Thursday, January 25, 2007

The USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association pre-season top 25 poll was released yesterday (see link to this poll on the right-hand side of this page).

A few weeks ago (a few entries down), I suggested that:

Based on returning talent, I'm looking for Arizona, Northwestern, and Tennessee (not necessarily in that order) to be the teams to beat in '07.

The USA Today/NFCA poll largely matches my prediction, except for the insertion of UCLA into the No. 3 spot ahead of Northwestern:

1. Arizona (23 first-place votes)
2. Tennessee (7)
3. UCLA
4. Northwestern
5. Arizona State

At the conclusion of last season, I listed several leading teams' players for whom 2006 was their senior year. Based on this list, I thought UCLA would fall somewhat from its customary national-title contention. Also, the transfer of the Bruin coaching reins from Sue Enquist to Kelly Inouye-Perez throws another wild-card into the mix. Still, though, UCLA returns some key players, including shortstop Jodie Legaspi and pitcher Anjelica "Jelly" Selden.

Several of the top schools have their own press releases, discussing their respective squads' pre-season rankings, as can be seen via the links to the team-specific pages.

Update: The pre-season edition of the other major national poll, that of ESPN and USA Softball, has the top teams ranked virtually identically to the USA Today/NFCA poll described above.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The University of Arizona's official athletic website has just come out with a season outlook piece for the defending NCAA champion Wildcats.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year! I'm looking forward to the second year of my college softball blog. If you're a regular from last year, welcome back, and if you've come across this page for the first time, glad to have you.

In looking over the team pages for the nation's top collegiate softball programs (see links along the right-hand side), Friday, February 9 appears to be the opening day of the 2007 season for many schools. Non-conference play in softball tends to center around tournaments in warm-weather climates. As they get closer, I will preview these tournaments.

Shortly after last season ended, I listed the outgoing seniors for what I considered the nation's top programs (click here for the June 2006 archive, then scroll down to June 13). Based on returning talent, I'm looking for Arizona, Northwestern, and Tennessee (not necessarily in that order) to be the teams to beat in '07.