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Maryland baseball: Terps will open 2015 season as favorites to win the B1G (updated)

A flurry of preseason polls have been released and Maryland is ranked anywhere from #37 up to #14. What's not equivocal is that almost every poll picks the Terps as favorites to win the B1G title.

Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

It's cold, snow is falling, and the skies are persistently gloomy. In other words, it's only a few weeks until the college baseball season opens. Maryland's 2015 season starts on Friday, February 13. But the baseball oracles predict good fortune for the Terps.

Can history repeat?

Maryland baseball's historic 2014 season raised the bar for the program's expectations. It's no longer a matter of finishing with more than 30 wins overall or surpassing 10 wins in conference play. Now, the measuring stick is how far this team goes in the NCAA Tournament and its final national ranking.

However, not everyone is convinced of that, and ponder whether the 2014 team was an outlier. The skeptics point to Maryland's generational gap in NCAA post-season appearances, as well as the departure of some phenomenal players to professional baseball. Therefore, it is understandable that most pundits doing the 2015 preseason polls are a bit shy about placing Maryland in the Top 25.

But not all pollsters are hedging their bets. The D1 Baseball rankings place Maryland at #14. This is a notable accolade, as D1 Baseball now includes prominent writers such as Aaron Fitt (formerly of Baseball America) and Kendall Rogers (formerly of Perfect Game). It is the highest pre-season ranking ever for Maryland baseball. The #14 ranking would be consistent with hosting a Regional series in the NCAA tournament. Baseball America gives the Terps a lofty #16 ranking.

In aggregate, the preseason polls are consistent on two things: that the Terps stand a good chance of returning to NCAA Tournament, as well as being the favorite to win the B1G title. (Nebraska is the consensus #2 B1G team.) The table below gives the national ranking and B1G projection from six major polls (hyperlinked to the poll or appropriate article).



B1G Ranking

D1 Baseball



College Sports Madness



Collegiate Baseball



College Baseball Central

Terps not in top 25


Perfect Game



Baseball America



ESPN/Coaches Poll



There are still one or two polls that have not been released. I'll fill in in the table above as the polls become available.

The change of scenery going from the ACC to the B1G probably has had mixed effects on perception of the Terps. The B1G is not currently as competitive as the ACC in baseball. This would make vying for the conference title more obtainable. (Notwithstanding that Maryland was three innings away from winning the ACC Tournament last year.) On the other hand, Maryland's conference SOS will take a severe hit and affect the team's RPI.

Given all of the above, the question remains: Do the Terps deserve to be ranked among the baseball elite? On paper, which is what preseason polls are based on, the answer is yes. The 2015 squad is deeper than last year's exceptional team, most particularly in regards to pitching and catching. Furthermore, Maryland has a top-20 freshman class making their collegiate debut in a few weeks. Add to that the stellar summer ball played by numerous Terps, and there are the makings of a highly competitive team.

I'll be delving into the Terps' 2015 squad in two articles next week. Stay tuned.