Vanderbilt the nation's real No. 1
The numbers show that the Commodores have an edge over Florida, UCLA and TCU
The first pitch of 2011 college baseball season won't be thrown until Friday, but rankings season is well under way.
In the past month, we've seen a variety of schools anointed the nation's best. The USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll named the UCLA Bruins No. 1, while Baseball America and Perfect Game USA picked the Florida Gators. Both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA awarded the top spot to the TCU Horned Frogs.
In all these rankings, the Vanderbilt Commodores are close to the top. The consensus seems to be that Vandy is a top-five squad, but not at the same level as the Bruins, Gators and Horned Frogs.
A deeper look at the numbers, however, shows that the consensus is wrong. The Commodores are the best team in the nation.
To see why the numbers say that Vanderbilt -- and not UCLA or Florida -- is college baseball's No. 1 team, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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Insider has assembled a team to expand college baseball coverage in 2011. ESPN columnists Ryan McGee, Jeff Bradley and draft expert Keith Law are joined by CollegeSplits.com's Jeff Sackmann and longtime expert Will Kimmey in breaking down the top trends and stories each week.