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2014 Purdue Baseball: Boilers Face Four Preseason Top 25 Teams

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Boiler Baseball will face three teams from last year's College World Series.

The First ESPN/USAToday College Baseball poll is out and Purdue, who was a poll regular two seasons ago, is not ranked at all. It will have a very, very tough schedule, however, that will allow for a possible return to the NCAA Tournament if Purdue can put together wins.

Here is the coaches' Preseason Top 25:

1 Cal State Fullerton (18) 51-10 729 10
2 LSU (6) 57-11 683 6
3 Oregon State 52-13 648 4
4 Mississippi State (4) 51-20 632 2
5 Florida State 47-17 595 13
6 Virginia 50-12 560 11
7 Oregon 48-16 541 15t
8 Vanderbilt 54-12 538 9
9 North Carolina State 50-16 533 5
10 UCLA 49-17 490 1
11 Indiana 49-16 484 7
12 North Carolina 59-12 450 3
13 Louisville 51-14 429 8
14 South Carolina 43-20 416 12
15 Rice 44-20 274 15t
16 Clemson 40-22 248 25
17 Miami (Fla.) 37-25 240 NR
18 Oklahoma State 41-19 220 21
19 Arizona State 37-22-1 198 19t
20 Florida 29-30 181 NR
21 Kansas State 45-19 118 14
22 Texas 27-24 95 NR
23 TCU 29-28 93 NR
24 Louisiana-Lafayette 43-20 88 NR
25 Stanford 32-22 84 NR

Others receiving votes: Arizona (34-21) 77; Texas A&M (34-29) 71; Oklahoma (43-21) 66; Mississippi (38-24) 60; Cal Poly (40-19) 47; Arkansas (39-22) 44; Alabama (43-20) 26; San Diego (37-25) 21; Florida Atlantic (42-22) 15; East Carolina (31-26) 14; Georgia Tech (37-27) 9; Western Carolina (39-20) 7; Liberty (36-29) 6; New Mexico (37-22) 6; Southern Mississippi (30-27) 6; North Carolina-Wilmington (38-23) 5; Coastal Carolina (37-23) 4; Nebraska (29-30) 4; Central Florida (29-30) 3; Notre Dame (34-24) 3; Virginia Tech (40-22) 3; St. John's (23-35) 2; Troy (42-20) 2; Wichita State (39-28) 2; Baylor (27-28) 1; Bryant (45-18-1) 1; South Alabama (43-20) 1; Tulane (30-28) 1; UC-Santa Barbara (35-25) 1.

Purdue faces four teams in the preseason top 25. From march 7-9 Purdue visits No. 2 LSU for a three-game series in which a single victory would be huge. On May 2-4 the Boilers will visit No. 11 Indiana as the in-state rivalry returns after a two-year absence. The last game had some fireworks, as a brawl broke out in the the 2012 Big Ten Tournament Championship game between the two. In 2012 Purdue was the darling of the Big Ten and hosted a regional. Last season it was Indiana's turn, only they won their regional and Super Regional to become the first Big Ten team to reach Omaha in 30 years.

Purdue has a third road series against a ranked team the second weekend of the year when the boilers visit No. 15 Rice for three games from February 21-23. Rice won a regional last season, but fell to North Carolina State in a Super Regional.

The last game against a ranked team will be at Alexander Field on April 8 as Purdue hosts No. 13 Louisville. Consequently, all three ranked teams that Purdue faces played in last year's College World Series.

In terms of last year's NCAA teams Purdue plays at Illinois for three games on March 28-30.

Purdue went 17-34 last season and 6-18 in the Big Ten, but in future seasons (read: when Rutgers and Maryland join) the Big Ten Tournament is expected to expand from six to eight teams. The Big Ten is also far better now, as Nebraska, Michigan State, and Ohio State were all in the running for at large bids last season.

The season begins two weeks from Friday with a game against Nebraska-Omaha at Tennessee.