Big 12 baseball could have postseason problems

BIG 12 BASEBALL NOTEBOOK — Right now, Oklahoma is the Big 12's only lock to make the NCAA Tournament. The Big 12's RPI is severely hurting the league's reputation, which has fallen somewhere south of conferences like the ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and even the Sun Belt.
by John Helsley Published: April 18, 2013
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The Big 12 has a rankings problem.

And a ratings problem.

How's that for a double dose of doom and gloom?

Oklahoma stands as the only conference club in any Top 25.

And the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) is worse, with the Sooners setting the high bar at No. 33. Beyond that, only scuffling Texas at No. 46 and Kansas State at 47 crack the top-60. Oklahoma State, the one other Big 12 team getting any kind of poll love – and that's a No. 27 spot in the NCBWA rankings – sits at No. 104.

Somewhere, Big 12 baseball lost its clout.

A league once considered elite now faces a second year of decline and the very real possibility of putting an all-time low number of teams in the NCAA Tournament.

How low can it go? Beyond the Sooners, who else belongs?

In terms of conference RPIs, the Big 12 trails the ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Sun Belt.

That's right, the Sun Belt.

“It's a real issue for the Big 12,” said Cowboys coach Josh Holliday.

Maybe we should have seen this coming last year, when the Big 12 sent just four teams into postseason play. And two of them were outgoing conference members Missouri and Texas A&M, with the Tigers having to force their way in with a league tournament title. The conference hadn't sent so few since its 1997 first pitch.

Only the Sooners have maintained any consistency on the diamond, posting four straight 40-win seasons and making regular deep postseason runs, including a College World Series trip in 2010.

OSU is in transition under Holliday, with optimism and hope built around strong recruiting classes already in the works.

But what's happened to Texas and Baylor? And TCU?

Texas Tech has fallen off. Most knew West Virginia wouldn't bring much to the league. And while K-State appears solid, the Wildcats and Jayhawks have limitations.

Baseball America currently projects three Big 12 clubs for the NCAA Tournament: OU, Baylor and Kansas.

“Oklahoma remains the only certainty in the wild Big 12,” the magazine's Aaron Fitt writes.

The Sooners are secure, yet face their own RPI issues, with the conference's lacking credentials posing a negative in their hope to host Regional and Super Regional rounds in the postseason.

Big 12 baseball has problems – probable postseason problems.

BIG WEEKEND IN STILLWATER

OSU's series loss at TCU last weekend was a crippler, with the Horned Frogs rallying to win the rubber game Sunday on a ninth-inning, three-run triple after being shut out to that point.

So the Cowboys sit below .500 in the Big 12 and on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.


by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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