Softball Rankings: Week 1

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Feb. 14, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama softball team checked in at No. 2 in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls, the organizations announced Tuesday. The Crimson Tide earned three first place votes in each poll.

Alabama jumped up one spot in the NFCA poll and remained in the No. 2 spot in the USA Softball top 25. Florida jumped to No. 1 in the NFCA rankings while Cal claimed the top spot on ESPN.com.

In the NFCA poll, The Gators, who went 5-0 last week, received 16 of 30 first-place votes and were followed in the poll by SEC rival Alabama (4-0), which received three. Moving up one spot from fourth to third was California (4-0), which finished the voting three points behind the Crimson Tide, despite notching 10 first-place votes. Oklahoma (5-0) also moved up a spot from fifth to fourth, while Arizona State, which received the remaining first-place vote, dropped four spots to fifth, rounding out the top five.

Despite a 2-1 showing at the 26th Annual Louisiana Classic in Lafayette, last week's No. 24, Tulsa, was the only team to fall out of the rankings this week. Taking over for Tulsa was Georgia Tech, which made its 2012 debut at No. 23 after a 4-1 week.

The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 30 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. Behind a perfect 4-0 performance at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., the California Golden Bears have taken over the coveted No. 1 spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. Cal (4-0) occupies the top spot in the poll for the first time since Feb. 8, 2005, when the school tied with Arizona for the No. 1 ranking. The Bears were the lone No. 1 on Jan. 25, 2005.

The Bears, ranked third in the pre-season poll released in January, received 14 No. 1 votes this week while Alabama (4-0), No. 2 for the second time this season, garnered three and No. 3 Florida (5-0) also earned three. In Tempe, Cal started the season with a 13-5 win over then-No. 9 Tennessee and also beat unranked opponents Bradley, Texas State and Syracuse.

Alabama outscored four unranked opponents 38-5 at the Mardi Gras Invitational in Mobile, Ala. At the Fairfield Inn Tournament in Tampa, Florida received an extra inning scare against host South Florida but escaped with a 3-2 victory in eight innings. The Gators, ranked third in the pre-season poll, also beat Long Island, Maine, Illinois State and Florida Gulf Coast.

Oklahoma (5-0) jumped from No. 6 in the pre-season to No. 4 after a solid performance at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic in Las Vegas. The Sooners beat unranked Cal State-Bakersfield 6-0, UNLV 5-0, Weber State 12-2 in five innings and Kent State 6-0 and 11-1. Despite not playing during Week 1, Missouri (0-0) remained No. 5.

Reigning NCAA Division I Softball National Champions Arizona State (5-2), top ranked in the pre-season poll with 19 first place votes, dropped to No. 6 after the first week of action. The hosts of the Kajikawa Classic were stunned Friday with a 3-1 loss to unranked McNeese State. On Saturday, the Sun Devils dropped a second game to Tennessee (5-1), a team that improved to No. 7 this week. The Lady Vols' only loss of the week came at the bats of Cal.

UCLA (4-0) cracked the Top 10 for the first time this season, claiming No. 8 after a week that included three wins over then-No. 18 Kentucky (1-3), a school that dropped to No. 24. Washington (5-0) improved from No. 14 to No. 9 impart to a 4-0 shutout of then-No 20 Nebraska (3-3). Baylor (4-1) dropped from seventh to 10th with a loss to unranked Arkansas.

Previously No. 10, Stanford (4-1) is now No. 12 after a loss to then-No. 15 Texas A&M (3-2), still ranked 15th. Arizona (3-3) dropped from No. 8 to 16 after dropping games to then-No. 23 Georgia Tech, then-tied No. 20 Nebraska and Texas A&M in Tempe. As a result of their wins over Arizona and Nebraska, Georgia Tech (4-1) is now No. 20.

Dropping out of the poll were pre-season No. T20 LSU (2-2), after losses to Penn State and now No. 11 Michigan (4-0), and No. 25 Notre Dame, a team that did not play last week. Entering the poll are Louisville (5-0) at No. 23 and North Carolina (4-0) at No. 25.