College Baseball: Big XII Season Preview

Overview

The 2015 season was a down year for one of the best conferences in college baseball. Only TCU made it out of a regional (3rd place in Omaha), as only three teams qualified for post-season play. They wouldn’t have gotten that many, but Texas won the Big XII Tournament in OKC for the automatic berth into the field of 64. Historical powerhouses like Oklahoma and Baylor had uncharacteristically poor seasons after both were poised for big things, while TCU and Oklahoma State ran away from the conference early.

2015 Standings

  1. Texas Christian (51-15, 18-5)
  2. Oklahoma State (38-20, 14-8)
  3. Texas Tech (31-24, 13-11)
  4. Oklahoma (34-27, 13-11)
  5. Texas (30-27, 11-13)
  6. West Virginia (27-27, 9-13)
  7. Kansas State (27-30, 10-14)
  8. Baylor (23-32, 9-15)
  9. Kansas (23-32, 8-15)

Regular Season Champion in Italics

Big XII Tournament Champion in bold

The Big XII in the Rankings:

#8 Oklahoma State
#19 Texas Christian
#23 Texas

The Way I See It

  1. Oklahoma State
  2. Texas
  3. TCU
  4. Texas Tech
  5. Oklahoma
  6. West Virginia
  7. Baylor
  8. Kansas
  9. Kansas State

What to Watch For: Preseason Storylines

    • Each of the past two seasons, I’ve picked TCU and Texas over Oklahoma State and I’ve been burned. True, I did correctly pick TCU to win the conference in 2015, and Texas did win the conference tourney, but the Pokes won 5 of 6 games against the two Big XII powerhouses last season after winning the conference in 2014. Not only do they return a huge chunk of their lineup from last season, but they return a ton of depth on the mound. With that said, I’ll repeat what I said last season: Whichever team wins the round robin series between Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas will win the conference.
    • Texas Tech could be a dark horse here to make the tournament, but I have serious doubts about them based on an up and down 2015. The Red Raiders also sport one heck of an out-of-conference schedule. Tech will take on Houston, Louisiana and Arkansas in the Houston College Classic, will host CSU Fullerton, and hit the road to Berkeley to take on California before conference play. At the very least, the Red Raiders will be battle-tested when they head to Waco on March 18, to start conference play.
    • Texas will be on a mission to prove that 2014 (CWS 3rd place) wasnt a fluke and that barely making the group of 64 in 2015 was.  The Longhorns will have a completely re-vamped starting rotation as Parker French (draft) and Chad Hollingsworth (injury) are no longer in the program. As weird as it sounds though, the depth might be even better for the Horns despite those losses. The same could be said of the lineup as well. The biggest question mark for Texas coming into the season will, again, be the offense. Like Tech, the Longhorns have a very difficult out-of-conference schedule. Probably the toughest in the country.
    • Baylor and Oklahoma both have rich baseball traditions, but have had a couple of the worst seasons in recent times in 2014 and 15. Baylor, just three years removed from hosting a regional AND a super-regional, will have a new coach for the 2016 campaign (Steve Rodriguez), and that could really infuse some much needed adrenaline into the Bears program. Last year’s team was very young and lacked depth both in the field, and on the mound.  Oklahoma finished in a tie for third last season with Texas Tech and looked like a team that could possibly make a run through the Big XII tournament and get the automatic bid, but losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma State ended their season a little early. The Sooners still have a bit of work to do to get back to where they want to be, but head coach Pete Hughes and this team have improved every year since he arrived in Norman.

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