There are a few people in Alabama this week not real happy with the NCAA softball selection committee.
The Crimson Tide have a great softball program and won the Southeastern Conference regular-season race by four games.
It’s a huge weekend for both the UL softball and baseball programs for different reasons.
But supposedly they played a weaker schedule before conference play, so their RPI was lower than usual and therefore got a No. 8 overall seed.
To many Alabama fans, that’s ridiculous.
And they are right.
But you know, maybe it’s going to take more of this kind of silliness to powerhouse programs to change the way college selection committees evaluate teams.
After all, the top mid-major programs have been dealing with getting shortchanged for years.
It’s just a matter of applying a little common sense, folks.
It’s OK to use the RPI, but there’s no reason to become slaves to it.
Committee members need to think, see the big picture and apply logic to treat teams fairly.
The head coach part of UL softball coach Gerry Glasco was elated with how his No. 7-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns won each game in the Sun Belt Confere…
If some program out of the blue starts a season 25-0 against a really weak schedule, certainly the RPI should limit their opportunities. That team shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt.
Even if its preconference schedule is weaker than normal, that obviously didn’t mean what a lower RPI is supposed to reveal. Alabama dominated the SEC race.
That same logic applies to mid-major powers like UL and James Madison as well.
Because James Madison is only in the Colonial Athletic Association and doesn’t have the strength of schedule an SEC power inherits before the season opener also doesn’t mean it can’t compete with elite teams in May … or that it deserves to be disrespected by the committee.
The No. 7-ranked UL Ragin' Cajuns softball team will be headed to Oxford, Miss., for the NCAA regionals.
What the NCAA selection committee did to Alabama might have been silly. What it did to James Madison was absolutely disgraceful.
James Madison is 47-7 and riding a 19-game winning streak. This isn’t a new kid on the block. James Madison has been to seven straight NCAA regionals.
Programs like James Madison are told to play tough preconference schedules. The Dukes beat NCAA tournament teams like Tennessee, Michigan and Drake early on. They traveled across the country to lose competitive games like 8-6 in eight innings at Arizona and 6-4 at Arizona State, as well as to Minnesota.
They didn’t run from power programs, and they competed with all of them.
So what do they get?
James Madison was the only top 16 RPI team not to host. Honestly, that part doesn’t even bother me.
The truly awful thing the committee did was put the Dukes at Michigan and then in the same bracket as No. 2 UCLA.
The NCAA softball regional brackets will be announced 8 p.m. Sunday.
In other words, they gave James Madison no chance to reach the Women’s College World Series.
Shame on each member of the committee with zero sense of justice.
Alabama will be fine. Matched up with No. 9 Texas, the Crimson Tide will likely return to Oklahoma City. They will get their chance.
James Madison doesn’t.
So many fans and media around the country miss the boat every year.
They talk about “protecting” the higher seeds. They aren’t the only teams in the field that deserve a few nods.
If, you don’t want the James Madisons of the world to host, fine. But don’t put them in unwinnable brackets. That’s just spitting on their graves.
It’s incredible how many — from committee members all the way to fans — just don’t get what’s important.
For example, some anti-power five fans were upset about Kentucky with 22 losses getting a No. 14 seed. That’s looking at it wrong.
If this was Kentucky’s first rodeo, sure the novelty of hosting a regional would be nice and worth it.
But Kentucky’s been to Oklahoma City. They’re goal is to get back, not host a regional.
These days, UL senior third baseman Kara Gremillion doesn’t even want to consider the future.
The proper way to view it is, Kentucky lost 22 games and therefore got “sentenced” to being in the same bracket as No. 3 Washington. Northwestern didn’t get a break by hosting the No. 16 regional. It got the No. 1 Oklahoma bracket.
Yes, somebody’s got to go to Oklahoma and UCLA. But it shouldn’t be teams with top 16 RPIs who play legitimate schedules and win 47 games.
In these parts, a few UL Ragin’ Cajuns fans were hoping to host a regional. This program is about getting to Oklahoma City.
Hosting a regional and then getting exiled to Oklahoma, UCLA or Washington is useless.
The Cajuns were given a fair shot in No. 11 Ole Miss and then potentially at No. 6 Arizona … just like a program that’s won 50 games and played in all but one NCAA regional since 1990 deserves.
So certainly listen to Alabama’s beef. It’ll includes some good points.
But it’s James Madison that truly deserves your pity.