Florida Baseball: Gators scheduled better than Charleston. Stop the crocodile tears.

The Florida Gators have made the NCAA Tournament, much to the chagrin of fans around the country who want to see teams rewarded for playing weak schedules.
Cyndi Chambers Sports/Special to the

I wrote a piece yesterday highlighting the fact that Florida Baseball made it into the NCAA Tournament based upon their strength of schedule and and ability to stay north of .500 despite playing 31 Quad 1 opponents. Much of the commentary surrounding the Gators is that Florida only made it in because they had representation on the selection committee.

One team in particular seems to have the sympathy of the country and many feel they should have made the tournament ahead of Florida.

As I said yesterday, doing so would have set a dangerous precedent going forward.

Florida Baseball: Too Many Cupcakes

College of Charleston was left out of the NCAA Tournament despite having a 41-14 record and an RPI of 42. I want state up front something I've mentioned from time to time on this site and on X. I personally went to Winthrop University and ran cross country and track there. I'm quite familiar with Charleston and have a soft spot in my heart for fellow mid-major schools in the Carolinas.

After being left out of the tournament, Charleston head coach Chad Holbrook didn't hold back, saying that he felt his squad was robbed of a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Whether or not he was referencing Florida specifically, who in fact went 13-17 in SEC play, is something only he can answer. But many Charleston sympathizers seem to believe his squad got robbed and Florida was one of the major benefactors.

And it is true that a school like Charleston is at the mercy of their conference schedule, which limits their ability to get a top ranked strength of schedule like the Gators had.

This is why non-conference play also exists and where my sympathy for Charleston comes to an end.

College of Charleston had a non-conference strength of schedule of 177th in the country. Located within a reasonable drive of Charleston is South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, UNC, Wake Forest, Duke, ECU, and NC State.

But Charleston didn't play any of them in its non-conference slate, not even for a midweek game. Instead, it loaded up on 180th-ranked Penn, 190th-ranked Marshall, 195th-ranked Charleston Southern, 231st-ranked Citadel, and 284th-ranked Youngstown State.

To their credit they played 54th ranked Georgia Southern, taking two of three but also getting run ruled in the defeat. They also took on 28th ranked Nebraska and were swept.

If one wants to compare Charleston's resume to someone like UCF, Indiana, or Coastal Carolina, go for it.

But if the claim is to take Florida out and put Charleston in, are we supposed to believe that the squad who dropped a series to 166th-ranked North Carolina A&T would have held up against the 21st-ranked non-conference strength of schedule like the Gators had?

It turns out it is easy to rack up wins when a team doesn't have Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, and Georgia, among others, on its schedule and is given the ability to breathe and regroup after a tough series.

As a mid-major graduate myself, I do have some sympathy for Charleston. But the message from the tournament committee is clear, either go and beat some real teams or stop the crocodile tears.