The numbers are good for Washington, Clemson
Just a couple of days until the men start this year’s marathon race to the national title match. What a long week it’s going to be at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn. Three days of stroke-play qualifying followed by three days of match play surely will provide many twists and turns.
Last year, the lucky number was 14. That was the Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking of Texas A&M before the start of the NCAA Championship.
The Aggies tied for seventh place after 54 holes and were awarded the No. 7 seed. In the first round of match play, Texas A&M defeated No. 2-seeded Arizona State and then knocked off Georgia, the No. 8 seed, in the semifinals. In the championship match, Texas A&M went to the wire with 4th-seeded Arkansas before pulling out the victory with a Bronson Burgoon birdie on the final hole.
Golfweek/Sagarin Collegiate Rankings (spring season only)
2 Texas A&M
3 Oklahoma State
5 Augusta State
10 Southern California
11 Texas Tech
Who is that team with the lucky ranking number of 14 this year? Clemson.
Not a bad choice. The Tigers are coming off a second-place showing at the NCAA Southeast Regional, where it appeared they were going to take first place, but the top-ranked Cowboys pulled ahead for a two-shot victory.
For the past couple of years, I have run the Golfweek/Sagarin numbers using only the spring-season results. It paints a different picture because, sure, the fall season counts, but this is a better indicator of a team’s current form. It came as no surprise to me that this showed the Washington Huskies in the top spot.
Led by Hogan Award winner Nick Taylor, Washington was not all that far away from a perfect spring: 14 shots, to be exact. Matt Thurmond’s squad did not finish worse than third in eight tournaments this spring and won three times. If you were to give the Huskies 14 shots back in the four events they did not win, they would be perfect.
Washington brings a winning streak of two into the championship. Washington won the Pac-10 for the second consecutive season and then won the NCAA West Regional by 29 shots.
There you go. Take your pick: Washington or Clemson? It’s that easy to predict.