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Top 10 Team Previews
February 14th, 2019
#1 LSU Tigers
With six NCAA Tournament Championships, all in the last last 30 years, LSU is a household name when it comes to college baseball. Just about every year the LSU Tigers come in at #1 in at least one preseason poll, and once again, they enter 2019 atop the Composite Preseason Rankings. The Tigers kick off the season and hopeful march to Omaha this Friday, February 15th against local foe, Louisiana-Monroe, but the highlight of the Tigers' non-conference slate is a trip to Austin in early March to face the #20 Texas Longhorns, who are coming off a trip to Omaha themselves. The following weekend, Cal comes to town, and the stadium will surely be packed (as it usually is).
In conference play, LSU avoids Vanderbilt, but still faces several top teams including Florida (#5), Ole Miss, (#11), Georgia (#12), Mississippi State (#14), and Arkansas (#16). All of that is without mentioning the top 30 Texas A&M squad that will come to town as part of LSU's second-to-last conference series. The Tigers seek revenge on the Aggies who took two out of three against them in College Station last year.
LSU has the unique role of playing the underdog within the SEC despite being the #1 team in the country; a poll of SEC coaches showed Vanderbilt as the slight favorite to win the conference. The Tigers will look to prove the coaches wrong on their way to Omaha in 2019.
January 28th, 2019
#2 Vanderbilt Commodores
Coming off a close Super Regional loss to SEC rival, Mississippi State, in 2018, the Commodores look to bounce back in 2019. It wasn't all bad for Vanderbilt in 2018 though, as they made their 13th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament and clobbered Clemson on their own turf in the Regional Final. The Commodores check in at #2 in our Composite Preseason Top 25 and once again look to be legitimate threats to make the College World Series. Their non-conference slate includes TCU (#19), from the Big XII, and Cal State Fullerton (#24), hailing from the Big West. Vanderbilt hopes 2019 ends in their fourth trip to the College World Series this decade.
February 12th, 2019
#3 UCLA Bruins
With the season kicking off on Friday, the UCLA Bruins look to return to the pinnacle of college baseball in 2019. Having last made the College World Series in 2013 (a year which they would go on to win the title), UCLA has its eyes set on Omaha once again. To make it there, the Bruins will first have to conquer the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic which includes Oklahoma State (#21), Michigan (#23) and local rival, USC, before they turn to Pac-12 play. In conference, UCLA faces the defending National Champs, Oregon State (#6), and the defending conference champion, Stanford (#8). Mixed into conference play are mid-week matchups against regional foes Cal State Fullerton (#24) and Long Beach State. With 34 games against West Coast teams, UCLA will try to prove that they are the Best in the West before they show that they're best in Omaha.
February 11th, 2019
#4 Texas Tech red Raiders
One of the hottest teams in the country over the last five years, the Red Raiders come into 2019 having made the College World Series three times since 2014, including last year. Tim Tadlock, the D1Baseball 2018 Coach of the Year, will look to bring his squad back to Omaha. To do so, Texas Tech will have to get through the always tough Big XII and a non-conference schedule that includes the Big Ten's Michigan (#23) and the SEC's Mississippi State (#14). Expectations are high as Texas Tech checks in at #4 in Baseball U: Stats and Trends' Composite Preseason Top 25. The bar has been raised for this program on the rise.
February 10th, 2019
#5 Florida Gators
With just five days until first pitch, the Florida Gators check in at #5 on the Composite Preseason Top 25. Having made the College World Series seven times this decade and winning the 2017 National Championship, the Florida Gators want nothing less than a return trip to Omaha in 2019. Their impressive run includes back-to-back SEC Regular Season Championships, but for the Gators to earn a three-peat, they have to get through both LSU (#1) and Vanderbilt (#4). Entering the season, Florida only received 2 of the 14 votes for preseason SEC Champion by SEC coaches, so despite their top five ranking, Florida will have to play the underdog role to win a conference championship this season.
The Gators can't sleep on the rest of its conference slate either, which includes three other teams ranked in the Preseason Top 25: Ole Miss (#11), Georgia (#12), and Mississippi State (#14). The Gators' non-conference schedule offers no breaks and is highlighted by in-state rivals Florida State (#10) and Miami as well as a challenging opening series against Long Beach State starting February 15th. Opening Day in Gainesville is less than a week away, and the Florida Gators are ready to start the Road to Omaha.
February 9th, 2019
#6 Oregon State Beavers
Coming off an improbable NCAA Tournament Championship in 2018, the #6 Oregon State Beavers look to pick up where they left off in 2019. With six College World Series appearances since 2005 and three National Championships in that same time period, the Beavers have quickly become college baseball's new royalty. One thing 2018 didn't have for Oregon State was a Pac-12 Championship, and to get that, they'll have to take on UCLA (#3) and Stanford (#8). Minnesota and Indiana, from the Big Ten, will both pose as challenges for the Beavers, as well as Coastal Carolina (#22) from the Sun Belt. Despite these challenges, it won't be a surprise to anyone if Oregon State makes another deep postseason run in 2019.
February 8th, 2019
#7 North Carolina Tar Heels
2018 College World Series participants, the North Carolina Tar Heels are coming into 2019 at #7 in the country. One of the front runners in the ACC, the Tar Heels manage to avoid both Louisville (#9) and Florida State (#10) in regular season play. However, they will have to get through Clemson (#17) and North Carolina State (#25), and will face tough regional rivals, East Carolina (#13) and Coastal Carolina (#22), in non-conference play. Having made the College World Series 7 of the last 13 years, North Carolina has established itself as a college baseball force under Head Coach Mike Fox. Twice the College World Series runner-up, the Tar Heels hope that 2019 brings them their first National Championship.
February 7th, 2019
#8 Stanford Cardinal
The #8 Stanford Cardinal are coming off a Pac 12 Championship in 2018 and hope to ride a recent string of success to another good season in 2019. To repeat as conference champions, Stanford will have to get through a pair of top ten teams in UCLA (#3) and Oregon State (#6), as well as an upstart Washington team that made the College World Series a year ago. In non-conference play, the Cardinal will face the always tough Cal State Fullerton Titans (#24), the team who eliminated them from their own regional last year, and the Texas Longhorns (#20). This season, David Esquer, in his second year as head coach of Stanford, will try to lead the Cardinal to their first trip to Omaha since 2008.
February 6th, 2019
#9 Louisville Cardinals
Coming in at #9 in the Composite Preseason Top 25, the Louisville Cardinals are gearing up for a run at the ACC Championship and College World Series in 2019. Coming off a Regional appearance in 2018, the Cardinals hope to build on that and make it all the way to Omaha. In the last 12 seasons, they have earned 4 trips to the College World Series and have quickly established themselves as one of the modern forces in college baseball. With non-conference match-ups against SEC foes Vanderbilt (#2), Ole Miss (#11), and Kentucky, the Cardinals will be battled-tested come postseason. They dive into their season against a solid UCONN team which has its eyes set on the NCAA Tournament. A quick start for the Cardinals would earn them some valuable non-conference wins.
February 5th, 2019
#10 Florida State Seminoles
Florida State baseball is one of the most consistent teams in college baseball history. Behind Mike Martin, they've pushed their NCAA Tournament appearance streak to 41, and in his final season, look to make one last run at Omaha. Regardless of how the season ends, Martin's four decades in Tallahassee have earned him a spot among the college baseball legends. Checking in at #10 in the Composite Preseason Top 25, the Seminoles have high expectations for Martin's last year. The schedule includes a tough ACC slate with series against Louisville (#9), Clemson (#17), and NC State (#25) and several regional non-conference match-ups including UCF and USF. Will 2019 bring one more shot at the elusive College World Series Championship for Martin and Florida State?