Thursday, April 14, 2011

The hierarchy among the nation's top college softball teams has been shaken up in the last week, so perhaps this weekend's games will help restore order. On the other hand, perhaps we'll just see more upsets!

Alabama, No. 1 in recent weeks, got swept at LSU last weekend in a three-game series, dropping the Crimson Tide to No. 3 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and No. 5 in USA Today/NFCA's. Granted, two of Bama's three losses were in extra innings (14 and 10 frames), but Tide fans must have some offensive concerns with only two runs scored in 31 total innings. Alabama will try to bounce back hosting Mississippi State for three over the weekend.

With no teams currently making a compelling case for No. 1 (in the present author's view), Arizona State has been handed the designation in both polls. Though 37-4 overall, the Sun Devils did not play the most challenging nonconference schedule and are an undistinguished 4-2 in Pac-10 play, having faced Cal and Oregon. UCLA (11/9 in the polls) will visit ASU this weekend. A couple of hours down the road, Washington (8/7) will be at Arizona (7/8).

Michigan, the consensus No. 2 team (but like ASU, without much fanfare), will play at Illinois this weekend. Texas (4/3), fresh off a stunning loss to Stephen F. Austin (who came in at 10-27), hosts Iowa State.