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Off The Top Of My Head: Week Four

Columns

What’s Included:

• Five Things I’m Looking Forward To
• Southern California College Classic Preview
• In Case You Missed It …
• Eight for Omaha


After last week’s adrenaline high, do we need to slam a case of RockStar to keep us awake for this weekend? Hmmm, maybe. We won’t have as many great one-on-one showdowns and six-team hoedowns, but there is still plenty of intrigue going into this second week of March.

Rankings-wise, the marquee matchups for this week include No. 11 Florida State going to No. 12 Duke, No. 16 Michigan at No. 24 Pepperdine and also the four-team showdown with No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 6 UCLA, No. 22 TCU and unranked USC playing a round-robin in Los Angeles. Beyond that, there are a lot of mid-major programs with golden opportunities to take on Power Five conference teams and make a statement.

I doubt there will be as much intrigue as last weekend with the Shriners Classic, the Cambria College Classic and the Keith LeClair Classic all going on at the same time, along with some pretty decent three-game sets dotted around the country. But there is still a lot to look forward to. Let’s get on to what we’ve got ahead of us, along with a few other nick-knacks for this weekend. You know, things that come to me off the top of my head.

FIVE THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO.
1- The DodgerTo… er, I mean, the SoCal Classic.
This is the usual hoedown with USC and UCLA hosting outside teams that usually gets played at Dodger Stadium in a Sunday doubleheader. But with the big stadium at Chavez Ravine getting a new playing surface, this year’s edition will be played at USC on Sunday. (Awwwwww crap) Prior to that, Vanderbilt and TCU will take turns playing the Trojans and Bruins. Great tests all around. Lots to prove here for these four.

2- ACC play kicks off.
With so many good teams inn this monster conference there are a number of good matchups that will take place, headlined by No. 11 Florida State playing its first road games of the season at No. 12 Duke. A pair of slightly wounded teams look for redemption as Virginia hosts No. 8 North Carolina State and Wake Forest hosts No. 3 Louisville. It will be interesting to see if these formerly-ranked teams can make early statements in conference play and jump back into the top 25.

3- A ranked showdown overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Pepperdine has been one of the surprise mid-majors in the early season so far and at 10-2 are ranked at No. 24 in the country. Defending national-runner up Michigan (7-5 and at No. 16 in the rankings) pays a visit to Malibu for a three game set, continuing what has been a brutal early season schedule.

Ahhhhh, smell the ocean air. My favorite place to watch a game. Pepperdine’s Eddy D. Field Stadium.

4- A few Big 12ers near the rankings.
Texas (10-3), Oklahoma State (8-5) and Baylor (8-4) face some good tests this weekend and with a series win could find themselves vaulted into the Top 25. Hell, they might deserve to be in the rankings already, especially the Bears who went unbeaten in the Shriners Classic, beating Missouri, LSU and Arkansas to bugle their arrival. The Longhorns played three nip-and-tuck games but went 1-2 in Minute Maid park last week and will host Cal State Fullerton and the Cowboys will host BYU (7-7), who has had an up-and-down season already. Also gotta love that San Diego State-Oklahoma matchup in Norman, with as hot as the Sooners have been and all.

 

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