LSU and South Carolina were omitted from our list because both schools have ballparks that still are under construction.As for the ones that did make the list:
Baum Stadium – Arkansas
Baum Stadium is the palace of college baseball stadiums. Though many schools now are building new stadiums, they still are playing catch up with the Razorbacks. When Baum Stadium was erected in 1996, it was the class of college baseball. Not much has changed, as the capacity currently is 10,500 and luxury suites extend from the left-field foul pole to the right-field foul pole. Arkansas fans also pack the house rain or shine and provide a premier home-field advantage for their baseball program. Everyone aspires to have a facility like the University of Arkansas.
Polk-Dement Stadium -- Mississippi State
No school blows out a postseason party in a regional or super regional quite like Mississippi State. While the Bulldogs struggle to fill the stands until the weather warms up, Polk-Dement Stadium is an excellent venue to watch a game. In addition to a roomy grandstand, the Bulldogs also have what is called the "Left-Field Lounge", where patrons line the outfield wall with barbeque pits, coolers and whatever else they can get in their possession. The official capacity for the stadium, including outfield seating, is 15,000. Those that watched the Starkville super regional two seasons ago know exactly what the Bulldogs are about at Polk-Dement Stadium.
Oxford-University Stadium -- Ole Miss
Ole Miss has one of the hidden gems in college baseball. Though observers in the Southeastern part of the country know about the great atmosphere at Oxford-University Stadium, people nationally just now are getting a taste of what the Rebels are about. O-U Stadium holds about 3,500 spectators in the main grandstand, but thousands of fans often line the grassy areas down the left and right field lines and the outfield. In 2005, a record 10,119 fans were in attendance as the Rebels played Alabama. Ole Miss currently is in the midst of a renovation campaign that will increase grandstand seating.
Plainsman Park – Auburn
When the Tigers decided to renovate their facility in 1996, many schools, including Baylor, took notice of the project. Plainsman Park is one of the nation's best stadiums and has a wonderful façade to go with a cozy atmosphere. Plainsman Park has a capacity of 4,096 fans. However, the record attendance for a single-game was set in 2002, as 4,715 fans packed the stadium to watch Auburn play LSU. Recently, the Tigers have installed a new drainage system for the playing surface and a state-of-the-art strength and rehabilitation center. Auburn certainly is a trendsetter.
* ESPN has their first Bracketology up for the 2008-09 season and Lunardi projects just 5 SEC teams to dance this year:
I’ll throw out that Ole Miss will make the tournament in the form of an 8-10 seed as well. They’ve been on the bubble the last two seasons and will pull it through this year. Lunardi projected them back in April in his first post-tourney Bracketology listing, so I’m not sure why they dropped.
Hard to believe the season kicks off in earnest this weekend. I’ll get a preview up sometime next week.