College Baseball 360 Preseason Top-50 Rankings Update

February 17, 2012
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Presented By Baseballtips.com

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Opening day is here and CB360 has its final preseason top-50, based on its Composite National Rankings (CNR) formula. We also use the CNR to project the 2012 NCAA Tournament field, after taking into account various preseason prognostications from around the world of college baseball.

The formula for the current CB360 Composite National Rankings (CNR) now includes seven ingredients: preseason rankings by USA Today/ESPN (coaches), NCBWA (writers), Baseball AmericaCollegiate Baseball magazine, Perfect Game and College Baseball Lineup, plus the BA projection for the 64-team NCAA field, along with projected seasons strength-of-schedule (from Boyd’s World; used for small bonus in formula).

Florida again received 99.86 points on the CNR 100-point scale, after checking in at #1 in all six polls. The Gators received 17-of-31 first-place votes in the coaches poll (South Carolina had 12; Stanford and Texas A&M one each) while earning 497 out of 500 maximum points from Collegiate Baseball – thus accounting for Florida’s CNR point total being shy of 100.

The rest of the CNR top-10 (in order) includes South Carolina, Stanford, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Rice, Texas, Arkansas, Georgia Tech and LSU (four SEC teams, two ACC, two Big 12, and one each from the Pac-12 and Conference USA). Scroll down for complete listing of the final CB360 preseason top-50.

See below for listing of teams that have made the biggest jumps (led by Stanford, from #27 to #3) and drops, plus newcomers and departed teams, relative to the CNR from when most teams ended the 2011 regular season (May 18). Several teams are in the exact same CNR spot as they occupied back on May 18, 2011 – #13 TCU, #25 UC Irvine, #30 Central Florida, #32 Mississippi State – while four others (all top-10) are within one spot of their same CNR ranking from the end of the 2011 regular season: Florida (#2 to #1), South Carolina (#3 to #2), Texas (#6 to #7) and Georgia Tech (#10 to #9).

The SEC’s depth in the CNR has ebbed a bit (down from 10 to eight teams) while the ACC has “only” two teams in the top-10 of the current CNR, after ending the 2011 regular season with the #1, #5, #9 and #10 teams. The BIG EAST had no teams in the final 2011 CNR but enters 2012 with  two (#24 St. John’s, #28 Louisville) in the top-30 of the CNR. Three in-state rivals – #32 Mississippi State, #33 Mississippi & #34 Southern Mississippi – interestingly follow each other in the current CNR.

CLICK HERE to take a look back at how accurately the CNR (prior to the 2011 NCAAs) forecasted the 2011 NCAA Tournament field.

CB360′s Sean Stires has done an excellent job preparing preseason capsule looks at the top-30 teams in current CNR:
Teams 1-10 … Teams 11-20 … Teams 21-30

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SCROLL DOWN for complete opening-day breakdown of the latest CNR update, along with the CB360 projection for the 2012 NCAAs (based on the CNR) … 

CNR TOP-50 CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN (final preseason)
SEC (8 … 4 top-10, 5 top-25) – #1 Florida, #2 South Carolina, #8 Arkansas, #10 LSU, #11 Vanderbilt, #20 Georgia, #32 Mississippi State & #33 Mississippi
Pacific-12 (8 … 1 top-10, 5 top-25) #3 Stanford, #14 Arizona, #16 UCLA, #21 Arizona State, #22 California, #27 Oregon State, #40 Oregon & #50 USC
ACC 
(7 … 2 top-10, 6 top-25) – #4 North Carolina, #9 Georgia Tech, #12 Florida State, #15 Miami, #18 Clemson, #23 Virginia & #46 North Carolina State
Big 12 (5 … 1 top-10, 3 top-25) – #5 Texas A&M, #7 Texas, #17 Oklahoma, #29 Balor & #45 Oklahoma State
Conference USA (4 … 1 top-10) –  #6 Rice, #30 Central Florida, #31 East Carolina & #34 Southern MississippiBig West (2) – two #2 seeds (Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine)
Big West (2 … 2 top-25) #19 Cal State Fullerton & #25 UC Irvine
BIG EAST
(2 … 1 top-25) – #24 St. John’s & #28 Louisville
Atlantic Sun (2) – #26 Stetson & #39 Jacksonville
Southern Conference (2) – #35 Georgia Southern & #36 College of Charleston
Sun Belt (2) – #38 Florida International & #44 Troy
Missouri Valley (2) – #42 Missouri State & #43 Wichita State
1 Each – #13 TCU (Mt. West) … #37 Dallas Baptist (independent) … #41 Coastal Carolina (Big South) …
#47 Texas State (Southland) … #48 Purdue (Big Ten) … #49 Fresno State (Western Athletic)

BIGGEST JUMP IN THE CNR TOP-50 (from end of 2011 regular season) – Stanford (#27 to #3) … Baylor (#45 to #29) … Mississippi (#48 to #33) UCLA (#29 to #16) … Rice (#17 to #6) … Arkansas (#19 to #8) … Arizona (#24 to #14) … and Jacksonville  (#49 to #39)

NEWCOMERS TO THE CNR TOP-50 (since end of 2011 regular season) – #24 St. John’s … #28 Louisville … #35 Georgia Southern … #36 College of Charleston … #40 Oregon … #42 Missouri State … #43 Wichita State … #48 Purdue … and #50 USC

DROPPED OUT OF THE CNR TOP-50 (since end of 2011 regular season) – #22 Connecticut … #31 Kent State … #35 Auburn … #38 Alabama … #40 Elon … #41 Creighton … #44 East Tennessee State … #47 Southeastern Louisiana … and #50 Gonzaga

BIGGEST DROPS IN THE CNR TOP-50 (since end of 2011 regular season) – Fresno State (#18 to #49) … Virginia (#1 to #23) … Oregon State (#7 to #27) … Oklahoma State (#26 to #45) … Southern Mississippi (#16 to #34) … Florida International ((#23 to #35) … Arizona State (#8 to #21)  … and Texas State (#34 to #47)

COLLEGE BASBALL 360 COMPOSITE TOP-50
(final preseason Composite National Rankings, as of Feb. 16, 2012 … also see below for projected NCAA field-of-64, based on the CNR)

1. Florida … 99.86
2. South Carolina … 98.41
3. Stanford … 97.42
4. North Carolina … 95.27
5. Texas A&M … 94.83
6. Rice … 94.26
7. Texas … 92.64
8. Arkansas … 92.45
9. Georgia Tech … 90.71
10. LSU … 88.95
11. Vanderbilt … 87.57
12. Florida State … 86.87
13. TCU … 85.95
14. Arizona … 85.73
15. Miami … 84.33
16. UCLA … 81.79
17. Oklahoma … 81.01
18. Clemson … 79.79
19. Cal State Fullerton … 79.56
20. Georgia … 79.13
21. Arizona State … 76.93
22. California … 76.26
23. Virginia … 74.74
24. St. John’s … 74.10
25. UC Irvine … 74.02
26. Stetson … 73.72
27. Oregon State … 72.20
28. Louisville … 71.38
29. Baylor … 65.18
30. Central Florida … 62.93
31. East Carolina … 59.58
32. Mississippi State … 59.10
33. Mississippi … 58.35
34. Southern Mississippi … 57.80
35. Georgia Southern … 57.55
36. College of Charleston … 57.18
37. Dallas Baptist … 54.90
38. Florida International … 53.64
39. Jacksonville … 52.58
40. Oregon … 52.30
41. Coastal Carolina … 52.10
42. Missouri State … 51.48
43. Wichita State … 49.43
44. Troy … 49.24
45. Oklahoma State … 49.02
46. North Carolina State … 48.94
47. Texas State … 48.68
48. Purdue … 48.12
49. Fresno State … 46.71
50. USC … 46.60

COLLEGE BASBALL 360 PROJECTED 64-TEAM NCAA FIELD (for 2012)
(based on the CB360 National Rankings, as of Feb. 16, 2012 … note that Arizona State is not eligible for postseason play in 2012, due to NCAA probation … for teams outside the CNR top-50, others sources used included preseason conference favorites based on conference coaches polls and projections from national college baseball media)

#1 Regional Seeds (top-8 hosts): hosts – Florida … South Carolina … Stanford … North Carolina … Texas A&M … Rice …  Texas … Arkansas … non-hosts – Georgia Tech … LSU … Vanderbilt … Florida State … TCU … Arizona … Miami … UCLA … 81.76

#2 Regional Seeds: Oklahoma … Clemson … Cal State Fullerton … Georgia … Arizona State … Virginia …  St. John’s … UC Irvine … Stetson … Oregon State … Louisville … Baylor … Central Florida … East Carolina … Mississippi State … Mississippi

#3 Regional Seeds: Southern Mississippi … Georgia Southern … College of Charleston … Dallas Baptist … Florida International … Jacksonville … Oregon … Coastal Carolina … Missouri State … Wichita State … Troy … Oklahoma State … North Carolina State … Texas State … Purdue … Fresno State

#4 Regional Seeds: USC … Charlotte … Samford … automatic bids (alphabetical): Austin Peay … Alcorn State … Bethune-Cookman … Canisius … James Madison … Kent State … Monmouth … Navy … Oral Roberts … Princeton … San Francisco … Stony Brook … Wright State

Last-8 In: Oklahoma State, NC State, Texas State, Purdue, Fresno State, USC, Charlotte & Samford

First-8 Out: Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan State, Washington State, Missouri, Kentucky, San Diego  & Florida Atlantic
SEC (8) – five #1 seeds (hosts Florida, South Carolina & Arkansas, plus LSU & Vanderbilt) … three #2 seeds (Georgia,Mississippi State & Mississippi)

ACC (7) – four #1 seeds (host North Carolina, plus Georgia Tech, Florida State & Miami) … two #2 seeds (Clemson & Virginia) … one #3 seed (North Carolina State)

Pac-12 (7) – three #1 seeds (hosts Stanford & UCLA, plus Arizona) … two #2 seeds (California & Oregon State) … one #3 seed (Oregon) … one #4 seed (USC)

Big 12 (5) – two #1 seeds (host Texas A&M, & Texas) … two #2 seeds (Oklahoma & Baylor) … one #3 seed (Oklahoma State)

Conference USA (4) – one #1 seed (host Rice) … two #2 seeds (Central Florida & East Carolina) … one #3 seed (Southern Mississippi)

Southern Conference (3) – two #3 seeds (Georgia Southern & College of Charleston) … one #4 seed (Samford)

Big West (2) – two #2 seeds (Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine)

BIG EAST (2) – two #2 seed (St. John’s & Louisville)

Atlantic Sun (2) – one #2 seed (Stetson) … one #3 seed (Jacksonville)

Sun Belt (2) – two #3 seeds (Florida International & Troy)

Missouri Valley (2) – two #3 seeds (Missouri State & Wichita State)

Mountain West (1) – one #1 seed (TCU)

Independents (1) – one #3 seed (Dallas Baptist)

Big South (1) – one #3 seed (Coastal Carolina)

Southland (1) – one #3 seed (Texas State)

Big Ten (1) – one #3 seed (Purdue)

Western Athletic (1) – one #3 seed (Fresno State)

Atlantic 10 (1) – one #4 seed (Charlotte)

Others (13; all #4 seeds; automatic bids outside top-50):
American East – Stony Brook
Colonial – James Madison
Horizon – Wright State
Ivy – Princeton
Metro Atlantic – Canisius
Mid-American – Kent State
Mid-Eastern Athletic – Bethune-Cookman
Northeast – Monmouth
Ohio Valley – Austin Peay
Patriot – Navy
Southwest Athletic – Alcorn State
Summit – Oral Roberts
West Coast – San Francisco

COMPOSITE NATIONAL RANKINGS (CNR) CRITERIA: As the season progresses, CB360′s 100-point Composite National Rankings formula ultimately  is centered around 15 core ingredients – plus a bonus/penalty factor based on record over final-10 games. The CNR combines a diverse collection of “experts” (ranging from coaches, various media, computer calculations and postseason projections) – to help provide a preview of teams that could be in the running for the 2012 NCAA Championship field (hypothetically 50 teams, plus 14 others from lower-rated automatic-bid conferences).

Teams receive points based on their standings in each poll/rating/projection (60 pts for #1; 59 for #2, etc.). For polls involving voting points (coaches and CB) and the various RPI-type ratings, the CNR adjusts to reward teams that have larger margins in the voting/point totals (whereas two teams with nearly the same voting-point total will be closer in the CNR allotment for that poll). Note that strength-of-schedule typically is factored into RPI formulations … thus the actual SOS numbers only are used early in the season (SOS are not used in the CNR when RPI already are in the mix). For the NCAA field projections, teams are awarded CNR points based on their respective seedings, “last in” and “last out,” etc.

The polls/ratings/projections are averaged, with 40 points typically then added to each total in order to yield the 100-point benchmark. Early in the season (projected SOS) and late in the season (final-10 games), a maximum bonus/penalty of 0.3 (SOS) or 0.5 points (final-10) is factored into the formula (in that case, 39.7 or 39.5, rather than 40, is added to the poll/rating/projection avg.).

Here are links to the eight criteria currently used in the CNR, as of Feb. 16, 2012:
• National Coaches Poll (USA Today/ESPN)
• National Collegiate Baseball Writers poll
• Baseball America poll, in conjunction with BA NCAA Tournament projection
• Colllegiate Baseball magazine rankings
Perfect Game preseason rankings (top-100; top-60 used in CNR formula)
• College Baseball Lineup rankings
Boyd’s World projected season strength-of-schedule (bonus points)

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