Duck Softball: Highest preseason ranking ever

Duck Softball: Highest preseason ranking ever
Oregon's Hannah Melick gets a hit against Arizona State during a Women's College World Series softball game in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

EUGENE – Coming off a record-breaking season, the University of Oregon softball team landed its best-ever preseason ranking in the NFCA-USA Today preseason rankings.
 
The World Series returnee and No. 5-ranked Ducks matched their year-end position from 2012 and were one of three Pac-12 teams in the top five overall.
 
No. 3 California and No. 4 Arizona State also received their same rankings from the end of last season, and four other league members also stood top 25 (No. 13 Arizona, No. 16 Washington, No. 19 UCLA and No. 21 Stanford).
 
Last year’s national champion (Alabama) and runner-up (Oklahoma) held the overall No. 1 and 2 positions going into their 2013 season opener in two weeks.
 
Other teams in the top 10 included No. 6 Tennessee, No.7 Texas, No. 8 Missouri, No. 9 Georgia and No. 10 LSU.
 
Glancing at the entire poll, the Ducks will face 12 teams from the preseason top 25 this year, thanks to five non-conference tilts vs. No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 10 LSU, No. 14 Florida, No. 15 Michigan and No. 17 Texas A&M.
 
One other Duck opponent – Oregon State – also received votes.
 
A complete list of NFCA preseason rankings is listed below, and more information on NFCA polls is available at the https://nfca.org/index.php/polls  address.
 
UO was ranked top 20 in the preseason for the third straight season after it stood No. 16 in ’12 and No. 14 in ’11. Oregon’s five rankings in other NFCA opening editions since 1995 follow: 2008 (20th), ’06 (22nd), ’04 (16th), ’01 (20th) and ’99 (25th).
 
The Ducks come off their second-ever WCWS trip and their second-most wins ever (45). UO beat every Pac-12 rival for the third time in school history, and its 13-9 Pac-12 mark earned a second straight third-place conference finish. Oregon also went 25-15 against NCAA tourney advancers, and 16-13 vs. top-25 teams in 2012.
 
Altogether, Oregon has now been ranked for 36 straight polls by the NFCA, and its week-by-week USA SB/ NFCA rankings in that stretch follow: 2013 – Preseason NA/5th. 2012 - Preseason 11th/16th, 2/14 19/19, 2/21 21/19, 2/28 18/18, 3/6 15/18; 3/13 14/17; 3/20 15/17; 3/27 16/17; 4/3 17/18; 4/10 15/19; 4/17 14/18; 4/25 15/16; 5/2 12/13; 5/9 12/13; 5/16 12/12; 6/12 5/5. 2011 - Preseason 14th/14th, 2/15 14th/14th, 2/22 13th/13th, 3/2 13th/13th, 3/9 15th/14th, 3/16 16th/15th, 3/23 15th/16th, 3/30 14th/15th, 4/5 15th/16th, 4/12 17th/17th, 4/19 19th/21th, 4/26 16th/19th, 5/3 12th/17th, 5/10 11th/14th, 5/17 11th/12th, 6/15 14th/15th. 2010 - 3/8 25th/-; 3/15 25th/-; 3/22 21st/-; 3/29 21st/ RV; 4/5 17th/ RV; 4/12 17th/23rd; 4/19 18th/20th; 4/26 19th/20th; 5/3 20th/22nd; 5/5 20th/22nd; 5/10 21st-t/22nd; 6/15 14th/14th.
 
In two weeks, the Ducks kick off the season vs. Western Michigan on Thursday, February 7 in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
 
In the four weeks following, UO then travels to tournaments in Las Vegas (Louisville Slugger Classic, February 15-17), Palm Springs, Calif. (Cathedral City Classic, February 22-24), Orlando, Fla. (Citrus Classic, March 1-3) and Fresno, Calif. (Bayer Cropscience Classic, March 8-9),
 
Oregon’s first home tilt is against returning New Mexico on Wednesday, March 13, and its first Pac-12 series is at home vs. Stanford, Saturday-Monday, March 23-25.


USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll  (1/22/13)

http://nfca.org/top25/index.php?cat_id=1
Rk    Team    Record    Totals    Prev
1    Alabama (25)    60-8    765    1
*2    Oklahoma (5)    54-10    745    2
*3    California (1)    58-7    704    3
*4    Arizona State    53-11    684    4
> 5    Oregon    45-18    635    5
6    Tennessee    52-14    626    6
7    Texas    47-13    534    9
8    Missouri    47-14    496    11
9    Georgia    45-17    490    10
*10    LSU    40-25    475    7
11    Louisiana-Lafayette    53-6    429    12
12    South Florida    50-14    423    8
*13    Arizona    38-19    406    13
*14    Florida    48-11    342    18
*15    Michigan    42-17    326    15
*16    Washington    39-19    316    14
*17    Texas A&M    41-18    296    19
18    Louisville    55-5    255    17
*19    UCLA    36-20    216    20
20    Hofstra    42-15    203    16
*21    Stanford    40-19    183    21
22    North Carolina    43-15    102    24
*23    Hawai'i    44-9    89    22
24    Baylor    34-22    80    RV
25    Florida State    47-16    58    RV

Others Receiving Votes: Notre Dame (43), Georgia Tech (29), Syracuse (27), Kentucky (23), *Oregon State (22), Texas Tech (12), Virginia Tech (11), DePaul (10), Northwestern (5).

-The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by NCAA Division I head coaches representing each conference. First-place votes are in parentheses.

* Denotes Duck opponents in 2013