Big 12 baseball: Conference scheduling gaps are tough to fill

Big 12 clubs find themselves in an annual search for filler material, with only nine league schools fielding baseball teams since the first round of conference realignment shook things up.
by John Helsley Published: April 25, 2013
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photo - Jack Mayfield goes around third baseman Seth Laigast and safely touches base as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners play New Orleans in NCAA college baseball at L. Dale Mitchell Field on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in Norman, Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Jack Mayfield goes around third baseman Seth Laigast and safely touches base as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners play New Orleans in NCAA college baseball at L. Dale Mitchell Field on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Bulletin: New Orleans — the university, not the city — has NOT joined the Big 12 Conference for baseball.

Contrary to perception, the Privateers are only playing an abbreviated Big 12 schedule.

When New Orleans visited Norman last weekend, the Privateers took on their third Big 12 club this season, serving in their unofficial role as the equivalent of an Oscars seat filler, plugging holes in the conference's uneven schedule.

There are others, too, with Big 12 teams scrambling to fill at least one, and sometimes two full weekends during what should be premium dates for showdowns in the race for the league title.

Instead, Big 12 clubs find themselves in an annual search for filler material, with only nine league schools fielding baseball teams since the first round of conference realignment shook things up.

And, yes, it's a problem, beyond the unavailability of respectable opponents, since the other power conferences are immersed in league play this time of year. It's troubling as another factor in the Big 12's bad RPI puzzle, which threatens to result in a record low NCAA Tournament invites.

Consider:

Kansas played at BYU and will go to Utah the final weekend of the regular season.

Kansas State used Bethune-Cookman and Iowa as schedule filler.

Oklahoma State heads to Omaha this weekend for the TD Ameritrade Classic, with games against Rutgers, Creighton and Nebraska on tap.

TCU played San Francisco and will visit Southern Cal.

Texas went to Minnesota. Texas Tech took a weekend off, unless you count a single game against Lubbock Christian.

Baylor and West Virginia both played New Orleans, and the Mountaineers have Liberty coming up.

What do those teams have in common? Most are baseball no-names, offering wins perhaps, but also an RPI hit.

The Privateers, for instance, are 6-38 overall, including an 0-9 mark against the Big 12.

These are games that nobody wants to play.

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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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