Ole Miss baseball swept Kentucky over the weekend, gaining favor with the national polls in the process. They bumped up to No. 11 in Baseball America and Perfect game, rose to No. 10 in Collegiate Baseball, dropped to No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll...
Wait, what the hell? The Rebs fell from No. 13 to No. 16 in the Coaches' Poll after sweeping a ranked SEC opponent on the road? Ole Miss rose a minimum of two spots in all four of the other major polls (five spots in Baseball America). So what's the deal, coaches?
This could be explained if say, Kentucky was a bad opponent. But wait, the Wildcats came into the series with a .500 record in the nation's toughest conference and hold the No. 16 RPI even after getting swept. Plus there's the fact that they were ranked No. 23 last week BY THE SAME DAMN POLL.
Well maybe the Rebs looked unconvincing during the series… wait no, they damn near broke the scoreboards with 39 runs over the three games, bullying the league's top offense by an average of eight runs per contest.
Okay, I'm running out of ideas here, but maybe it isn't so much that Ole Miss dropped as it is other teams rose. Those teams must have had some pretty seriously badass weeks to leapfrog a squad that swept a ranked SEC foe, right? Well, let's take a look. Four teams jumped Ole Miss: Louisville, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and Miami. I'll buy OK State and Miami. The Cowboys rose from No. 15 to No. 10 after taking two of three against then-No. 10 Texas. The Hurricanes, who jumped five spots to No. 14, swept a ranked Clemson team and have now won 19 of their last 20.
But Vandy and Louisville? The Cardinals jumped nine spots into the top 10 for sweeping… wait for it… UConn. Yes, the same UConn that has a losing overall record and carries an RPI of 120. Nine spots. For beating UConn. To be sure, the coaches had Louisville undervalued at No. 17 last week, but how they decided to bump them up after that kind of unimpressive win is beyond me. As a point of reference, Baseball America had Louisville at No. 13 last week and kept them there this week.
Then there's Vandy, who popped up from No. 14 to No. 9 after taking three from Georgia. So the Rebs sweep previously 9-9 Kentucky and the 'Dores sweep previously 7-10-1 Georgia, and Ole Miss gets jumped?
To be clear, I'm not arguing that the Rebs should necessarily be ranked higher (though I do think No. 16 is a little low), but rather that the three-spot drop is flat out inexplicable. Ole Miss did have the Tuesday loss to Mississippi State but 1) they're a ranked team and 2) mid-week games mean pretty much nothing at this juncture in the season. Explain yourselves college baseball coaches of America!
In all seriousness, it's not like these polls mean much anyway. The Rebs jumped to No. 4 in the only rankings that count -- the RPI -- and are in good position for a national hosting bid if they can keep the momentum going. But it's fun to yell at pollsters, especially when they do dumb things.
Here's where the Rebs stand in the aforementioned inconsequential polls:
|USA Today Coaches' Poll||16??||13|