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.
That puts a must-win feel on this weekend's home series against Kansas State.
K-State arrives in a first-place percentage tie with OU, looking to solidify its own postseason status.
Sooner ace Jonathan Gray continues to create buzz as a potential No. 1 pick in Major League Baseball's June draft.
The big right-hander was featured on the ESPN.com's MLB home page Thursday in a package on the draft. At the top, there's much-hyped Stanford pitcher Mark Appel.
From the website's Teddy Mitrosilis: “In a little less than two months, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft will likely come down to two names: Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray.”
THE LIST: BIG 12 HITTING STREAKS
So far in this season, 20 Big 12 players have produced hitting streaks of 10 games or longer.
OU's Matt Oberste (30) and OSU's Tanner Krietemeier (18) lead the way.
The top 12:
Matt Oberste, OU, 30
Tanner Krietemeier, OSU, 18
Mark Payton, Texas, 16
Narthan Orf, Baylor, 15
Shane Conlon, Kansas State, 15
Kevin Cron, TCU, 14
Michael Suiter, Kansas, 13
Zach Fish, OSU, 13
Blair DeBord, Kansas State, 12
Tanner Witt, Kansas State, 12
C.J. Hinojosa, Texas, 12
Bobby Boyd, West Virginia, 12
* UP: Cal Towey, 3B, Baylor
The Baylor senior has his team on the rise after powering the Bears to a series victory over Oklahoma last weekend. Towey delivered a walk off home run in Friday's 2-1 win over the Sooners, then banged a game-winning grand slam on Sunday in the eighth inning. Towel leads the Bears with six game-winning RBIs.
* UP: Dillon Overton, LHP, OU
Overton sometimes gets overlooked in the shadow of ace Jonathan Gray, but he's no ordinary No. 2 pitcher. More like a co-ace, evident in his 7-2 record and 2.20 ERA. Securing OU's one win in the Baylor series, Overton struck out eight over eight innings and allowed just one earned run.
* DOWN: Tech Pitching
Texas Tech boasts one of the Big 12's best arms in Trey Masek, who owns a 0.84 ERA. Which makes the team's league-worst 4.75 team ERA all the more ugly. No other conference staff has an ERA beyond 3.90. Tech has allowed a league-high 22 home runs and 189 runs overall in 326 innings.
* UP: Jordan Piché, RHP, Kansas
A transfer from Indian Hills Community College, Piché has been a saver, if not a savior for the Jayhawks. He recorded a win and a save in last weekend's series win over Texas – KU's first over the Longhorns in four years. He pitched the final 4 1/3 innings of Friday's 12-inning win and closed Sunday's clincher with 1 2/3 relief. He leads the Big 12 with a 0.49 ERA and is tied for the saves lead with seven.