There is no truth to the rumor that by the time you stop reading this, the California men will have won another title.
The Golden Bears' winning ways (10 titles/12 starts) in 2012-13 will make this a year to remember regardless of their postseason showing. Of course, should they hold form and win an NCAA title, the number of memories will increase exponentially, not to mention the number of comparisons to the game's all-time great programs.
Here's a look at the Division I top 25 as we enter NCAA men's regionals week.
California likely has other things on its mind this afternoon as the Golden Bears attempt to claim the Pac-12 men's title at Los Angeles CC—they enter today's final round with a two-stroke edge on UCLA. They can be satisfied, however, that they remain the consensus pick as the No. 1 ranked program in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Division I coaches' poll.
Steve Desimone's squad, winners of nine of their 11 starts, earned all 21 first-place votes to remain ahead of No. 2 Alabama, the recently crowned SEC champs.
Alabama kept its place at No. 2. The Crimson Tide earned the other four first-place votes after claiming the title at the Aggie Invitational, their fifth team title of the 2012-13 season.
Rounding out the top five are New Mexico, Texas and UCLA.
Forget for a moment the number 1. The metric by which to measure the California men's golf team, ranked atop the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Division I coaches' poll, these days is something different.
What's so special, you ask, about 71.56? How about that it's the current stroke average of the Golden Bears' fifth-best player in 2012-13, Michael Weaver, the U.S. Amateur runner-up who will be playing in the Masters in two weeks.
Indeed, four other players on the Cal roster have stroke average's lower than Weaver, who by the way ranks T-29 for all Division I players.
Here is how the rest of the team stacks:
Michael Kim, 69.93, No. 2 in the nation
Joel Stalter, 70.33, No. 6
Brandon Hagy, 71.26, No. 17
Max Homa, 71.40, No. 24
Meanwhile, Cal's team individual average is 71.33, more than a stroke better than No. 2 Alabama's (72.36).
A few other notes from the most recent polls:
So much for looking mortal. When California finished third at the Arizona Intercollegiate, the first time the team hadn't claimed at least a share of a title during the 2012-13 season, many wondered if this would cause the team to sputter with the momentum from the fall semester gone.
Yet with a third-straight victory at the John Burns Intercollegiate last week, and by a whopping 27 strokes, the Golden Bears easily managed to retain their spot atop the first Golf World/Nike Golf Division I men's coaches' poll. Steve Desimone's squad earned 21 of the 23 available first-place votes.
California's dominance in the fall, winning or sharing the team title in all five of its starts, made the Golden Bears the easy choice as the No. 1 team in the final Golf World/Nike Golf Division I coaches' poll. Steve Desimone's squad claimed all 21 first-place votes to be the unanimous choice to close out the first half of the 2012-13 season.
Joining Cal as the top team in the land are Nova Southeastern, Oglethorpe, Texas Wesleyan, Odessa and South Mountain, each squad earning the No. 1 ranking in the Division II, III, NAIA and NJCAA D-I and D-II polls. Texas Wesleyan is the only new school to sit atop the ranking in any of the polls, taking the NAIA top spot after being ranked No. 2 in the previous poll and No. 4 in the preseason poll.
For a look at all the schools in the final fall rankings ...
After California's victory at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, the Golden Bears easily retained their No. 1 ranking in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf men's coaches' poll, earning 24 of the 25 available first-place votes.
There are few things to note from the latest poll.
The best part about the men's college golf season to date is the fact that the teams everybody expected to be the top contenders started the season trying to make a statement. It's why you'll see with the newest Golf World/Nike Golf men's Division I coaches' poll that all the schools ranked in the top five of the Sept. 3 preseason poll are still in the top five in the newest edition.
That said, there has been a little movement right at the top:
For the first time since the resumption of the poll at the start of the 2001-02 season, California is ranked No. 1. The Bears opened with a victory at the Gopher Invitational and then shared the team title with Georgia Tech at the Ping/Golfweek Preview.
A few interesting points to take from this week's poll:
Returning NCAA player of the year Justin Thomas and two other All-Americans in Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett for the 2012-13 college season, Alabama claims the No. 1 spot in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I preseason men's coaches' poll. The Crimson Tide, hard-luck runner's up at last year's NCAA Championship, earned 13 of the 23 available first-place votes. It's the first time the school has been ranked atop the Golf World polls since the close of the 2007-08 season and the first time since the polls were revived in 2001-02 that the team is No. 1 to start the fall.
With the Alabama women's team also being No. 1 in the Golf World/NGCA women's preseason coaches' poll, it marks the second time since Golf World revived the polls in 2001-02 that the same school starts the season atop by the men's and women's polls.
Defending NCAA champion Texas, with eight first-place votes, claimed the No. 2 spot in the ranking. The Longhorns won the national championship last June at Riviera CC, the first time the school had claim college golf's top prize in 40 years.
Pac-12 champion California, an NCAA semifinalist in 2012, earned the third spot. The Golden Bears had four players reach match play at the recent U.S. Amateur Championship, including runner-up Michael Weaver.
Rounding out the top five are UCLA and Washington. The Bruins must replace Patrick Cantlay, the 2011 NCAA player of the year who turned pro this past summer, while the Huskies are led by senior Chris Williams, the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Here's a look at the teams that been No. 1, and the number of times they've held that ranking:
Oklahoma State, 26
Georgia Tech, 5