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

Or needs to play.

Or buy tickets to see.

Yet, with nine teams, what's the Big 12 to do?

Sooners coach Sunny Golloway has an idea. And clearly, the league needs ideas, not to mention a willingness to adjust.

Golloway's plan: three divisions — North (Kansas, Kansas State, West Virginia), Central (OU, OSU, TCU) and South (Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech). The three teams in each division play home-and-home series against each other, resulting in four weekend series; plus one series against the other six teams.

Before that, Golloway suggests the three nonconference weekends filled with an opening winnable series, a tournament, and a challenging series. Such a lead-up lends to building a solid early résumé.

“Now you're ready to enter league play with a really good RPI,” Golloway said. “When everyone enters the league with a good RPI, then we take care of each other the rest of the way. We ride each other out.

“Then we have six or seven teams every year with NCAA Tournament credentials. This year, we're going to be lucky to have three tournaments in the NCAA Tournament. We're going to be lucky. And deservedly so, because honestly, shame on us.”

Golloway has shared his plan with the rest of the league coaches, getting resistance from only Baylor's Steve Smith, who Golloway said was concerned that there would be no true conference champion.

And Smith has a point, except it's a minor one.

The ultimate goal is to get to the postseason. Big 12 titles are nice. Postseason appearances are what defines a program.

Next year's schedule is in place, meaning any move to Golloway's plan will have to wait until 2015, at the earliest.

The Big 12 must hope that's not too late.

“We could be set so far back that there is no recovering the image of our Big 12 Conference in baseball,” Golloway said.


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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