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And The Valley Projects: April 13th

The new projections are all about the U. []-[]

This weekend offered a big shakeup on the national scale, and the projected field of 64 shows that.

The National Seeds

Miami (FL), South Carolina, Florida State, Florida, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, North Carolina, TCU

After their series loss to Mississippi State (23-9-1), Florida (29-5) loses control of the #1 spot, with their rivals Miami (24-4) inheriting it. Since losing to the Gators, the Hurricanes have gone on an absolute tear, losing only twice since their series with Florida ended on February 28th, including a sweep of national seed North Carolina (23-9).

Everybody else in the field held steady, with Ole Miss (25-7) peeping into the field of eight after sweeping Arkansas with vigor. The Rebels take the place of Louisville (24-7) who are departed from the top eight following their series loss against Florida State (22-8). The Birds With Teeth have no time to sulk, as they draw Seth Beer's Clemson squad next in ACC play.

After their series loss to Vanderbilt, South Carolina (28-5) draws up the rankings with a convincing sweep of Tennessee. Texas A&M (25-7) also holds serve, but now they face another daunting challenge with Mississippi State (23-9-1), the team that upset the Gators to create the domino effect in the national seeds.

The Hosts

LSU/UC Santa Barbara, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Clemson, Cal

LSU (21-10) may have nearly completed the sweep against the previous #2 team in the nation, and while that did carry the Tigers up the pecking order a few spots, it isn't enough to break through as a number one seed. However, due to the lack of facilities at their stadium, UC Santa Barbara (21-7-1) is on the road as a national seed and LSU is hosting them. LSU's actions remove Vanderbilt (25-7) out of the national seeds and into the regional hosts.

Taking LSU's would-be spot in the back eight is Miss State, who simply had a harder task than the Tigers did and proved more on the road against at the time the best team in the nation.

Also falling from grace is Cal (19-9) who lost to a disappointing Oregon team after sweeping Oregon State and UCLA in back to back weeks. Cal has not been historically the cream of the PAC-12 crop but in a year where all the traditional powers have their glaring issues (including Oregon State), this is the Golden Bears' best shot at winning the west, so it is wise for them not to throw it away (reminder: the PAC 12 does not believe in a conference tournament). Speaking of bad conferences, after Michigan (21-8) dropped their series against tricky Minnesota I flip flopped back to Michigan State (21-6) for the B1G champion and token regional host. That record for Sparty is misleading, they have an RPI of 34 and are winless in their lone game against the team in the top 50 of the RPI. And Michigan's isn't much better, they're 45 and 2-4 against the RPI top 50.

Texas Tech (24-9) remains the team flying fastest and closest to the hard deck, they split their midweek series against Florida State and then swept Oklahoma State. Okie Light has been hands down the most disappointing team the past two seasons in college baseball but sweeping them remains no small matter. Despite Sunday's game being shortened to seven innings (which Tech won 15-5), the Red Raiders outscored the Cowboys 28-8.

Clemson (23-9) took a stumble this weekend after coming up short against Duke in a hard fought series after picking up a midweek win against Georgia. Auburn With A Lake gets a chance to get back on the wagon this weekend when they take a ride to llvll.

The Rest Of The Field

Joining Santa Barbara and LSU in the Baton Rouge Regional are familiar foes Tulane (21-10) and less familiar SE Missouri State (21-10). LSU fans know first hand how good Tulane is (RPI of 49, 5-1 vs. RPI top 50), but the Redbirds actually have an RPI that is six spots higher than that of the Greenies. So with all that considered, Alex Box will be home of the Regional Of Death Of The Week.

I gave in to the impulses of the (potential) Clemson-South Carolina Super Regional matchup, but there's also the possibility of a Texas Tech-Texas A&M Super, which while not as juicy as a Palmetto Super can be super interesting as well given the vitriol that has been set on simmer between the two schools since the Aggies left the Big 12.

Also, the bubble is becoming more and more refined. The three seeds that don't have a star next to their names have been teams that you can justly make a case for and against, with the most dubious teams being Duke and Alabama.

Last note: the longer the season progresses, the less deserving every conference not in the southeast looks with their bid count. Get it in gear, Big and Pac 12. At least you're trying, Big Ten. But remember,