Did you miss the Big 12 baseball power rankings last week? Of course you did! Unfortunately, I got knocked out by the flu Sunday night, so I must apologize. But hey, they’re back this week! Before we get to the new rankings, here’s what would have shown up one week ago.
Well, some things have changed in this week’s Big 12 baseball power rankings. Actually, it might be our most consistent lineup from one week to the next. Only a few minor shifts took place, and it came mainly between 5-8. The top four include the same teams. We do have a new top dog though. It’s a team who has earned every step its taken from the No.9 spot in our initial rankings. Congratulations to the nomads! West Virginia took down nationally ranked TCU this Easter weekend. I don’t think anyone thought this team was even going to a regional in February. What a ride it has been. Aw, but there is another former No.9 trending upwards. Kansas is at the halfway point. We don’t expect the Jayhawks to be No.1 at any point this year, but it just goes to show how there is never an off week in Big 12 play.
1.West Virginia Mountaineers (21-13, 8-4)
The nomads have completed the trek from worst to first. If you can recall, in our first ever Big 12 baseball power rankings, West Virginia was ranked ninth after dropping two-out-of-three on the road against Charlotte. These nomads have come a long way since then. After playing its first 18 games on the road, West Virginia has proven to enjoy playing in Morgantown as they have amassed an 8-3 home record. What’s most impressive is their consistency during Big 12 play. They have gone 2-1 in every series they’ve played in, including road series against Baylor and Oklahoma State. This weekend boosted them up to No.1 though. TCU, who entered the week as the No.3 team in the nation and entered the season as the unanimous No.1 team in the nation, could not escape Morgantown with a series victory. West Virginia has made its presence known, and with Oklahoma and Texas Tech making the same road trek TCU did, it would not be surprising for West Virginia to actually claim the Big 12 regular season crown.
2.Texas Tech Red Raiders (31-8, 8-4)
The drop in this week’s Big 12 baseball power rankings by the Red Raiders is more about what West Virginia has done, and less about what Texas Tech has not done. Tech has swept a team on the road. They’re fighting for a national seed, and have been consistent throughout the season. We can’t say those things about West Virginia. However, Tech has lost a series in conference play this year, and they’ve certainly had their fair share of glory atop the power rankings. Tech did not look overly impressive in Manhattan this weekend. First off, they dropped the series opener to Kansas State, a team who TCU has swept. Also, Kansas State entered the series with one Big 12 victory, and a plethora of hitting woes. Tech was the victim of Kansas State’s best overall performance during a series. Still, the Red Raiders picked up a series victory on the road. I don’t care which team it is against. This season has proven that winning on the road is difficult in Big 12 play.
3. TCU Horned Frogs (28-7, 9-3)
We knew TCU was vulnerable. It had played against the bottom of the barrel in the Big 12 Conference. The 8-1 start was impressive, but had it come against the big boys, TCU would have had a losing record. The mistakes finally caught up to the Horned Frogs this weekend in Morgantown. TCU left 12 men on base in the series finale. Their bullpen completely fell apart in the ninth inning by walking in not only the tying run, but the winning run. Every player to reach base in the ninth for the Mountaineers came via a walk or a hit-by-pitch. The first two nights, TCU needed late inning heroics just to make things interesting. The Horned Frogs may be able to get by Baylor with some mistakes, but after that is a road trip to Lubbock. Make a mistake in West Texas, and TCU is guaranteed to lose.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (27-12, 5-4)
The Sooners might want a mulligan on the past week. Their heads were certainly not in baseball. First, they drop a midweek game at Oral Roberts. Afterwards, they went up to Ann Arbor and got swept by Michigan. On its first road trip, Oklahoma went an impressive 6-3, but it wasn’t really against anybody. They lost at Georgia Tech. The current road trip is at 1-6 with a Tuesday game at Dallas Baptist remaining. Luckily, for Oklahoma, they return home next weekend for a series with Kansas. Or is that lucky? The blue chickens aren’t exactly who we thought they were. Keep reading the Big 12 baseball power rankings for more on this.
5.Kansas Jayhawks (17-18, 6-6)
Well, well, well. What do we have here?
One month ago, we were certain Kansas would stay in the ninth in the Big 12 baseball power rankings for the rest of the season. The blue chickens have had other thoughts though, and have slowly made the trek up to fifth place in our power rankings. Only one Big 12 team can currently say they have won at Lupton Stadium this season. Not only have the Jayhawks accomplished that feat, but they’ve defended home by taking a series against Texas and, most recently, Oklahoma State. This Kansas team has yet to be swept in Big 12 play. They have exceeded all expectations. Now, they have an opportunity to move into the top four. Take two out of three at Oklahoma, and there is no possible way I can justify keeping the Sooners ahead of the Jayhawks.
6. Texas Longhorns (24-15, 7-8)
Some people are going to have a problem with this ranking, and those people are going to be Baylor fans. Texas is currently a better team than Baylor, and it shows in the Big 12 baseball power rankings. The Bears are certainly hotter, but Texas is better. The Longhorns are a home team. If you beat Texas in Austin, you have done something. Texas Tech swept the Longhorns, and Oklahoma won one game. Texas is currently 19-7 at UFCU Disch-Faulk Field. On the road, they are 4-8 with losses to Kansas and Baylor now. Sure, it looks terrible for an NCAA resume, but the Longhorns are currently 38th in RPI, and should only rise with five Big 12 teams being in the top 20. Texas will want to fix their road woes sooner rather than later though. By no means will they be hosting a regional this season.
7. Baylor Bears (22-14, 5-7)
Baylor is hot! They are on fire! The Bears nearly swept Texas at home. They ultimately fell in extra innings, but this team finally got a series victory in Big 12 play. If TCU had seen the schedule the Bears have gone through, the Horned Frogs would also have a losing record. Things don’t get any easier this upcoming weekend, but if the bats stay hot, Baylor could take a road series from TCU. After that, Baylor should be able to coast into the Big 12 Tournament with a winning conference record. Of course, the keyword here is “should”.
8.Oklahoma State Cowboys (20-15, 4-8)
We knew this team was young coming into the season. The youth seems to have doomed Oklahoma State. They have been in many ball games. If you ask me, TCU didn’t win the series over this team. The Cowboys lost that series. For the most part, the Cowboys have lost every series. This team is going to be very good in years to come. Regional hopes are starting to dwindle this year. When you’ve gone 3-3 against the Kansas teams, it’s a clear sign you are struggling to stay afloat. Oklahoma State will hope to score at least one victory in Lubbock this week. If they can do that, then win against Texas at home, they have a shot at a regional berth. If not, better luck next year with a more experienced team.
9.Kansas State Wildcats (17-18, 2-10)
A few breaks here or there, and Kansas State might have taken the series from Texas Tech . Of course, the Wildcats dug themselves a major hole this season when their offense was ice cold to begin the Big 12 season. The nomads are coming to town this week. If you thought Tech was a good road team, try playing against one that played 23 of its 34 games outside of the friendly confines, including its first 18. Yeah, that’s what is scary about the No.1 team in our power rankings. They don’t just win on the road, they live on the road.
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