In the past, we have looked at tournaments and invitations that Texas Tech programs have played to get an idea of where the team is. The baseball program finished with a winning record at the Shriners Classic in 2016 and 2017, their only two years as a national seed. The basketball team dominated Northwestern in an early tournament in 2017 and went on to their first Elite Eight.
This week, not only is the Texas Tech baseball team playing some tough competition in the Frisco Classic, but several teams around the Big 12 are facing tough competition as well. In fact, you could argue that out of the nine Big 12 teams, the Red Raiders have an average schedule as far as difficulty goes.
In Houston, we have two Big 12 teams that will be contending for a conference title facing off against some of the top competition in the Houston area. In Austin, we have a match-up between one of the favorites in the SEC against last year’s Big 12 champs.
In the state of Oklahoma, we have a battle in Norman between a Big 12 school and one of the favorites in the Ivy League, and a series between a Big 12 and Big 10 school in Stillwater.
Outside of the south, we have a match-up between the east coast Big 12 team and the defending national champs in the state of Oregon. Meanwhile, the Kansas teams will be taking a little easier route this weekend, although Kansas already had a tough West Coast invitation, much like Oklahoma and TCU.
Here’s the list of the exciting Big 12 match-ups and how I see them turning out. I ranked them in order of excitement from a view of a College Baseball fan (not including the Kansas match-ups). All the ranking are based of D1Baseball.com:
- No. 2 LSU at No. 22 Texas – This is a rematch of last year’s series between these two teams. The Longhorns faced the Tigers in the second weekend of the season and dropped two out of three to LSU. This time it’s in Austin, but LSU is stronger than they were a year ago, and Texas may be slightly worse. I’ll pick LSU to win the series 2-1, with the series coming down to the final game. This should be a fun series.
- No. 3 Texas Tech at Frisco Classic – This classic looked a lot more entertaining when it was announced. It’s still going to be very entertaining and a good measuring tool, but not quite as exciting as expected. Tech should take care of business against the Cornhuskers, who are 3-5 on the year, but face a tough No. 12 Mississippi State team in a rematch of CWS teams. They end the weekend with a game against Sam Houston State with a 5-2 record. I think the Red Raiders have a chance to sweep this one, especially with the home fans behind them, but taking the first game and going 1-1 the final two days is a safer bet.
- No. 18 TCU at Shriners Classic – Although the field isn’t as good as years past, like in 2017 when five Top 11 teams played, it’s still a solid field. The Horn Frogs will face a Houston team who just defeated a good Arizona team at home, and a Rice team who is 3-6 thus far, but it better than their schedule. The premier game of the weekend as far as Big 12 games go is this Saturday when TCU faces Texas A&M. It seems like these games are always classics, whether it’s in the NCAA Tournament or the Shriners Classic. That being said, A&M doesn’t look quite as strong as usual. I’ll say TCU sweeps this weekend just because I think the teams are good, but aren’t exactly scary
- No. 15 Baylor at Shriners Classic – Baylor plays the same teams except that they don’t play Houston and instead play a 5-3 Texas State, who defeated a good Missouri State team 10-0 already this season. The Bears haven’t had a super challenging schedule so far. This weekend will give them and the rest of the Big 12 an idea of how good (or bad) they are. I’ll say Baylor goes 2-1 this weekend.
- West Virginia at No. 6 Oregon State – The Mountaineers are a bottom third team in the Big 12, so it just makes sense that they’re going to play the national champions, right? I think we all fully expect this to be a blowout, as the Beavers are undefeated, ranked, and have the best draft prospect and possibly the best player in college baseball in Adley Rutschman. The only thing against Oregon State may be the fact they had to replace a lot of guys and they have a new head coach after Pat Casey retired. Still, I say Oregon State sweeps, but the thought of an upset makes this interesting.
- Columbia at Oklahoma – My knowledge on Ivy league baseball isn’t high, but I know that Yale has been a solid program the past few years and Columbia is going to be competing with them for a title this season. Oklahoma already has impressed during a West Coast trip earlier this season, but much like Texas Tech facing Oregon and Kentucky, this is a decent series for the Sooners. I’d probably say Oklahoma sweeps, considering this is Columbia’s first series of the year.
- Iowa at No. 19 Oklahoma State – I’m really quite sure how good Iowa is, but if you’ve been following college baseball recently, you know that the Big 10 is awful and that their AD’s controversially voted against a third assistant in baseball despite their coaches wanting it. The Hawkeyes are 4-3, but no real good wins on their schedule. I expect the Cowboys to sweep.
It will be interesting to see how the Big 12 plays out after this weekend. It’s time to test the best teams in the Big 12 and strength of the overall conference.