Bomber's resume report

As the 2008 baseball season heads down the final stretch, where do the Aggies stand in regard to positioning for the postseason? Aggie Websider's Lanny Hayes takes a look at the Aggies' resume in the first installment of this new weekly feature begins today!

Our weekly "Resume Watch" begins with a look at the Aggies through their first 41 games, including 18 in Big 12 play. There are 15 regular season games left to play, nine of which are in league play, plus at least three games in the Big 12 tournament.

The NCAA selection committee uses a large set of data when determining the field, 1-4 seeds, and the coveted eight national seeds. Commonly known as the "Nitty Gritty Report," it provides each team's overall and conference record, RPI, non-conference record and RPI, Road Record, Performance in Last 15 Games, and record vs RPI tiers.

The analysis you see here is based upon years of watching how the committee works, and a line-by-line delineation of the strengths and weaknesses in the A&M resume.

Overall Record: 34-7
With the fifth best record in college baseball, it's hard to say that A&M could do a lot more here. Early season losses to Northern Colorado keep this from being a ridiculously gaudy 36-5, plus dropping a Rutgers game that the Ags seemed to have well in hand that further keeps them from 37-4. These losses are the worst on A&M's resume, but they came early enough in the year (specifically the UNC losses) that the committee is likely to largely ignore them.
Bomber's Pick: National Seed Worthy

RPI: #22
If any number is really biting A&M's resume, it's this one. Strength of schedule out-of-conference (as discussed below) is a large hindrance on this number, but the team themselves can only play who's on the schedule, and have done more than what could have realistically been expected of them. The Aggies' RPI number is really being supported by their winning percentage of .8293, which accounts for 25% of the RPI (.207 of their .596 total, making 25% of the recipe supporting nearly 35% of the result). Such a high winning percentage does mean that it's easier for it to go down (for example, a 2-1 weekend vs Missouri would lower the winning percentage to .818, thus dropping its impact on the overall RPI to .2045), but the quality of teams being played down the stretch (beginning with a Top 40 RPI team in Missouri) should help the remaining RPI components and sustain A&M's rating.
Bomber's Pick: #2 Seed, traveling for regional play.

Conference Record: 15-3 in #4 RPI Conference
A&M started league play with a 3-3 mark but have swept four straight since then. Fans initially pointed at the Texas Tech and Saturday OSU losses as games that the team really needed to win, but it's difficult to get greedy with an .833 conference winning percentage. As it sits today, this is a truly outstanding mark and success in the final nine games (and even a slightly lower level of success) should pay dividends.
Bomber's Pick: National Seed Worthy

Non-Conference Record and RPI: 19-4, #54
Aggie fans may be a bit spoiled by last year's ridiculous 28-2 record outside of Big 12 play, but this year's mark is also quite impressive. Last year's team did have the #1 Non-Conference RPI, a number that they rode to a host spot, but this year's team cannot hang its head on that due to a lower strength of schedule. The lower SOS mark is a combination of lighter scheduling plus teams who were strong in '07 (when they were scheduled, such as Ohio State, Arkansas, and Rutgers) having less competitive 2008 campaigns.
Bomber's Pick: #2 Seed, traveling for regional play.

Road Record: 8-2
Those who listened to the A&M/Baylor series through Baylor's radio network heard the Bear announcers continually point out the Ags have played just ten games on the road. That's an easy swipe to take, but A&M's results away from Olsen have not been easy to accomplish. The only two losses were in Stillwater, 3-2 and 6-4, and the wins include one against the University of Houston that will earn the Aggies a small number of RPI bonus points in the end. This type of record is typical amongst the Top 3 RPI teams in the nation (Miami, Florida State, and North Carolina) who are perceived a shoe-ins for national seeds. A pair of wins in Lincoln plus closing out the remaining mid-week OOC games (all on the road, vs Sam Houston, TCU, and UTA) can easily make this national-seed worthy.
Bomber's Pick: #1 Seed

Last 15 Games: 14-1
Other than laying an egg against Rice, the Aggies have done everything right in the last few weeks. A&M will be hard-pressed to maintain this lofty figure, but a 10-5 number in the last fifteen (given the strength of schedule) should be enough to keep them in the national seed hunt.
Bomber's Pick: National Seed Worthy

Record vs RPI Tiers: 1-3 vs Top 25, 9-3 vs Top 50, 13-3 vs Top 75, 17-4 vs Top 100, 27-7 vs Top 150
The mark against Top 25 clubs isn't particularly impressive, especially compared to teams perceived to be strong national seed contenders, but the Aggies have an opportunity to improve with three games against #14 Nebraska and another trio against potential Top 25 Dallas Baptist (currently #28). The Top 50 and 75 record is fringe national-seed worthy, while the Top 100 record is one of the nation's best winning percentages against that tier.
Bomber's Pick: #1 Seed

The Last Word:
If it all ended today, A&M would certainly be on the fringe of a national seed and would be very likely to be hosting. Very few teams have a consensus national seed resume, and 2008 is no exception with only four or five teams considered "locks" at this point.

If the Aggie RPI were 7-8 spots higher, it would be likely that the other stats would carry that number and provide one of the final national seeds. Given the quality of the remaining schedule, A&M should officially lock up a host spot with four mid-week and four-league wins (final records of 42-14, 19-8), while just one more of each (43-13, 20-12) puts them on the edge of national seed consideration.

The Aggies may have some recent precedent on their side when it comes to the RPI struggles and a national seed. In 2005, Nebraska ran away with the Big 12 regular season title and had a gaudy overall record, but a lower non-conference SOS cost them in the RPI – finishing a relatively paltry #17. The selection committee, in a historically rare feat, somewhat ignored that figure and awarded the #4 national seed to the Huskers based upon the rest of the resume. According to Boydworld.com, A&M needs a 12-3 finish to end with a Top 8 RPI (which would certainly sew up a National Seed), and a 10-5 mark to secure a Top 16 spot. If the final record is closer to 10-5 than 12-3, the Aggies will need something to hang their hat on, and a championship may be just enough

Bomber's Pick: A&M earns a national seed by wining the Big 12 regular season outright plus four of six remaining non-conference games.




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