Longhorns living large as postseason approaches
Conference championship season is upon us, which typically promises some exciting storylines and entertaining results. Yet the overall theme of the 2011-12 men's season seems to be a constant. For seven-plus months now the Texas men have been the most consistent squad in all the land, winning six times in nine starts and experiencing only a few hiccups along the way.
The question of whether they were peaking early seemed to be answered at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational, when the squad hung on against a motivated ASU squad, to take the title in a playoff. With Dylan Frittelli and Jordan Spieth duking it out for the team's MVP—the result of which is likely to determine the Big 12 and college player of the year award winners as well—there is still plenty on the line for Texas.
The real news isn't who is at the top of the poll, but who isn't at the bottom of the poll. As I hinted at in my Golf World Voices piece two weeks ago, Oklahoma State's record run of 91 straight appearances in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I coaches' poll (that's every edition since the poll was reinstated in 2001-02) was vulnerable given the Cowboys' No. 25 ranking in the previous two polls. Another mediocre finish, this time at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational, and a telling quote from coach Mike McGraw ("We're awesomely underachieving.") became self fulfilling when Oklahoma State disappeared from this week's ranking.
So then there was one, Georgia Tech being the only program to appear in every poll for more than a decade. Yet watch out Yellow Jackets fans: your team dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2010.
Two straight victories at the Bobcat Intercollegiate and the Buccaneer helped Barry U. remain the top-ranked squad in the Division II men's poll. The Buccaneers have three victories on the season along with four runner-up performances to help them earn 11 of the 16 first-place votes.
Methodist has won all four of its tournament starts since early March, helping vault them to the No. 1 spot in the D-III men's poll. The Monarchs claimed 13 of 16 first-place votes to unseat previous No. 1 Guiford, which dropped to the No. 2 spot.
After sharing the top spot with rival Oklahoma City in the last vote, Oklahoma Christian regained the No. 1 ranking all for itself in the latest NAIA men's poll. The Eagles have won five tournaments in 10 starts this season, finishing no worse than fourth in their other events.
Meridian and South Mountain held steady in the top spots of the NJCAA D-I and D-II polls, respectively. Meridian was the lone junior college in the field recently at the Arkansas State Red Wolf Classic, where they finished sixth in the 22-team field, beating nearly a dozen NCAA Division I schools. South Mountain recently played in a NCAA Division II tournament and turned in an impressive third-place finish.