Rosenblatt Stadium might be gone, but the goal of every team in the NCAA tournament is still to get to Omaha.
Now that we've all digested the news that LSU is one of two teams among the Top 35 in the RPI left out of the NCAA baseball tournament -- no one's saying the RPI is perfect, but the NCAA is going to use it, it might as well do so consistently -- we can turn our attention to which teams from the SEC did make the field. A quick review of the league teams that made it, and the teams they will face in the regionals.
Tallahassee Regional (paired with College Station)
(1) Florida State; (2) UCF; (4) Bethune Cookman
Besides Bethune Cookman, which has a dismal RPI of 122 according to last week's rankings, Alabama ends up in a pretty stacked regional. The Tide's RPI of 33 is decent, and Florida State's 4 and UCF's 22 are obviously even better. The Seminoles are a perennial power in college baseball and will be a tough out if it comes to that.
Tempe Regional (paired with Austin)
(1) Arizona State; (3) Charlotte; (4) New Mexico
The Hogs avoid a trip to Los Angeles as the "No. 1 seed," but not by much. This regional should come down to Arizona State and Arkansas. Charlotte and New Mexico are weak even for three and four seeds, which should give the top two teams a clear shot at each other.
Gainesville Regional (paired with Atlanta)
(2) Miami (FL); (3) Jacksonville; (4) Manhattan
Interesting note: Manhattan College is actually in New York City, but is actually now located in the Bronx instead of Manhattan. Aside from that, there's nothing really notable about the Jaspers. Jacksonville is a decent if not overwhelming team, but Miami will be a tough out for the Gators.
Corvallis Regional (paired with Nashville)
(1) Oregon State; (2) Creighton; (4) Arkansas-Little Rock
The longest trip for any team in the league -- 2,200 miles separates Athens and Corvallis -- takes Georgia to a slumping host in Oregon State. Creighton is a solid team, but Little Rock got in only by winning the Sun Belt tournament. The Trojans are eight games under .500.
3 MISSISSIPPI STATE
Atlanta Regional (paired with Gainesville)
(1) Georgia Tech; (2) Southern Miss; (4) Austin Peay
Three of the teams in this regional are in the Top 30 in RPI, with only Austin Peay (146) as an exception. It will be tough for any team to be confident of emerging from Atlanta for the Super Regionals. The Western Division Bulldogs got a rough draw, and might well wonder why some of the teams that were expected to go to Atlanta didn't get the "honor" instead.
1 SOUTH CAROLINA
Columbia Regional (paired with Clemson)
(2) Stetson; (3) N.C. State; (4) Georgia Southern
Stetson -- which is in Florida -- actually had a nice run this year, and N.C. State is a solid team as well. Georgia Southern was expected to go to Atlanta but instead ends up here, not that the team from Statesboro is much to worry about. Still, you would expect an easier draw for the No. 4 seed in the nation.
Nashville Regional (paired with Corvallis)
(2) Oklahoma State; (3) Troy; (4) Belmont
The Commodores get something a bit closer to what you would expect for a national seed, with a trio of largely also-ran teams that should provide minimum trouble for the Dores. Oklahoma State could be a tough out, but that's about it. And even they are 5-12 on the road.