College baseball season is almost here! Which means its time for all the preseason polls to start rolling out. And when I say “all”, I mean “all”! Unlike football and basketball, there are a plethora of college baseball polls out there. Of the 6 major ones, they all release their rankings at various times in the off season. As of the publishing of this article, 4 of them have been released. We will keep you updated at Corn Nation should the trend continue and Nebraska appear in more publications’ polls.
This year marks the first time since 2018 that Nebraska makes an appearance in the pre-season polls. That Nebraska team was coming off of a conference championship as well. It was also placed as a #2 seed in the overall #1 seed’s (Oregon State) Regional. Deja Vu much? The difference was the 2018 team only showed up at #39 in Collegiate Baseball’s Fabulous 40 (can’t imagine why they retired that name) prior to the season. That team struggled mightily, finishing the year 24-28 and winning only 1 conference series.
Last year’s team put up a much better showing then 2017 in the post season, making its first regional final since 2007, and nearly pulling off the huge upset of top overall seed Arkansas. Add to that a recruiting class that was ranked in the top 25 by both Perfect Game and Baseball America, and you get substantially higher grades going into this season.
Well, let’s take a look at where this year’s team lands in the national polls:
Perfect Game - 22 - Only B1G team to make the cut.
Baseball America - 20 - Only B1G team, no other opponents either.
Collegiate Baseball - 31 - They do a top 50 - Michigan lands at 30
D1Baseball.com - Didn’t make the top 25, but did land in the Dandy Dozen to Watch (Where do these organizations come up with these?) of teams outside the top 25. AKA the “others receiving votes”.
Husker 2022 opponents TCU and Long Beach State show up on almost all the rankings as well. LBSU is generally in the 20s if they are ranked, while TCU ranges from #8 to not ranked in the top 25. They should give Nebraska a good early season test as NU faces TCU in Arlington, Texas on February 25-27th, and the Dirtbags come to town for the Huskers home opener March 11th-13th. And in an about face of the last few years, the Big Ten is having Michigan come to town for the conference opening series as opposed to closing out the season with the matchup of the conferences top 2 teams. A strong showing early on could mean a fast climb up the rankings for Nebraska.
Other Teams of Note
Texas is number 1 on the majority of the polls. They bring back by far the most talent in the country after leading the nation in ERA and returning 3 All Americans on offense. They lost both games in the CWS to eventual champion Mississippi State. They get a few more years to dominate what’s left of the Big XII before joining the SEC.
Number 2 is generally Vanderbilt. They dominate the MLB draft every year, and last year in particular. But then they also bring in a top 2-3 recruiting class year after year. So while they have some unproven spots to probably be ranked as high as they are, they are throwing some of the best high school talent in those spots as well.
The defending champs in Miss St are somewhere in the 4-9 range. They had a pretty amazing run, with a crazy good bullpen. This seems about right for them.
A familiar foe to Nebraska, Arkansas, is all over the board. They lost a lot, including the most overused pitcher in the last couple decades of college baseball, in Kevin Kopps. This lead to them being ranked anywhere from number 2 (LOL!) to 20 because they have the coaching and pedigree, but have a few question marks.
As of publication we are still waiting for USA Today and the National College Baseball Writers Association to release there rankings. So stay tuned to Corn Nation for updates when those are released, as well as other upcoming baseball preseason previews.