Top 100 Programs: 41-50
From time to time, it’s a good idea to step back from the day-to-day grind of college baseball and examine the bigger picture. The landscape of the sport has shifted in a huge way over the last decade, and many of the programs at the top of the college baseball world now were complete non-factors just 10 or 15 years ago.
So here is our attempt to rank the Top 100 College Baseball Programs of the current era. This exercise is not intended to predict how teams will fare in the 2016 season, so we won’t spend time evaluating the players currently in each program. Instead, we are assessing the overall health of the program, based on recent history, coaching staff quality, facilities, scholarship/financial aid situation, conference dynamics, and recruiting and player development proficiency.
For the purpose of this exercise, we don’t care what happened in the 1970s or 80s, or even the 90s — that’s ancient history to a potential recruit in 2015. Tradition is nice, but it’s more important to establish a tradition of consistent winning in the last decade, and especially in the last five years. Our ultimate goal here is to identify the programs in the best shape right now, with an eye toward the next five to 10 years.
It wasn’t too long ago the Huskers were the cream of the crop in their region. Well, coach Darin Erstad has done a solid job in his four seasons at the helm, but still is aiming for more consistency. The Huskers had a miraculous run from 1999-2008, but had a five-year postseason hiatus before going 40-19 with an NCAA tournament trip in 2014, Erstad’s third season. Nebraska underachieved last season, but the future remains bright with Erstad and his staff in control.
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