<
>

SEC, ACC dominate top half of first power rankings

Of the top 10 teams in the ESPN power rankings, three are from the SEC, led by Florida, which has looked nearly invincible through the first four weeks of the season. Top 15 ACC members North Carolina (No. 9 in the coaches poll), Louisville (No. 4), Miami (No. 6) and Florida State (No. 11) certainly give the top of the power rankings a decidedly southern flavor. But don't sleep on the western teams yet. Their usual array of tough schedules mean they are going to ripen a little bit later than the rest of the country.

1. Florida (17-1)

Trending:

Of note: The schedule has been a little light since a series win at Miami in Week 2. But SEC play begins this week with Missouri (13-5) coming to Gainesville, and the Gators have that target on their backs.


2. North Carolina (12-2)

Trending:

Of note: Nobody had a better first two weeks of the season than the Tar Heels. They won series at UCLA and vs. Oklahoma State. But the offense will need to hit better than .264 when ACC play kicks in.


3. Vanderbilt (15-1)

Trending:

Of note: Jeren Kendall is already pushing for national player of the year honors, hitting .419 with four home runs, 22 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Check for a shirt with an "S" on it under his jersey.


4. Louisville (13-2)

Trending:

Of note: The Cards are sixth in the nation in ERA and 13th in strikeouts per nine innings, which is a little surprising considering Friday ace Kyle Funkhouser is still in a funk, sporting an ERA of 4.18.


5. Oregon State (12-2)

Trending:

Of note: Usually known for lockdown pitching, the Beavers have become an offensive machine this season, hitting .335 and ranking seventh in the country in offense. No, Darwin Barney did not re-enroll.


6. Miami (13-3)

Trending:

Of note: The U holds the honor of being the only team in the country to actually have a win over Florida. Reliever Bryan Garcia is a dynamo, already sporting five saves and an ERA of 0.96.


7. Ole Miss (15-1)

Trending:

Of note: Coach Mike Bianco earned his 700th win against Grambling on Friday night in the 15-2 win at Swayze Field. The Rebels' pitching staff is holding opponents to a .227 batting average so far.


8. TCU (12-3)

Trending:

Of note: The Frogs have been pretty steady, but this past weekend against USC the arms staff gave up 30 runs on 42 hits with 14 walks in three games. Matt Purke rolls his eyes.


9. California (10-4)

Trending:

Of note: With the Bears, it's been all about starting pitching. Daulton Jefferies (4-0, 1.04, 33 K, 4 BB) and Ryan Mason (2-0, 2.13) have been lights out as front line guys.


10. Florida State (13-3)

Trending:

Of note: An impressive weekend sweep saw the Noles rout Georgia Tech by a combined 30-14. But as usual with the Seminoles, the jury is still out until we see how they do in true road games.


11. Texas A&M (15-1)

Trending:

Of note: The Aggies found ways to beat a tough Fresno State squad in three straight at Blue Bell Park. They'll start conference play at Auburn against a program that is desperate to make a splash.


12. Arizona (11-4)

Trending:

Of note: Typical of the Cats and cavernous Hi Corbett Field, Arizona has hit 11 triples and only four home runs so far this season. Jared Oliva and Cody Ramer are tied for the national lead with four triples.


13. College of Charleston (11-4)

Trending:

Of note: Look fast, because the Cougars are currently the No. 2 team in the RPI, according to Boyd's World. But the RPI projections at this time are as accurate as a distracted child. Still, the Cougs need to shore up the .961 defense.


14. UCLA (8-7)

Trending:

Of note: Oh never mind the rather pedestrian record, the Bruins have played the nation's toughest schedule and own wins over North Carolina, Cal Poly, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Texas.


15. Cal State Fullerton (9-6)

Trending:

Of note: As usual, the Titans are hitting-light (.232 team average) and pitching-heavy (a .1.97 team ERA and a .171 opponents batting average) but the schedule has been typically rigorous, of course.


16. LSU (12-3)

Trending:

Of note: Jake Fraley is hitting .400 so far, including a .471 week in wins over Louisiana Tech and Ball State. The strength of schedule is weak, so the jury is still out.


17. Florida Atlantic (13-2)

Trending:

Of note: Esteban Puerta is right up near the top of player of the year consideration with his .429 average and .643 slugging percentage. He paces a .313 offense that isn't afraid of a big stage.


18. Mississippi State (12-3-1)

Trending:

Of note: Though they have been shaky for the first three weeks, last weekend's three-game obliteration of Oregon at home was a certainly a feather in their cap.


19. Michigan State (13-1)

Trending:

Of note: The Spartans are looking like they want to make amends for last year's shortcomings. They went 7-1 in a 10-day stretch on their Florida trip but three games at South Florida await this weekend.


20. Oregon (8-5)

Trending:

Of note: Starting pitching was faulty in Starkville. Cole Irvin allowed five runs over 5.1 innings, Matt Krook couldn't get out of the first inning and David Peterson allowed four runs and six hits in 5.2 innings.


Five on deck: Georgia Tech (12-3), BYU (15-1), Missouri State (12-2), Clemson (11-3), Southern Miss (13-4)

Eric Sorenson is creator and curator of CollegeBaseballToday.com and a regular contributor to D1Baseball.com.