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NFCA.org | January 26, 2021

College softball rankings: UCLA takes top spot in preseason poll

All you need to know about the 2021 college softball season

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – UCLA was voted the unanimous No. 1 team in the 2021 USA Today / NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Coaches Poll. Receiving all 32 first-place votes, the Bruins enter the 2021 campaign where they left off a year ago as the top-ranked team in the final five polls before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season.

In 2020, UCLA posted a 25-1 mark and collected wins over seven nationally-ranked teams, while it posted an NCAA-best 13 shutouts (tied with Arizona State) along the way. The 2019 national champions have been ranked No. 1 15 times since April 24, 2018 and amongst the top five since the final 2017 poll.

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Pac-12 foes Washington (23-2) and Arizona (22-3) followed UCLA at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, and a fourth Pac-12 program, Oregon, came in at No. 10. The Southeastern Conference had three programs - No. 5 LSU (21-3), No. 7 Florida (23-4) and No. 8 Alabama (14-8) - in the top-10. The Big 12 is represented by league-favorite No. 4 Oklahoma (20-4) and No. 6 Texas (24-3). Ninth-ranked Louisiana (18-6) out of the Sun Belt Conference finalized the top-10.

In all, nine SEC programs entered the preseason nationally ranked, followed by the Pac-12 with five and the Big 12 with four. Joining the top-10 SEC teams are No. 13 Kentucky (20-4), No. 14 Georgia (23-5), No. 18 Arkansas (19-6), No. 19 South Carolina (17-6), No. 20 Mississippi State (25-3) and No. 23 Missouri (19-7). No. 16 Arizona State (22-7) is fifth Pac-12 institution. No. 11 Oklahoma State (19-5) and No. 22 Baylor (19-5) rounded out the Big 12 teams.

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The Atlantic Coast Conference is represented by No. 12 Florida State (17-7), No. 15 Virginia Tech (21-4) and No. 25 Duke. The Blue Devils, who raced out to a 23-4 start last season, are in the NFCA’s Top 25 for the first time in program history.

A pair from the Big Ten in No. 17 Michigan (15-8) and No. 24 Minnesota (15-9-1), along with No. 21 UCF (21-5-1), the American Athletic Conference preseason favorite, finalize the preseason rankings.

The 2021 USA Today / NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. 

Games through  Jan. 26, 2021

RANK

SCHOOL

POINTS

FINAL 2020 RECORD

FINAL 2020 RANKING

1 UCLA (32) 800 25-1 1
2 Washington 748 23-2 2
3 Arizona 717 22-3 4
4 Oklahoma 708 20-4 6
5 LSU 644 21-3 5
6 Texas 611 24-3 3
7 Florida 605 23-4 7
8 Alabama 588 14-8 10
9 Louisiana 565 18-6 8
10 Oregon 481 22-2 9
11 Oklahoma State 476 19-5 12
12 Florida State 403 17-7 12
13 Kentucky 359 20-4 11
14 Georgia 352 23-5 14
15 Virginia Tech 317 21-4 16
16 Arizona State 295 22-7 17
17 Michigan 264 15-8 18
18 Arkansas 244 19-6 19
19 South Carolina 227 17-6 15
20 Mississippi State 180 25-3 20
21 UCF 159 21-5-1 21
22 Baylor 147 19-5 23
23 Missouri 117 19-7 25
24 Minnesota 114 15-9-1 22
25 Duke 64 23-4 NR

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