DALLAS (NCBWA) The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association continues its tradition of NCAA Division I polls for the 24th year with its 2021 inaugural and weekly surveys, and the Florida Gators top the initial preseason poll ahead of No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Vanderbilt.
Last year's NCBWA Division I Top 30 polls concluded March 16 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down college baseball, and Florida was the final No. 1 contingent with a 16-1 overall record. This is the Gators third time to receive the preseason No. 1 nod along with the 2021 and '18 seasons.
Vanderbilt was the preseason pick in both the 2019 and '20 polls and went on to win the most recent NCAA World Series in June 2019. The Commodores were the No. 1 pre-2015 choice and enter '21 as the two-year defending DI champions and finished the abbreviated 2020 season with a 13-5 overall record and No. 8 NCBWA ranking.
Previous No. 1 entries on the preseason NCBWA rankings have been LSU in the 1998, 2001 and 2009 polls, Southern California (1999), Miami (Fla.) (2000), Stanford (2002), Texas (2003, 06, 10), Rice (2004, 07), Cal State Fullerton (2005, 14), Arizona State (2008), North Carolina (2009), TCU (2011, 17), Florida (2012, 18, 21), Arkansas (2013), and Vanderbilt (2015, 19, 20).
Fellow frequent NCAA World Series contestant No. 3 UCLA won its first NCAA baseball crown 2013 while traditional powers No. 4 Texas Tech and No. 5 Ole Miss round out the Top Five pre-2021 choices. Four different circuits are represented among the Top 10 teams.
There are eight conferences represented in the 35-team survey with the Southeastern leading the way with 12 squads. The Atlantic Coast Conference is next with nine schools in the Top 35. Last year there were 15 different conferences represented in two months of NCBWA surveys.
The 2021 poll voters come from among 40 college baseball writers and related media persons from throughout the nation. After a preseason Top 35 listing, the remainder of the polls will feature a national Top 30 beginning with the Feb. 22 NCBWA DI regular season poll.
The '21 season will feature 298 NCAA Division I baseball-playing schools. For more information or to join the NCBWA, please go to ncbwa.com.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. Members receive a membership card, directory, newsletter updates and official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. The NCBWA also sponsors Division I Players of the Week, the Stopper of the Year, and publication and writing contests.