After the first two national college baseball rankings came out, the Florida Gators may have felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
The first one seemed a little too low.
The second one seemed a little too high. <br.
Now, the third and fourth rankings have come out, and they seem juuuuuusssstttt riiiiggghhhhhtttt.
Both were released on Thursday. Florida received one first-place vote in the coaches’ poll.
The first rankings that came out in December was by Collegiate Baseball, which had the Gators at No. 24.
The second was, done by PerfectGame.org, had Florida at No. 7.
While those two rankings seemed to be on both sides of the extreme — one too high, one too low — the two to come out Thursday appear to be the most logical when looking at everything from players lost off of last season’s team to Florida’s tradition of success after making three consecutive College World Series appearances.
Baseball America’s rankings are widely considered the most credible by avid college baseball followers. The BA staff researches teams across the country better than anyone in the business. That’s why many news organizations use BA’s rankings in their publications.
The coaches’ poll holds some weight, too. However, most believe those votes are cast by sports information directors, not the coaches themselves.
Few coaches have the time to scour the country to follow each team to evaluate returning talent, recruiting hauls and things of that nature. However, many sports information directors do, so there is a level of credibility there if they are the ones who actually end up casting the votes.
Another myth is that many fans believe all college coaches vote in the coaches’ poll. However, the majority of coaches do participate as it’s only a sampling of skippers from various conferences.
There were only 31 first-place votes, meaning only 31 coaches voted in the coaches’ poll. With 280 Division I college baseball teams in the country, the coaches poll only represents about nine percent of the actual coaches.
To note, Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan does not have a vote in the coaches’ poll. The only SEC coach listed as a voter is Tennessee’s Dave Serrano.
SEC teams make up half of Baseball America’s top 10, six of the top 11 and seven of the top 13 with Vanderbilt at No. 2, Arkansas at No. 3, Mississippi State at No. 5, South Carolina at No. 7, LSU at No. 10 and Kentucky at No. 11 and Ole Miss at No. 13.
Florida at No. 17 means they’re the eighth-highest ranked SEC team. In other words, being the 17th-best in the country may mean a team only squeaks into the eight-team SEC tournament.
An SEC team is in the top spot in the coaches’ poll with Arkansas at No. 1. The Razorbacks are followed by LSU at No. 3, South Carolina at No. 5, Vanderbilt at No. 8, Kentucky at No. 15, Mississippi State tied for No. 18 and Texas A&M at No. 24.
Florida, which finished 47-20 last season, opens 2013 with a three-game home series against Duke beginning on Feb. 15.