It was an awful week for TCU fans. Although TCU claimed a share of the Big 12 Regular Season Championship, it came at the expense of what may be their greatest player of all-time. Without a timetable as to when Luken Baker may return, TCU’s College World Series hopes may be in jeopardy. Heck, they might struggle just to make it to the Super Regionals. Baker is the heart and soul of TCU’s lineup. There is one thing on the bright side, however. We’ll let you read about that below in the Big 12 baseball power rankings.
With the assistance of Oklahoma and the Luken Baker injury, the door to a Big 12 Championship was left cracked for the defending Big 12 Champions. Texas Tech can also claim a share of their second-consecutive Big 12 Championship by sweeping Kansas this weekend.
Outside of injury news, it was a low-key weekend for the Big 12 Conference. Texas and Texas Tech both concentrated on finals. West Virginia hosted a non-conference series against Gardner-Webb. The Heartland College Sports Big 12 baseball power rankings almost stayed the exact same. There are some minor shifts though.
The big question right now is: How many regional hosting bids will belong to the Big 12 Conference. Right now, it looks like five teams could potentially host. Texas Tech and TCU are locks for hosting bids. Who are the other three potential hosts? How good of a shot do they have? What do they need to do? Find out those answers and more by reading below.
1.Texas Tech Red Raiders (39-13, 13-8)
Texas Tech still has a shot at winning the Big 12 Conference Regular Season Championship. This team took the week off for finals, and they were pulling hard for the Sooners to sweep TCU. The Horned Frogs took game one, but lost the series. That one victory provided TCU with a share of the crown. Resume-wise, Tech is the best team in the conference. They hold a series victory over TCU, including a 21-3 victory over the Horned Frogs. This week, they host Kansas. If Tech sweeps the Jayhawks, there will be two teams holding up the trophy at season’s end.
2.TCU Horned Frogs (36-13, 16-8)
TCU clinched at least a share of the regular season title Friday. It’s doubtful they will win much more before the NCAA Regionals. Star slugger Luken Baker was injured trying to catch an off-target throw at first base. His glove arm got caught up in the way of a Sooner trying to beat that same throw. This is the type of injury that sends baseball players out of the college ranks and into signing shortly after being drafted. Luckily for TCU, there is a rule that mandates NCAA players must wait until after their junior season to sign with a team. Being a sophomore, Baker will be back next season. This is with the assumption that the injury isn’t career-threatening. According to this article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, it seems Baker will be back sooner rather than later.
3. Baylor Bears (32-17, 11-10)
Wow! What a jump for the Bears! Entering the weekend, Baylor was in seventh place. After sweeping Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Baylor jumped up to fourth place in the standings and now third in the Big 12 baseball power rankings. This team has won eight of its last nine. Albeit against a fairly easy schedule, Baylor is becoming confident at the right time. They finish up the regular season at home against Kansas State. Baylor will get the Wildcats best shot considering the final spot in the Big 12 Conference Tournament is on the line this weekend. Kansas State is a half game back of Oklahoma State. I have to believe Baylor is in the hosting conversation. They have a top-16 RPI, a winning road record and should sweep Kansas State this weekend. The Waco Regional will likely depend on Baylor’s performance in the Big 12 Tournament.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (34-18, 12-9)
We will never find out exactly how good of a team Oklahoma truly is. They never really faced a healthy Texas Tech or TCU team, but they did take advantage of victories at home when those teams lost key players without much notice to adjust. Still, this team has very much earned its way into an NCAA Regional. They are currently on the hosting bubble with a No.17 ranking in RPI. Baylor shot up six spots after sweeping Oklahoma State on the road. The Sooners will enter their annual Bedlam Series with all three games being played at neutral sites. Much like Baylor, the existence of a Norman Regional will be determined during the Big 12 Tournament.
5.Texas Longhorns (31-19, 9-11)
The Longhorns dropped a pair of spots in the RPI rankings while they were taking finals. That’s not too worrisome because they host West Virginia this weekend. Texas is 24-7 when they play on the Forty Acres. However, this team will be eliminated during the NCAA Regionals. They can’t win on the road. Despite this, it has been an absolutely solid first season under the guidance of skipper David Pierce.
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