Shore and A.J. Puk, hard-hitting JJ Schwarz and electric outfielder Buddy Reed, among others.
While the Gators lead the charge out of the Southeastern Conference, the league is well represented in the Top 25, as usual. The SEC leads all conferences with seven teams ranked, including fellow SEC Eastern Division foe Vanderbilt at No. 3., Texas A&M at No. 4, LSU at No. 7, Mississippi State at No. 15, South Carolina at No. 17 and Arkansas coming in at No. 25.
Defending national champion Virginia has some significant holes to fill and comes in at No. 13 in the preseason rankings. The Cavs are one of six ACC teams in the mix, led by No. 2 Louisville, No. 6 Miami and No. 10 N.C. State.
The Pac-12 places five teams in the rankings: No. 5 Oregon State, No. 9 California, No. 11 UCLA, No. 12 USC and No. 14 Oregon. Louisiana-Lafayette (18) and Coastal Carolina (24) headline teams from conferences deemed as mid-major. The Big 12 also is well represented in the rankings with three teams, including No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 19 TCU and No. 23 Texas.
The D1Baseball.com Top 25 Rankings are released each week of the regular season and formulated by national writers Aaron Fitt and Kendall Rogers.MORE: Check out our team-by-team podcasts
|Rank||Team||2015 Record||2015 Final Rank||Conference|
|8||Oklahoma State||38-20||17||Big 12|
|21||Cal State Fullerton||39-25||7||Big West|
|24||Coastal Carolina||39-21||NR||Big South|