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College  | Rankings  | 5/25/2020

The Field of 68

Mike Rooney     
Photo: Franci Burton
The night before Selection Monday is my favorite sleepless night of the year. It is my version of a young child’s Christmas Eve. And it just didn’t feel right to skip this tradition on top of everything else we have missed during the pandemic.

So we have undertaken the fun but impossible task of constructing a Field of 68. It is a Field of 68 (as opposed to 64) because we included the First Four concept that College Basketball has used for several years. The additional four teams were more than worthy of inclusion.  

Regarding the First Four, we would play those four single-elimination games in Omaha at TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday and Thursday. Those games would include the four lowest rated automatic qualifiers and the last four at-large teams.

Now why was this an impossible task? First, selecting just 64 teams is incredibly difficult under perfect conditions. On top of that, most teams had completed approximately 30% of their games. And I would argue the first part of a season is the least important part.  

Great teams get better as the season gets longer. Great teams shine in conference as they play their peers. Those things never got a chance to take shape.  

All that said, selecting a Field of 68 was, as always, a labor of love. The formula was as follows: what had we seen so far plus what did we think of those rosters plus what did we think was going to happen had the season panned out. In other words, we took a big guess!

One other change we implemented was the often talked about “32 Hosts” idea.  This format means that everything is a three-game series until the College World Series. In essence, a team would have to win three of those three-game series to get to Omaha. A First Round then a Second Round and then Super Regionals. Three weekends and a lifetime of memories.

So here goes. First we will list our Top 16 seeds. Then we will list the brackets in terms of the eight “pods” that will send eight very special teams to the College World Series. Enjoy!

Note: the teams in RED indicate Automatic Qualifiers.  

The Top 16 Overall Seeds:

1 UCLA   16 East Carolina
2 Florida   15 TCU
3 Louisville   14 UC Santa Barbara
4 Ole Miss   13 Clemson
5 Arizona State   12 Central Florida
6 Oklahoma   11 Miami (FL)
7 Mississippi State   10 Vanderbilt
8 Texas Tech   9 Georgia
The Brackets:
Los Angeles POD:
  Los Angeles, Ca  
1 UCLA (1) First Four game in Omaha:
4 XXXX NC A&T v Rider
  Iowa City, IA  
2 Iowa First Four game in Omaha:
3 XXXX South Carolina v Georgia Southern
  Greenville, NC  
1 East Carolina (16)  
4 Villanova  
  Durham, NC  
2 Duke  
3 East Tennessee State  
Gainesville POD:
  Gainesville, Fla  
1 Florida (2) First Four game in Omaha:
4 XXXX Sacred Heart v Alabama State
  Champaign, IL  
2 Illinois First Four game in Omaha:
3 XXXX Michigan v Wake Forest
  Fort Worth, TX  
1 TCU (15)  
4 San Diego  
  Tallahassee, FL  
2 Florida State  
3 Charleston  

Louisville POD:
  Louisville, KY  
1 Louisville (3)
4 Davidson
  Stillwater, OK  
2 Oklahoma State
3 UT Arlington
  Santa Barbara, CA  
1 UCSB (14)  
4 Navy  
  Auburn, AL  
2 Auburn  
3 Florida Atlantic  

Oxford POD:
  Oxford, MS  
1 Ole Miss (4)
4 Northwestern State
  New Orleans, LA  
2 Tulane
3 Southern Miss
  Clemson, SC  
1 Clemson (13)  
4 Hartford  
  Baton Rouge, LA  
2 LSU  
3 Arizona  

Phoenix POD:
  Phoenix, AZ  
1 Arizona State (5)
4 Grand Canyon
  Long Beach, CA  
2 Long Beach State
3 San Diego State
  Orlando, FL  
1 Central Florida (12)  
4 Wright State  
  Austin, TX  
2 Texas  
3 Indiana  

Norman POD:
  Norman, OK  
1 Oklahoma (6)
4 Kent State
  Dallas, TX  
3 Texas A&M
  Miami, FL  
1 Miami FL (11)  
4 Pennsylvannia  
  Knoxville, TN  
2 Tennessee  
3 West Virginia  

Starkville POD:
  Starkville, MS  
1 Mississippi State (7)
4 USC Upstate
  Raleigh, NC  
2 NC State
3 Pepperdine
  Nashville, TN  
1 Vanderbilt (10)  
4 Belmont  
  Atlanta, GA  
2 Georgia Tech  
3 Coastal Carolina  
Lubbuck POD:
  Lubbock, TX  
1 Texas Tech (8)
4 Omaha
  Fayetteville, AR  
2 Arkansas
3 Samford
  Athens, GA  
1 Georgia (9)  
4 Lipscomb  
  Charlottesville, VA  
2 Virginia