Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Peace in Our Time? Part III: The Southeast About the author, Boyd Nation

Peace in Our Time? Part III: The Southeast

Publication Date: September 19, 2000


This is another in a series that I have agreed to do trying to compile a fairly comprehensive exploration of the evidence for the various sides in the never-ending debate over regional supremacy within the college baseball ranks. This week I begin by looking at the case for Southeastern dominance.

Using the same guidelines I used last week, I'm considering the Southeast to include teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, essentially the footprints of the SEC and ACC combined.

In contrast to the 31 teams in the West, this comes to 109 teams. Therein lies one of the problems with a direct comparison between the two regions; counting numbers don't work well in an environment where you're comparing vastly different-sized samples. Proponents of the Southeast generally claim that the fact that lower tier Southeastern conferences such as the SWAC or Big South choose to participate in Division I while the equivalent Western leagues stay in the NAIA or Division II does not alter the overall quality of play in the two regions; it just makes it harder to judge.

Proponents of the Southeastern supremacy argument claim, with some justification, that the game changed so much during the '90's due to an increase in fan base and national attention that any argument based on achievements before 1990 can be safely ignored.


For the period from 1990-2000, Southeastern teams won seven of the eleven College World Series titles, five for LSU, one for Miami, and one for Georgia. Countering the argument for Western diversity, three different teams won, equalling the number of Western teams during that period.

From a sheer numbers point of view, things look really good for the Southeast, although that's mostly just a matter of the number of good teams overall. Of the eighty-eight participants in Omaha since 1990, forty-four were Southeastern. (Just for the record, twenty-four were Western and twenty were Southwestern.) All three of the teams that made six or more appearances (in other words, more than half) were from the Southeast. The SEC is the only conference to ever send four teams to Omaha in the same year, in 1997.


There is an argument to be made that new facilities promote better baseball. They provide better training opportunities, they can influence better recruits to come, and they indicate a willingness on the part of the athletic administration at a school to support a sport.

Since the mid-1980's, there has been a considerable building spree going in the Southeast. For example, all six SEC West teams have either expanded or built new stadiums since 1989. The trend continues at a slightly lower pace throughout the SEC East and the ACC, as well as in mid-level conferences such as the Southland or the TAAC. While this is sometimes disparaged as "spending your way to the top", it does tend to produce better baseball.

Conference ISR's

It may be that the best hope to find truth in this ugly matter lies in good neutral ranking systems such as the ISR's, which attempt to take full advantage of things like games against common opponents to squeeze all the information out of the game results that we can.

Here are the top 10 conferences in the ISR's for the three years that they exist:

      1998          1999          2000

 1    SEC           SEC           SEC
 2    Pac 10        Big 12        ACC
 3    ACC           ACC           Pac 10
 4    Big 12        Pac 10        WAC
 5    WAC           MVC           Big 12
 6    MVC           WAC           CAA
 7    Big West      CAA           Sun Belt
 8    Big Ten       C-USA         WCC
 9    Sun Belt      Big West      MVC
10    C-USA         Big Ten       Big West

I'll mostly let these speak for themselves, but I do believe they favor the Southeast to a good extent, both for peak and depth.

Part of the reason for this is the lack of truly bad programs in the SEC; only Vanderbilt has not cracked the ISR top 40 for one of the last three years, and they usually land quite a bit ahead of Washington State and Oregon State. The bottom of the ACC is a bit more muddied, but it compares well to the bottom of the Pac-10, and does better than the bottom of the WAC, which essentially improved itself by lopping off it's lower half and still has a weak spot in its six-team lineup.

Once again, let me know what I've missed.

Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Peace in Our Time? Part III: The Southeast About the author, Boyd Nation