By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
The OU baseball team lost plenty from its Super Regional run of a season ago.
But the Sooners are also bringing a group of talented contributors back. And the preseason polls reflect that.
Sunny Golloway’s Sooners are slated 16th in the USA Today’s coaches poll and 19th in Baseball America, joining TCU (12th, 14th) and Baylor (23rd, unranked) as the only Big 12 teams to show up on either poll.
OU brings back two/thirds of its impressive 2012 rotation, losing Jordan John but retaining Jonathan Gray and hard-throwing lefty Dillon Overton. Gray and Overton went a combined 14-7 last season (both with sub 3.20-ERA’s) for the 44-25 Sooners, who lost in the Super Regionals to eventual national runner-up South Carolina.
Meanwhile, 80 miles upstate, the revamped Oklahoma State baseball program gears up for its first year under new coach Josh Holliday. The Cowboys received some respect in the coaches poll, with a few voters placing them in their initial rankings.
But with Holliday’s overhaul still in its initial stages, and a relatively unknown roster lacking big-name star power, the Cowboys will need a strong start to vault into the national rankings.
Both teams start the season Feb. 15, with the Sooners at home against Hofstra and OSU on the road at New Mexico.
Here’s a few other observations from the initial polls
-Texas is unranked in both polls. A bit of a surprise, considering the history of the program, but somewhat expected based on last season’s struggles. The Longhorns didn’t make the tournament for the first time in 14 years. And frankly, they haven’t been able to hit for a few years running.
-Arkansas at #1 in the coaches poll? And #3 in Baseball America? The Hogs just don’t seem like a baseball powerhouse, but they’ve been compiling talent and have obviously opened some eyes.
-Vanderbilt is top-10 in both polls, thanks in large part to current OSU coach Josh Holliday, who’s been a key recruiter for the Commodores for three years running and brought in many of the players who headline this season’s talented roster.
-USA Today coaches poll by conference: SEC (8), Pac-12 (6), ACC (5), Big 12 (3), Big East (1), Big West (1), WCC (1), C-USA (1), Big 10 (0)
-Baseball America poll by conference: SEC (8), Pac-12 (5), ACC (4), Big 12 (2), C-USA (2), Big East (1), Big West (1) , WCC (1) Mountain West (1), Big 10 (0)
-Biggest discrepancy: Lousville is ranked fourth in the Baseball America poll, but tied for 25th in the coaches poll.