Alabama in the Rankings: Week 5

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

March 12, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - After dropping three of its four games last week the Alabama softball team (23-3) fell in the national polls on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide now checks in at No. 4 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll and sits at No. 6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, both organizations announced.

For the first time this season, the USA Today/NFCA Division I poll has a unanimous top-ranked team as Oklahoma (22-1) took advantage of a 1-3 week by previous No. 1 Alabama to ascend to the top position for the first time in 2013.

The Sooners, 4-0 during the past week with a pair of run-rule victories over both Northern Colorado and Drake, garnered all 31 possible first-place votes from the top 25 committee in receiving 775 points.

Arizona State (25-1) rose a spot to No. 2 after sweeping through its home-hosted Diamond Devil Invitational, while Florida (25-2) improved a position to third following a mid-week triumph over then-No. 1 Alabama and taking two of three match-ups during its initial Southeastern Conference series of the campaign at Auburn.

The Crimson Tide (23-3) fell to fourth after suffering its first defeat of the season against the Gators and dropping two-of-three match-ups during a SEC road set at then-No. 8 Tennessee. No. 5 California (20-2) swept through the Bayer Crop Science Classic in Fresno, Calif., to climb a single spot back into the top 5.

Tennessee (21-4) leapt two notches to No. 6 following its high-profile series win over then-top-ranked Alabama, while Texas A&M (23-2) held steady at seventh after splitting a pair of contests at newly-eighth-ranked Missouri (10-2). Texas (23-3) and Oregon (21-4) flip-flopped positions from the last poll, holding down ninth and 10th to round out this week's Top 10, respectively.

No squads dropped out of the newest top 25, however, Louisiana-Lafayette (16-9) suffered the largest tumble, dropping from 15th to No. 22 after getting swept in a doubleheader at No. 9 Texas and losing two-of-three games to Western Kentucky. During a week in which several ranked teams kicked off conference play, the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll saw a major shakeup the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. Top-ranked Oklahoma (22-1), furthered their hold of the No. 1 spot, receiving 18 first-place votes while Arizona State (25-1) staked their claim with two. This marks the first time this season that the Sun Devils have garnered first-place votes.

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season, No. 1 Oklahoma dominated the weekend, capturing four run-rule victories and outscoring opponents 47-2. The Sooners topped Northern Colorado 14-0 (five innings) and 10-0 (five innings) and Drake University 10-2 (six innings) and 13-0 (five innings) to preserve the top ranking in the poll. Following a 4-0 performance at their Diamond Devil Invitational, Arizona State moved up one spot in the poll to No. 2. The Sun Devils topped Pittsburgh 10-0 (five innings) and 8-2 and UC Davis 12-3 (five innings) before closing the weekend with a 6-0 win over New Mexico State. The Florida Gators (25-2, 2-1 SEC) moved up one spot to No. 3 this week, despite suffering a loss to unranked Auburn. The Gators started the week with an 8-4 win over then-No. 2 Alabama before opening Southeastern Conference (SEC) play with two wins (13-0 and 2-0) over Auburn and dropping a 5-4 decision to the Tigers.

Also moving up in the ranks this week is No. 4 California (20-2), while No. 5 Texas A&M (23-2, 1-1 SEC) continues to hold their place in the poll. Alabama (23-3, 1-2 SEC) dropped to No. 6 following a week of action in which the Crimson Tide suffered three consecutive losses. The Crimson Tide were dealt their first loss of the season by Florida, and then suffered back-to-back losses against then-No. 10 Tennessee (4-3 and 2-1). Alabama bounced back with a 7-1 win to close the three-game series with a 1-2 SEC record. With the wins, Tennessee (21-4, 2-1 SEC) jumped three spots to No. 7. Rounding out the Top 10 are No. 8 Missouri (10-2, 1-1 SEC), No. 9 Oregon (21-4) and No. 10 Texas (23-3).

No. 11 Louisville (20-3) continued their rise in the Top 25, jumping two spots from last week's poll. The Cardinals, host of the Red & Black Tournament in Louisville, Ky., were a perfect 4-0 on the weekend, collecting a 5-4 win over No. 14 Michigan (17-6), a 9-1 (six inning) win over Miami (Ohio) and a five-inning, 12-0 run-rule over Austin Peay before capping off the weekend with a 9-3 defeat of Illinois State.

Also collecting their highest ranking of the season are this week's No. 15 Baylor (22-3) and No.T21 Virginia Tech (15-2) and No. T21 Nebraska (16-5). The Bears swept their three-game series against Purdue and Nebraska nabbed two wins over Wichita State while the Hokies collected a 3-1 record at the Long Beach State Invitational in Lakewood, Calif., including a 2-1 win over then-No. 9 UCLA (22-4). Louisiana-Lafayette (16-9, 1-2 Sun Belt) suffered the biggest drop this week, slipping eight spots to No. 25 following a 1-4 week of play.

The Top 25 teams remained the same this week, with the SEC and Pac-12 represented by seven teams apiece, with the SEC leading with five Top 10 teams. The Big 12 has three teams in the Top 25, while the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big 10 have two teams each. Not to be forgotten are the Big East, Big West, Conference USA and Sun Belt Conference, who are represented by one team each in the Top 25.

The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA/USA Softball Regions as well as members of National and Local media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.