clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Monday Manger: The Race is On

New, 2 comments

It's pretty much a two-team race in the Big 12 right now with a big series looming in Fort Worth in two weeks...

After spending the better half of the last 30 or days on the road, the Frogs got some much needed comfort at home and got a big, big sweep against Oklahoma. The Sooners,  who despite performing underperforming to their preseason expectations, had won their last two series against Texas and Baylor before going into the Fort, were complete overmatched by both TCU's offense and defense.

The biggest pro about having a young baseball team, or any sports team for that matter, especially one with this kind of promise, is that you get to watch it grow like a deadly contagion. You can find a temporary remedy, but it eventually comes back, and it comes back stronger and more impervious to whatever you throw at it.

Sunday's sweep, completing an 8-game win streak dating back to 2014 against the Sooners, was also the team's 31st shutout since 2014 as well–which is the most in the NCAA in that time period. The offense didn't have the juice it had in the previous two games, for instance; Austen Wade had 7 hits (and 7 runs) in the series going into G2 Saturday and came up hitless in the finale. This is partially a direct relation to the double header; but TCU didn't need offensive style points in G2 as Brian Howard's stellar return and Durbin Feltman's Riley Ferrell impression was enough to lock up a sweep.

Even if you throw Aussie standout, Cam Warner into this equation, I don't think any player has impressed me as of late as much as Dalton Horton. For a kid that was a Tuesday starter only a few weeks ago, he's become the steady of the weekend arsenal. Which, when you throw what Jarred Janzac has done lately into the mix, you have to like where this is going come tournament time. These guys, plus the maturation of guys like Sean Wymer, Drew Gooch, and Brian Trieglaff give this team solid legs–or arms–to stand on going into postseason play. This all said without even talking about the return of Mitchell Traver. Once you consider what a team this young has been able to do this whole season–on the mound and at the plate–with their ace having yet to even throw a live pitch is pretty incredible.

The Big 12 Race | Raiders, Frogs, and the very big next two weeks.

As it stands right now, the Big 12 is a two-team race between Texas Tech and TCU. However, both teams have key series this weekend against the two teams who are just slightly behind them. Oklahoma State and Texas both sit at 7-5, and though it's unlikely, a sweep by either, and certainly both of these will catapult the Big 12 into an absurd, four team race going into the home stretch. But like I said, with how Tech has been playing lately and the TCU recovering from their DBU loss with a dominant sweep against the Sooners, this seems rather unlikely. TCU and Tech getting collecting series wins next weekend would essentially make the bout between the two in Fort Worth a de-facto regular season title.

But it's slight more complicated...

Let's say both teams win 2-1 next weekend: Tech would carry a 13-2 Conference record going into Funkytown and TCU would defend an 11-4 record. Tech clinching that weekend would make it very hard for TCU to get a regular seasons title and thus leave it up the Big 12 Tournament to try and sneak a National Seed going into the College World Series playoffs.

Ranks

Team

Conference

Record

1

Florida

Southeastern

33-5-0

2

Miami (FL)

Atlantic Coast

29-5-0

3

Louisville

Atlantic Coast

29-7-0

4

Texas A&M

Southeastern

29-7-0

5

South Carolina

Southeastern

29-8-0

6

North Carolina St.

Atlantic Coast

26-10-0

7

Ole Miss

Southeastern

26-10-0

8

UC Santa Barbara

Big West

24-7-1

9

Florida St.

Atlantic Coast

23-11-0

10

Clemson

Atlantic Coast

24-12-0

11

Texas Tech

Big 12

29-9-0

12

Vanderbilt

Southeastern

28-8-0

13

LSU

Southeastern

25-11-0

14

North Carolina

Atlantic Coast

25-11-0

15

La.-Lafayette

Sun Belt

24-12-0

16

Coastal Caro.

Big South

27-10-0

17

Mississippi St.

Southeastern

24-12-1

18

Rice

Conference USA

24-11-0

19

Southern Miss.

Conference USA

27-10-0

20

Minnesota

Big Ten

21-11-0

21

South Ala.

Sun Belt

27-10-0

22

Kentucky

Southeastern

23-12-0

23

Fla. Atlantic

Conference USA

25-8-0

24

Georgia Tech

Atlantic Coast

24-11-0

25

TCU

Big 12

27-8-0


Should the Frogs win the series, the two would be tied, with thus hold the tiebreaker should it end even-steven. TCU would be in control of their destiny; but the Red Raiders have swept three series, highlighted by completing dominating a very good Oklahoma State team. Not to mention, their only loss coming in Waco by a single run in their first Big 12 series of the year. The Red Raiders' response since? 19-2: Which, in addition to their most recent sweep against San Diego State, also includes two-game, midweek series split versus Florida State–a team that's almost guaranteed a National seed. That split alone has boosted their RPI multiple spots past TCU's, which makes it that much harder for the young Frogs to get a Championship.

If TCU claims a regular season title, I still think there's a chance the Red Raiders get a National Seed if they win the Big 12 tournament. And though I'm not nearly as confident if the reverse of this happens, meaning the Frogs claim a Tournament title to get a late National seed, I wouldn't rule it out completely. You know if won't come easy as the tournament will be absolute bloodbath this year. Oklahoma State could be playing for a home regional at that point, Texas will be fighting for a spot at the dance in what very well could be Augie's final year, and obviously TCU's push for a National bid like we talked about above.

Again–this is all conjecture. There's still plenty of baseball to be played. And who knows, Texas or Oklahoma State could throw a wrench into this race next weekend. Two years ago, TCU hadn't swept Texas at this point in the season, and the late April sweep and their push through May and eventual Conference tournament title earned them a National seed that setup their second CWS appearance. So yeah, this thing is far from over.