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Brian Stanley | NFCA | February 21, 2017

Florida State takes top spot in NFCA DI poll

  For the first time in program history, Florida State is the No. 1 team in the USA TODAY/NFCA DI Coaches Poll.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the first time in program history, Florida State is the No. 1 team in the USA TODAY/NFCA Division I Coaches Poll. The Seminoles (10-0), who are off to their best start since 2012, garnered 18 first-place votes and 776 points to leapfrog Auburn, which received 10 first-place votes and 762 points.

Since the poll’s inception in 1995, Florida State climbed as high as No. 2 in 2004, a spot it held for four weeks during regular season. Last week, the Seminoles won five contests, four via a shutout. Playing in the friendly confines of JoAnne Graf Field, FSU blanked Florida A&M 5-0 before sweeping through the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. After edging Northwestern 3-2, Florida State did not allow a run the rest of the weekend, shutting out the Huskies 7-0 and Nebraska 9-0 and 8-0.

The second-ranked Tigers (9-1), won all six of their contests. Following a 4-3 eight-inning victory over SIUE in their home opener, Auburn outscored its opposition 39-5 at its annual Plainsman Invitational.

RANKINGS: Full USA TODAY/NFCA Coaches Top 25

Last week’s No. 1 team, Florida, also opened up at home last week hosting the Aquafina Invitational. The Gators (10-1) finished 4-1 in the home-opening tournament, defeating Florida A&M 8-1, FIU 5-0 and Northwestern State twice 9-3 and 10-0, but they dropped a 4-2 decision to Maryland. In a midweek road contest, the Gators, who received  three first-place votes, blanked Jacksonville 6-0.

Staying at No. 4 is Oklahoma, who posted a 4-0 mark at Houston’s Rawlings Classic, which included a pair of eight-inning triumphs over the host Cougars 7-5 and 2-1, along with victories over Incarnate Word (14-0) and Ole Miss (11-8).

Jumping four spots to No. 5 is Oregon, who went 3-0 at the rain-shortened Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, including a win over No. 22 Kentucky, which saw the Ducks (9-0) rally from a 4-1 deficit in the final two innings.

UCLA, LSU and Washington remained at No. 6, 7 and 8. The Bruins (10-1) split with No. 22 Kentucky (6-2, 1-2 in 11 inn.) and went 4-0 at the Mary Nutter. The Tigers (9-1) swept through their competition at Tiger Park, including a 4-0 mark during the Purple & Gold Challenge. The Huskies' (7-1) weather-shortened week included three wins at the Campbell Cartier Classic and a mid-week victory over Long Beach State.

Arizona improved to 11-0 after a perfect 6-0 outing at its Wildcat Invitational and moved up a spot to No. 9 in the poll. Outside of a 2-1 win over North Dakota State, the Wildcats cruised to their other five wins, outscoring the opposition 54-3, including a 21-0 victory over Drake.

Rounding out the top 10 is Alabama, which fell five positions after dropping two of three at then-No. 18 Louisiana. The Crimson Tide won the opener 3-0 but dropped the final two games of the series at Lamson Park, 11-2 and 7-0. Alabama opened the week with a home win over South Alabama, 3-1. 

The Seminoles, Ducks and Wildcats are three of 10 undefeated programs in the top 25 this week led by No. 11 Georgia, which has won an NCAA-best 12 games to start the season. Also included in the group is No. 12 Minnesota (9-0), off to a program-best start, No. 15 Tennessee (9-0), No. 17 Utah (7-0), No. 18 Texas A&M (10-0), No. 19 Pittsburgh (9-0), which received one first-place vote and poll newcomer No. 21 Arizona State (9-0).

The USA TODAY/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.  Records reflect games played through Feb. 19.

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