Rivals Top 25: Texas tops preseason rankings

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Eight months after LSU beat Texas to win its sixth national title, the Longhorns are back on top of college baseball as the No. 1 team in the Rivals.com Top 25 to begin the 2010 season.

Photo Cameron Rupp and Texas hope to win their seventh national title.
(US Presswire)

Texas is expected to have an improved offense. But an exceptional pitching staff is what makes this team so special. The Longhorns welcomes back a trio of excellent starters in Taylor Jungmann, Cole Green and Brandon Workman. Chance Ruffin, who served as the Friday starter last season, is expected to be strong in his new role as closer.

LSU hopes to earn back-to-back national titles, but has a few questions on the mound. The Tigers have an ace pitcher in Anthony Ranaudo, but there is some uncertainty with the rest of the weekend rotation. Offense will not be a concern.

Other College World Series participants from last season present in our rankings this season include No. 2 Virginia, No. 4 Cal State Fullerton, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 15 Arkansas and No. 20 North Carolina.

The lack of representation from the Pac-10 and Big 12 is the biggest surprise in the rankings. The Pac-10 only is represented by Arizona State and Oregon State, while UCLA is on the cusp of the rankings. The Big 12 has Texas and Kansas.

Here are the conference breakdowns: SEC (6), ACC (6), Big 12 (2), C-USA (2), Pac-10 (2), Big West (2), WCC (1), Big East (1), Big Ten (1), Big South (1), Mountain West (1).

Records in the rankings do not include ties.

RIVALS.COM BASEBALL TOP 25
1. Texas – 2009 record: 50-16
The Longhorns could have one of the best pitching staffs this season with the return of a fantastic weekend rotation and a solid collection of relievers.
2. Virginia – 2009 record: 49-15
The Cavaliers made a statement last season with a College World Series appearance. Now, they want a national title with almost everyone back.
3. LSU – 2009 record: 56-17
The Tigers have some holes to fill, but return senior slugger Blake Dean and junior pitcher Anthony Ranaudo.
4. Cal State Fullerton – 2009 record: 47-16
The Titans welcome back a strong weekend rotation and a solid collection of relievers. Offense also will get a boost from Carlos Lopez and Corey Jones.
5. UC Irvine – 2009 record: 45-15
The Anteaters will be solid offensively, and the return of weekend starters Danny Bibona and Christian Bergman and closer Eric Pettis is huge.
6. Rice – 2009 record: 43-18
The Owls certainly have a few questions to answer on the mound, but there’s a good chance they have the nation’s best offensive lineup.
7. Florida State – 2009 record: 45-18
The Seminoles return another solid offensive lineup and have a very good weekend rotation. The bullpen, though, will determine their national title hopes.
8. Florida – 2009 record: 42-22
The Gators welcome back several important pitchers and a plethora of very solid hitters from a team that finished last season with a super regional berth.
9. Arizona State – 2009 record: 51-14
The Sun Devils had an offseason filled with turmoil, but look for them to rally behind senior left-handed pitcher Josh Spence. ASU won’t take a step back.
10. Georgia Tech – 2009 record: 38-19
The Jackets have one of the nation’s better offensive lineups and an ace pitcher in right-hander Deck McGuire. Tech’s title hopes hinge on the rest of the pitching staff.
11. East Carolina – 2009 record: 46-20
This is the year the Pirates finally could take a step forward and get to Omaha. They will have a productive offense and a solid pitching staff.
12. Louisville – 2009 record: 47-18
The Cardinals welcome back several fantastic hitters and a solid pitching staff even without former ace Justin Marks. UL very well could get to Omaha.
13. South Carolina – 2009 record: 40-23
The Gamecocks will have a productive lineup with or without Nick Ebert. But most impressive is the pitching staff appears to be in very good shape.
14. Clemson – 2009 record: 44-22
The Tigers will be vastly improved at the plate, but the pitching staff will be the unit to watch. Even with some key departures, pitching once again will be solid.
15. Arkansas – 2009 record: 41-24
The Razorbacks were one of the nation’s hottest teams at the end of last season. They hope to continue where they left off with the return of several talented hitters.
16. Coastal Carolina – 2009 record: 47-16
Could be a very big season for the Chanticleers. They will have a very good offense and a pitching staff led by Anthony Meo, Cody Wheeler and Brad Goldberg.
17. Oregon State – 2009 record: 37-19
This OSU team could be much better than its ranking. The Beavers welcome back six position starters and talented pitchers from a regional team.
18. San Diego – 2009 record: 29-25
The Toreros were held back last season because of injuries. This team will be much improved if it can stay healthy.
19. TCU – 2009 record: 40-18
The Horned Frogs welcome back one of the nation’s best pitching staffs, but offense is a concern with the departure of several key cogs.
20. North Carolina – 2009 record: 48-18
The Tar Heels could have issues scoring runs this season, but still are confident with the return of another talent-rich pitching staff.
21. Miami (Fla.) – 2009 record: 38-22
The Hurricanes have plenty of questions to answer at the plate, but will be carried by a very good pitching staff and the return of left-handed pitcher Eric Erickson.
22. Ohio State – 2009 record: 42-19
The Buckeyes have high expectations. They welcome back one of the nation’s better offensive lineups, but have some questions on the mound outside Alex Wimmers.
23. Georgia – 2009 record: 38-24
The Bulldogs have many fresh faces and have some key players to replace. But this team is talent-rich and has much motivation.
24. Mississippi – 2009 record: 44-20
The Rebels have plenty of question marks, but the return of ace pitcher Drew Pomeranz and a few offensive standouts will lead to success.
25. Kansas – 2009 record: 39-24
The Jayhawks have a chance to make a statement. They welcome back a solid offense and a pitching staff with much upside.

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com. Follow him on Twitter and follow Yahoo! Sports College Baseball on Facebook. Send Kendall a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Monday, Feb 1, 2010