2017 Midseason Field Of 64 ProjectionsProjections
D1Baseball.com Committee Podcasts
It’s hard to believe, we know, but we’ve officially hit the halfway mark of the 2017 college baseball season. With that in mind, the RPI figures around the country are starting to make much more sense and it’s a terrific time to look inside the crystal ball with our very latest Field of 64 projections.
The projections undoubtedly will take on a different look and shape in some ways as the season progresses, but some interesting trends are already seemingly set in stone. For instance, barring some crazy circumstances, this will not be a year in which the Big 12 Conference and West Coast teams are left scratching their heads. If you remember, the Big 12 got just three teams to the postseason last year – all three ended the season in Omaha. Meanwhile, no team on the left side of the country hosted a regional and Oregon State was snubbed from the field despite having a clear case to make it. This season? The Big 12 debuts with a whopping seven bids in our projections, while the West Coast has four host sites in Arizona, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and Oregon State.
Speaking of Oregon State, Pat Casey’s Beavers are on a revenge tour like no other. The Beavers didn’t lose a game in March and are amid a 20-game winning streak. OSU has the nation’s best RPI, a 25-1 overall record, a 3-0 mark vs. RPI Top 25 teams and a cool 8-0 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams. Also in the revenge category is North Carolina. The Tar Heels were snubbed from the postseason last year with a respectable resume and good RPI. UNC is leaving zero doubt this spring, sitting at 3 in the RPI with a 6-3 mark vs. RPI Top 25 and 12-5 record vs. RPI Top 50. The Heels also have played a tough non-conference schedule, which sits at No. 3 nationally.
In terms of national seeds, there’s good balance with the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Pac 12 each having two teams, while the ACC and SEC lead the hosting race with four sites each. Also, the Big 12 sits at three and the Big West and Pac 12 each have two. The most glaring omission from the hosting picture for now is Auburn. The Tigers are red-hot and one of the nation’s biggest surprises. However, the RPI doesn’t agree at this point as AU has an RPI of 33. AU will have its chances the second half of the season to get that RPI within hosting striking distance, if not more.
The bubble discussion with our committee (Kendall Rogers, Aaron Fitt and Mark Etheridge) was thorough with several teams on the list to consider. The SEC leads the way with 10 teams in the field, while the Big 12 and ACC each have seven and the Pac 12 is represented by six teams. Teams narrowly missing the cut this week include NC State, Nebraska, South Florida, Indiana and UL Lafayette. The Cajuns are the most interesting team of that group, as they clearly seem to be a good team that the RPI disagrees with. ULL has an RPI of 80 with just a 3-4 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams. That will need to improve a great deal the second half of the season to earn an at-large bid.
The D1Baseball.com staff will unveil weekly projections beginning in two weeks. It’s worth noting that these projections are a snapshot of where things currently stand, while also projecting how teams might also finish the regular season.