Florida Men Projected Over Defending Champion Oregon in Final NCAA DI National Team Rankings
NEW ORLEANS – Florida’s men and Oregon’s men have combined to win NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field national team titles in five of the past six seasons.
If the final National Team Computer Rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday hold to form, that streak will likely extend to six of the past seven.
Florida is projected as the narrow favorite to win the NCAA title this weekend, March 13-14, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, over defending national champion Oregon – just as they were in the preseason rankings back in January.
Meanwhile, the Arkansas women were also announced as the pre-meet favorite. More on that here.
The Championships will be broadcast live on ESPN3, with a tape-delayed special on ESPNU the following weekend.
Those two teams remained in the same order as a week ago, followed by four more stationary teams in 2013 national champion No. 3 Arkansas, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 5 Texas and No. 6 Georgia. Arkansas and Texas A&M were ranked in that order in the preseason, as well.
Based on the computer projections, which utilize a different formula than the NCAA Championships points scoring system, the No. 1 Gators and No. 2 Ducks are the two most likely contenders for the NCAA Crown.
Florida checked in with a 190.55-point team total, while Oregon dropped slightly to 173.39 as not all of its distance runners entered in all of the events in which they were previously earning points. Only Arkansas (134.09 points) and Texas A&M (115.91 points) checked in with 100 points of Florida.
Those two schools are also the national leaders in championship meet entries with 14 and 13, respectively (see the full breakdown of entries here), but they’ll go for it in two very different ways.
Florida will employ a nation-best five sprinters (tied for the most with LSU) and a nation-best five jumpers with the hope of regaining the national title it last held in 2012 – which had been the third in a row.
Leading the charge for Florida will be two-time outdoor national champion horizontal jumper Marquis Dendy, who is the current top seed both in the long jump and triple jump. The Gators also have four men entered at 400 meters, including collegiate leader Najee Glass.
Oregon, meanwhile, is loaded in the distance events. The Ducks have five runners entered at 3000 meters alone, along with three more at 5000 meters, three in the mile and the nation’s fastest DMR.
Among those entries are two-time 2014 indoor champion Edward Cheserek and two-time 2015 collegiate leader Eric Jenkins.
Not only do both teams have a lot of entries, they both have a lot of highly seeded entries (check out the full breakdown of top-10 ranked entries here). Florida has more than anyone in the country with six entries seeded either No. 1 (two) or No. 2 (four). Oregon is among three others with five top-three entries each.
The Ducks have two top seeds from Jenkins, plus two more second seeds and a third seed.
It’s worth noting that both teams have room for improvement in the rankings. Defending 3k champion Cheserek is ranked just sixth on the descending order list, and the DMR team Oregon entered has a seed time at the bottom of the field (a different team ran the collegiate lead earlier this year).
Florida, meanwhile, has defending outdoor 200 meter champion Dedric Dukes ranked 16th, two-time All-American in 2014 Arman Hall ranked eighth at 400 meters, and outdoor 800-meter runner-up Ryan Schnulle No. 7.
The other two teams with five top-three entries are No. 3 Arkansas and No .4 Texas A&M. Arkansas has seven top-10 entries, while Texas A&M has six.
Historically, top-ranked men’s teams have fared well at the NCAA Championships. In five of the seven years of USTFCCCA Rankings, the pre-meet favorite has gone on to win the title later that week.
Last year, however, as a different story; a story in which both Florida and Oregon played key roles. Florida was the pre-meet favorite in the rankings going for their fourth title in five years. It was No. 6 Oregon, though, that emerged on top.
In the rest of the rankings, the first swap came between No. 7 Virginia Tech and No. 8 LSU. Nothing else changed in the order of teams until a No. 12-No. 13 swap between Nebraska and Oklahoma State.
Moving up the farthest was No. 16 South Carolina, which improved four spots.
USTFCCCA NCAA Division I
Men’s Indoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)
2015 Week #7 — March 9 (pre-championships)
|next ranking: final, NCAA Championships, March 13-14|
|Rank||Institution||Points||Conference||Head Coach (Yr)||Last Week|
|1||Florida||190.55||SEC||Mike Holloway (13th)||1|
|2||Oregon||173.39||MPSF||Robert Johnson (3rd)||2|
|3||Arkansas||134.09||SEC||Chris Bucknam (7th)||3|
|4||Texas A&M||115.91||SEC||Pat Henry (11th)||4|
|5||Texas||89.34||Big 12||Mario Sategna (2nd)||5|
|6||Georgia||86.61||SEC||Wayne Norton (16th)||6|
|7||Virginia Tech||83.67||ACC||Dave Cianelli (14th)||8|
|8||LSU||79.68||SEC||Dennis Shaver (11th)||7|
|9||Penn State||69.01||Big Ten||John Gondak (1st)||9|
|10||Texas Tech||66.87||Big 12||Wes Kittley (16th)||10|
|11||Alabama||63.86||SEC||Dan Waters (4th)||11|
|12||Nebraska||57.04||Big Ten||Gary Pepin (32nd)||13|
|13||Oklahoma State||55.99||Big 12||Dave Smith (7th)||12|
|14||Tennessee||50.91||SEC||Beth Alford-Sullivan (1st)||14|
|15||TCU||42.72||Big 12||Darryl Anderson (11th)||17|
|16||South Carolina||38.56||SEC||Curtis Frye (19th)||20|
|17||Southern California||38.30||MPSF||Caryl Smith Gilbert (2nd)||19|
|18||Baylor||38.27||Big 12||Todd Harbour (10th)||18|
|19||Colorado||37.41||MPSF||Mark Wetmore (20th)||22|
|20||Arizona State||37.24||MPSF||Greg Kraft (19th)||21|
|21||Illinois||36.83||Big Ten||Mike Turk (6th)||16|
|22||Georgetown||36.67||Big East||Patrick Henner (8th)||23|
|23||Akron||34.25||Mid-American||Dennis Mitchell (20th)||25|
|24||Iowa State||33.83||Big 12||Martin Smith (2nd)||27|
|25||Washington||33.58||MPSF||Greg Metcalf (13th)||24|
|dropped out: No. 15 Kansas State|
|View All Teams Beyond the Top 25|
|Men’s Conference Index Top 10|
|Rank||Conference||Points||Top 25 Teams|
|Men’s Regional Index Leaders (FINAL)|
|South Central||Texas A&M||436.33|
|View All Regional Rankings|