Not that rankings matter a great deal in March, but the Clemson baseball team is learning that it's easier to start and stay in the top-25 than to break in from an unranked beginning.
The Tigers - 9-5 against one of the nation's toughest early-season schedules, with a 3-3 record against teams ranked as high as No. 5 and No. 8 in the nation - are still on the outside looking in after the first three weeks of the season.
Clemson nearly cracked the Collegiate Baseball top-25, as the Tigers came in at No. 26. The Tigers remain unranked by Baseball America and the NCBWA, and are 31st on the coaches' poll list.
Five ACC teams are currently ranked, led by consensus No. 1 North Carolina, which goes into this week with a perfect 14-0 record. Also unbeaten and ranked as high as No. 5 is 15-0 Florida State. Georgia Tech (14-2) is ranked as high as ninth, Virginia (14-1) as high as 13th, and N.C. State (12-4) as high as 18th.
Three other ACC teams - Miami, Virginia Tech and Maryland - have been ranked at some point this season.
The Tigers fare better, and there is considerable disparity compared to the other polls, in the unofficial RPI rankings published by BoydsWorld.com.
Boosted by its early-season strength of schedule, Clemson is ranked 13th nationally and second in the ACC behind No. 6 North Carolina. Georgia Tech (20), Virginia (22), and FSU (24) also made the top 25. The RPI lists N.C. State 69th and Miami 89th.
South Carolina (13-2) is ranked second to Oregon State (15-0), and is followed by Notre Dame (10-3), LSU (15-1) and Furman (12-4). Appalachian State (8-4) is 21st, College of Charleston (10-6) 30th, Presbyterian College (10-7) 34th, Coastal Carolina (7-9) 102nd, and Charleston Southern (8-8 and Clemson's midweek opponent) 190th.