Call it the TCU Revenge Tour, 2016. With the Frogs placed in a bracket that features three of the four teams that beat them in three game series this season, they have a chance to right some wrongs and make a late push to play more baseball in Fort Worth. If all goes well the road they embark on this week leads back home, but doesn't end there.
For those of you who don't know the ins and outs of the post-season conference playoff, Frogs O' War is here to make sure you have all the information you need to know. First, the bracket:
The format for the tourney is double-elimination, so one bad game doesn't doom any one team, and teams with depth in the bullpen are rewarded as the games pile up. Teams that lose early end up playing double-headers late, which makes for some interesting and exciting manager's decisions.
Location: Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City
The home park for the Los Angeles Dodgers AAA affiliate seats over 9,000, and has hosted the Big Tournament since 1998, though two of the seasons played their postseason at the Ballpark in Arlington (2002, 2004). It plays large, with outfield fences stretching from 325 to 400', and in addition to hosting the Tournament, it is also the site of the annual Bedlam Series between Oklahoma's two Big 12 teams.
Division One (Tech's Side)
Regular season champion Texas Tech is your one seed and the clear favorite here. The last game they lost was against West Virginia though, who happened to fall on their side of the bracket. With OU playing their best ball lately as well, it shouldn't be a cake walk for the champs.
Texas Tech (No. 1)
In Tim Tadlock's fourth year as head coach the Red Raiders have cemented themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12. In 2014 they joined TCU in the College World Series (and lost to us), but one good team doesn't hold up a program. Finally winning the team's first conference championship since 1998 has solidified them as a power.
Since splitting a midweek series at Florida State and sweeping OSU in Stillwater to start the month of April, this team has been on a roll. In that time they are 21-5 with victories over OSU, Kansas, TCU and West Virginia. They ripped off winning streaks of 10 and seven games and their only series loss came against Texas. #Brightside? Well, they did lose the last game they played against West Virginia.
West Virginia (No. 4)
The Mountaineers started the year with a 10-4 record before they started conference play by getting swept by TCU in Fort Worth. After that they came back to win four of their next seven Big 12 series. They took two from Kansas, OSU, BU and swept Texas. So, a team that got swept by TCU beat all of the teams that beat TCU except for Texas Tech. Baseball is weird, so let's all root for the 'Eers to drop some weirdness on their side of the bracket.
Oklahoma (No. 5)
The Sooners got off to a really rough start on the season. In the first month of games the only series they won was against CSU Bakersfield, and they hit their low point when they got swept by Texas Tech to open up Big 12 play. Since then though, things have gotten better. They won five of their final seven Big 12 series, with the only really bad spot in that stretch being a sweep at the hands of TCU. They even closed out Big 12 play by taking two of three from their rival Oklahoma State. This is a team that has the talent to catch fire and win this tournament like last year's Texas squad.
Kansas State (No. 8)
Kansas State was close to not making the tournament field. Since there are nine Big 12 teams that field a baseball team (Iowa State does not), the team that finishes last in the regular season conference standings doesn't get an invite to the tournament. Despite getting swept by TCU in Fort Worth in their last conference series, they snuck in this week thanks to Kansas also getting swept by OSU to end the season. The Wildcats managed to win series this year against Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia, but they've only done just enough to earn the eight-seed.
Division Two (TCU's Side)
On the other side, Okie State opens with a Texas team that is certainly as talented as any in the conference, but has been up and down all season long. The Cowboys will benefit from what is likely to feel like a home crowd in OKC, as well as having the newly crowned conference pitcher of the year available on the mound.
Oklahoma State (No. 2)
OSU started off their year 14-7 and didn't seem like a true conference contender after getting swept by Texas Tech at home. But they rebounded, took two of three from TCU, and earned the two-seed. Bringing back most of the team that finished second a year ago, the Cowboys have a solid squad with veteran pitching. That has afforded them stability, which has been lacking from pretty much every other team except for Tech. It has also allowed them to tie Tech for the most conference sweeps this season with four. That bodes well for a tournament run.
TCU (No. 3)
Picked to win the conference at the beginning of the season, the Horned Frogs enter the tournament as the three-seed. After starting the season 22-5 it looked like repeating as champions might be possible. But and 11-7 run from April 1st to May 1st that included losses to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech dropped them out of serious contention for the conference crown. Now 8-2 in their last 10 games, and riding a five-game winning streak, the Frogs are one of the hottest teams heading into the tournament. With the return of ace Mitchell Traver and a bullpen that is finally pitching up to their potential, these Frogs still have horns.
Baylor (No. 6)
At 24-27 overall and 10-14 in Big 12 play, Baylor has been below .500 all year, but managed to win their last two Big 12 series in order to edge out Texas for the six-seed. The Bears only won three of their eight Big 12 series, but two of those wins came in their last two weekends of the season against TCU and Texas. Just like last year, Baylor will face off against the Horned Frogs in the first round of the tournament.
Texas (No. 7)
Texas, like Oklahoma, was projected to be a top 10 in college baseball this year during the preseason. That hype dissipated quickly though after early season losses to Cal, UCLA, Tulane and Texas A&M. Texas came to life in Late March, taking two of three from TCU and winning three of their first three Big 12 series. Augie Garrido is one of the greats in this sport, but his coaching over the last few years seems to be marked by periods of brilliance, followed by long periods of hibernation. Augie re-entered hibernation in late April, as Texas lost all three of their final Big 12 conferences series, getting swept in two of them to eliminate themselves from conference title contention.
How to Watch:
If you plan to travel to OKC for the games, you can purchase tickets here. There are three different price points, including an all-session pass for $169.
From home, you can catch all tournament games leading up to the championship on Sunday on Fox College Sports Central. The final game moves to FSN.
You can also here the live call from TCU's own Chuck LaMendola on 88.7 KTCU in the DFW area.
And, of course, you can follow along right here on Frogs O' War and on twitter @FrogsOWar, where we will be covering all TCU games and the big stories from the rest of the tournament.