If you were looking to start off your summer watching college sports without hearing about the dominance of the SEC, you unfortunately didn’t get it. Looking back at the regional field of 64 teams, 10 teams selected were from the SEC, 7 from the ACC, and the Big 12 and PAC-12 had 5 a piece to round out the major conferences.
It was made well known throughout local and national media outlets across the country that the 10 teams the SEC sent to the field of 64 for the college baseball regionals last Friday was a record. Prior to last week, no conference had ever sent more than nine teams. Even though the seeding and selection of teams is still quite a mystery, sending 10 teams to the conference is quite an accomplishment. With that accomplishment came a lot of talk, as Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said about the SEC conference,
"I’m not trying to tout our own horn, but the reality is that you have to go through the gauntlet…I think you look at the teams that didn’t get in, and they very well could be in."
Several people believed that to win the College World Series (CWS), you either had to be a school in the SEC or beat a team from that conference. While the Big 12 was overlooked and ranked to only have one team host a super regional in TCU, four schools will host super regionals this weekend. TCU, UT, OSU and TTU will all play at home and have the possibility to fill half the spots in the CWS. No other conference has more than two teams left in the tournament. This speaks volumes to the quality of the conference, as the Big 12 went 13-4 in regional play. Meanwhile, the SEC that went 22-16 (you play more games when you lose) and the ACC went 11-10.
Records aside, the Big 12 conference was less than a thousandth of a point away from tying the SEC for strongest Rating Per Index (RPI). They backed up that rating by dominating the competition in regional play. And as the tournament moves to the Super Regional stage, don’t be surprised if there are more than a few teams heading to Omaha next week…