Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award.
Diamond Hogs ranked nation's top preseason team
The road back to Omaha will have to go through Manhattan, Kan. for Dave Van Horn and the Arkansas baseball team.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas is ranked No. 1 nationally in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll, released Thursday.
The Razorbacks return several position players and pitchers from a team that finished 46-22 last season and made the College World Series for the second time in four years. The No. 1 ranking is Arkansas' first in any publication since April 2009.
Eight Southeastern Conference teams appear in the top 25 of the poll, including three of the top four spots. Vanderbilt is ranked No. 3 and LSU is ranked No. 4, while South Carolina (7) and Kentucky (8) are also in the top 10.
North Carolina is ranked No. 2 in the poll and UCLA is No. 5. Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State round out the top 10.
Preseason practices for Arkansas begin five weeks from Friday. The Razorbacks open the 2013 season on Feb. 15 with the first of a three-game series against Western Illinois at Baum Stadium.
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