It was not the best week for the Big 12 Conference. All but one team suffered a loss. The top three teams continue to play their game of musical chairs in this week’s Big 12 baseball Power Rankings. We are seeing the third different No.1 team this season. However, there is good news to start conference play this upcoming weekend. All but one team sports a winning record. This conference is so strong, it could see about seven teams score a regional berth. It’s still very early in the season, but the Big 12 is carrying some valuable stock. For going undefeated this week, one team shot up the rankings. Another team could shoot up the rankings with a strong road showing. There are six teams who start conference play this upcoming weekend. Our eyes will certainly be on Texas vs. Texas Tech this week. It could be an early indication of which team could be the best to keep TCU from the crown.
1.Baylor Bears (14-2)
The Bears pitching staff completely stifled a team who entered this weekend without being shutout. Baylor became the first team this season to shutout Houston, launching them into the top spot in this week’s Big 12 baseball Power Rankings. The Cougar offense produced three runs all weekend. Baylor is now a top 10 team after finishing the first year under Steve Rodriguez 24-29. What a turnaround this has been already. But can the Bears keep it rolling into conference play? Two teams have garnered the top dog in these power rankings already only to drop the very next week in all three cases. They’ll face one of the nation’s most inconsistent teams in West Virginia.
2.TCU Horned Frogs (12-3)
Each time TCU is the top dog in the Big 12 baseball Power Rankings, they slip up the following week. After squeaking out a victory in extra innings against Dallas Baptist, they dropped two out of three against UC Irvine. Despite how that may sound, UC Irvine has two College World Series appearances in the past decade. This season, the Anteaters struggled out of the gates. UC Irvine started the year 3-4, but perhaps they’ve turned a corner. If anything, this just shows TCU can be vulnerable in the pitching department. Brian Howard, who started for TCU Friday, produced just one out. Jim Schlossnagle went to the bullpen after he was pelted for eight earned runs on eight hits and one walk. The Horned Frog offense still piled up 21 runs during its series loss on the road.
3.Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-3)
The Red Raiders were one out away from being the No.1 team again this week. It seems Tim Tadlock left Saturday starter Steven Gingery in two hitters too long as Tech blew a 2-0 lead with two outs in the ninth against a subpar UTSA team. While it was a bad enough loss to keep Tech behind TCU this week, it won’t hurt Tech too bad. They scored the series victory and have a stellar resume so far. If anything, it could prove the difference between being a national seed or not. A series road win in Austin this weekend would wipe out any damage the Roadrunners have done.
4.Texas Longhorns (12-6)
Only one team in the Big 12 Conference did not suffer a loss this week. Texas started out the week with a 9-0 victory over Richmond. Then, they proceeded to run-rule Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The offense didn’t stop with 24 runs during the week. They broke out for 20 runs against UCLA during a series sweep over the weekend. If there is one team who is prepared for conference play, it is the Longhorns. The David Pierce era is coming together quite nice. Now, they get a shot to take down a top-10 national team at home. Take down Texas Tech, and these Longhorns may throw their hat in as a surprise contender for the Big 12 regular season crown.
5.Oklahoma Sooners (17-2)
The Sooners will not start conference play this week. What they will do is start their road schedule. And they’ll start it against a decent Georgia Tech team. Their next nine are on the road, and it ends with their first conference series against Baylor. This could all have a drastic impact on which way OU moves in the Big 12 baseball Power Rankings. We will get a strong sample of just how strong this Oklahoma team is.
6.Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-6)
Looking at the results this past week, one would think South Dakota State had a stellar Friday ace. This was not the case at all. Oklahoma State scored the series win against the Jackrabbits fairly easily, but they dropped a head-scratching 2-1 decision. South Dakota State starter Brady Stover, a freshman, tossed just five innings and scored the win. His current ERA is 4.09 in 11 innings over the course of three appearances, all of which are starts. The Cowboys scored a nice midweek victory over Missouri State to top off the series victory, so we don’t push Oklahoma State down too far this week. Whatever took place during the Friday outing, Oklahoma State has another weekend to figure it out before conference play. They host Northwestern State from the Southland Conference this week.
7.Kansas State Wildcats (12-4)
It was not a good weekend for Kansas State, and it started off rough for the offense. Their lone victory against UC Riverside at home came during game two of a doubleheader. It was a 1-0 victory. That day, Kansas State scored two runs. The Wildcats were outscored 16-4 at home during the weekend. They still have six games before their conference opener in Austin. The resume is decent so far. I would not be surprised if this conference gets seven teams into the tournament at this juncture in the season.
8.West Virginia Mountaineers (8-7)
This team has yet to play a home game. They have a winning record. Okay, sure I’m stretching to say a few positive things here. After all, they gave Tulane two of the Green Wave’s three victories. That Tulane team is now 3-12 by the way. The Mountaineers are used to being on the road, so they might feel right at home traveling to Waco this weekend. If they steal one victory, consider it a successful weekend for this team. But, they’re still a ways away from jumping up in the Big 12 baseball Power Rankings.
9.Kansas Jayhawks (7-8)
Once again, the Jayhawks are pulling up the rear in the Big 12 baseball Power Rankings. At best case scenario, this team will travel to Fort Worth with a .500 record. That’s only if they score revenge on the road against an Oral Roberts team who has already defeated them in Lawrence this season. Think about that for a second. This team is opening conference play on the road against the top team in the nation. Luckily for Jayhawks fans, the basketball team can distract you this weekend in the NCAA Tournament.
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