LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Coming off a second straight national title, Oklahoma is the unanimous No. 1 team in the final 2017 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll. Collecting all 32 first-place votes the Sooners (61-9) swept Florida in a thrilling WCWS Championship Series to earn their fourth overall title and third in five years.
OU’s run to the championship started off on the wrong foot following a regional-opening defeat to North Dakota State. That would be their last postseason loss. The 10th-seeded Sooners won four elimination games, including pair over Tulsa in the regional final, to start a run of 11 consecutive victories. In the championship series, Oklahoma outlasted Florida, 7-5, in an epic 17-inning affair, the longest WCWS game in finals history, followed by a 5-4 nailbiter in game two. Prior to the series, the Sooners knocked off No. 15 seed Baylor (6-3), No. 6 seed Washington (3-1) and No. 3 seed Oregon (4-2).
National runner-up Florida is No. 2. The Gators (58-10) blanked No. 9 seed Texas A&M (8-0) and No. 13 seed LSU (7-0), before topping Washington (5-2) to reach its third championship series in four years. UF’s run featured two wins over RV Oklahoma State, including a 5-0 triumph in the Gainesville Regional “if necessary” game. The Gators rallied from an opening loss to No. 16 seed Alabama in the Super Regionals with 2-0 and 2-1 wins over the Crimson Tide.
National semifinalists Washington and Oregon finish ranked No. 3 and No. 4. The Huskies (50-14) put together a 7-2 postseason mark, sweeping through the Seattle Regional with victories over Montana (8-0) and Michigan (12-4, 4-2) and knocking off 11th-seeded Utah in a three-game Super Regional (10-4, 8-9, 2-1). At the WCWS, UW defeated Oregon (3-1) and No. 5 seed UCLA (1-0). The Ducks (54-8) won their first five games in route to the WCWS. Oregon trumped UIC (13-0) and Wisconsin (6-5 in 8 inn. / 9-0) in regionals and swept 14th-seed Kentucky in supers. After falling to Washington, the Ducks won two elimination games over Baylor (7-4) ad LSU (4-1) to reach the semifinals.
A pair of 48-win programs, UCLA and LSU, come in at No. 5 and 6. The Bruins (48-15) cruised through regionals with three eight-run victories over Lehigh (8-0), San Jose State (10-2) and Cal State Fullerton (9-1). They were tested in Super Regionals by No. 12 seed Ole Miss, edging the Rebels in a pair of one-run contests (8-7 in 11 inn./1-0). UCLA went 1-2 at the WCWS, picking up a win over Texas A&M. The Tigers (48-22) had to win three straight elimination games, the final to over Louisiana, to get out of the Baton Rouge Regional. Faced with similar odds at No. 4 seed Florida State in the Super Regionals, LSU bounced back from a game one defeat (1-3), to win two close games on the road (1-0, 6-4) against the Seminoles. The Tigers would open the WCWS with a win over UCLA before dropping their next two contest.
The final two WCWS participants hail from the Lone Star State as Baylor and Texas A&M are ranked No. 7 and No. 8. The Bears (48-15) survived a very tough Waco Regional thanks in large part to Gia Rodoni, who tossed a pair of no-hitters in 1-0 victories over Kent State and then-No. 11 James Madison. Following the regional sweep, Baylor faced off against No. 2 seeded Arizona in Tucson, which featured three tightly contested affairs. After a 3-2 walk-off defeat in game one, the Bears rallied from a deficit in each of the final two contests to shock the Wildcats (6-4, 6-5) and advance to the WCWS. After a three-game regional sweep, the Aggies (47-13) bounced back from a Super Regional-opening loss at No. 8 seed Tennessee with a pair of close wins over the Volunteers (6-5, 5-3). In their first WCWS appearance since 2008, Texas A&M fell to Florida and UCLA.
Rounding out the top-10 is a pair of Super Regional participants, Arizona and Florida State. The Wildcats (52-9) rolled through regionals before falling to a “never say die” Baylor squad in the supers. The Seminoles (55-8) also swept through regionals and were upended by LSU in the Super Regionals.
Super Regional participants, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Utah and Ole Miss, along with Minnesota make up 11 through 16.
The 2017 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.
2017 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll
Final – June 12, 2017
|Rank||Team||Totals||2017 Record||Last Poll|
Dropped Out: None
New to Poll: No. 24 Marshall
Receiving Votes: California (24), Oklahoma State (19), Wisconsin (11), North Dakota State (5), Arkansas (4), USC Upstate (4), Illinois (4), Mississippi State (4), Florida International (2), Texas State (2), Cal State Fullerton (2), Oregon State (1).
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Coaches Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.
-- Images courtesy of Ty Russell