BYU Cougars

Big 12 Softball: Top-Ranked Texas Hits the Road, OU Looks to Rebound

Texas’ Katie Stewart (20) catches the ball at first base against Oklahoma, Sunday, April 7, 2024, at McCombs Field in Austin.
Houston Athletics

Last weekend provided a monumental moment for the 2024 softball season as Texas gave Oklahoma its first Big 12 series loss since 2011. As a result, the Longhorns knocked OU from their perch at No. 1 in the polls and made up some major ground in the conference race.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns enter the weekend now as the nation’s No. 1 team and will have to take that ranking on the road. Oklahoma State is lurking at No. 5 in the latest rankings and is coming off a dominant sweep of Houston.

Several upcoming series around the Big 12 softball landscape are worth watching, and these are the storylines you should be following as we head into the weekend.

 

Baylor Welcomes Top-Ranked Texas into Waco

After beating Oklahoma in a series for the first time since 2009, Texas (32-6) will hit the road to take on a Baylor (22-14) team that hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype. The Bears were billed as a team to watch in the Big 12 race in 2024, yet come into this weekend with a 5-10 conference record. The Longhorns are coming off the biggest win in recent memory, but they can’t afford to overlook Baylor. There’s a real chance that the Longhorns could end the 2024 season as the Big 12 regular season champions if they play their cards right. A 2-1 series edge over the Sooners gives them a leg up in the case of a tie. However, another loss might prove too much for them to catch up with what Oklahoma has on the schedule.

 

How Do the Sooners Bounce Back vs. BYU?

Speaking of Oklahoma, how do the Sooners look after their first series loss since 2011? For context, the last time Oklahoma (36-3) lost a Big 12 series, it was to Missouri, and the players on OU’s current roster were barely in junior high. This week, Patty Gasso’s group will get a chance to bounce back against the BYU Cougars. BYU (21-17) brings in the No. 11 (6.89 runs/game) scoring offense in the country, while the Sooners rank second nationally with 8.62 runs per game. The big question here is what does Oklahoma’s body language look like? We’ve never seen this team coming off a series loss, yet we will get that chance starting on Thursday.

 

Can UCF Keep the Good Times Rolling?

UCF is tied with Oklahoma State for the longest active winning streak in the Big 12 at six games, and suddenly, the Knights are one game back from .500 in Big 12 play. UCF has won five of their last six Big 12 matchups and are coming off a sweep of BYU in Orlando. Can they keep it rolling this weekend when they head to Houston to take on the Cougars? Houston (22-17) has dropped three in a row and is just 1-8 in their last three Big 12 series. If UCF can sweep the Coogs, they’ll be 10-8 in Big 12 play and within striking distance of fourth place in the standings.

The Best of the Rest

In Big 12 play we have Kansas heading to Texas Tech for a critical conference series that will play a big role in the final standings come tournament time. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State heads to Ames to take on a struggling Iowa State team. Getting a sweep in Ames, something they haven’t done since 2019, would mean keeping pace with Texas and Oklahoma for a great shot at winning the Big 12 at season’s end.

Around the rest of the country, we’ve got several ranked vs. ranked matchups to keep up with:

  • No. 9 Florida at No. 15 Missouri
  • No. 14 Arkansas at No. 25 South Carolina
  • No. 3 Duke at No. 19 Clemson
  • No. 4 Tennessee at No. 17 Mississippi State
  • No. 21 Louisiana at No. 22 Texas State
  • No. 20 Oregon at No. 25 Arizona

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