A potential change to how RPI factors into postseason chances could definitely benefit the Nebraska Cornhuskers in future seasons.
Despite being near the top of the Big Ten standings, it was clear right from the start of the conference tournament that the Nebraska baseball team needed to win the whole thing in order to make the NCAA regionals. The reason the Huskers are almost certainly on the outside looking in after losing to Maryland in their elimination game on Saturday? The Cornhuskers’ RPI of 97.
If a potential change to how a team’s Ratings Percentage Index is calculated, it seems likely that it would be a rather massive boost to a team like the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The question is whether or not Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes has enough pull to implement such a change.
Hughes believes teams should be able to drop off the bottom four or five RPI teams off their schedule. He explained that because of baseball’s regionality, teams like the Huskers and Wildcats need to schedule lower-rated RPI opponents.
In the case of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, winning or losing to those lower RPI teams can be a real drag on a school with the talent for a postseason run. In the case of the NU, despite finishing with a 33-23 overall record, Will Bolt’s boys had worse ratings than Ole Miss (25-29), Cal (24-28), Pitt (24-31), and even the Atlantic Sun’s Liberty Flames who finished 27-31 this year.
Nebraska Cornhuskers benefit if rule changes
For Nebraska, removing low RPI teams like San Diego (116), Nicholls State (108), Omaha (266) and Creighton (130) would be a massive boost. Of course, the question becomes that if every team gets to do that, just how much of a boost would Bolt’s boys actually get?
There is also some irony to this potential rule change. It’s possible the Nebraska Cornhuskers would be one of the teams Kansas State (54) would drop of its rating.