The three-game sweep at home by Texas over Baylor last weekend moved the Longhorns into undisputed first place in the Big 12 standings and solidified their hold on the top spot in this week’s Big 12 baseball power rankings.
The Longhorns (26-7, 6-3) are a half-game ahead of Oklahoma (23-10, 4-2), their opponent this weekend for a three-game set at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman. Texas moved up to No. 7 in both the latest Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball national polls. The Sooners are 26th this week in the Collegiate Baseball poll. That serves as backdrop for a Red River Rivalry series that needs no advance buildup.
The fact that the series at OU pits No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the conference at this stage of the season is more reminiscent of the football history between these two schools, but the truth is both teams have a strong history in the sport of baseball as well.
As of the games on Sunday, eight of the nine Big 12 teams that participate in baseball currently have overall season records above .500, and six of the eight have winning percentages above .600. The only team with a losing record going into this week is Baylor, and the Bears are just a game below .500 at 15-16.
Were it not for Baylor’s three losses at Texas over the past weekend, all nine of the conference teams would be sporting winning records.
The hottest teams in the conference over the past week are Texas, with five consecutive wins, and TCU, which has won its last four games.
Texas retains its top spot in this week’s Big 12 baseball power rankings. Other than the Longhorns, no other teams remained in the same position it was in the Week 7 power poll. TCU had the most forward movement, advancing five spots to fourth in this weeks rankings. Kansas State, losers of two of three at home to Sunflower State rival Kansas last week, dropped three positions from fifth to eighth this week.
Here is how we view the conference power structure in baseball for the week beginning April 7:
Big 12 Baseball Week 8 Power Rankings
(Movement from prior week – up or down – in parentheses)
- Texas Longhorns (N/C) - How the Horns play at Oklahoma this weekend will foretell a lot about how good this Texas team really is in its bid to make a worst-to-first title run this season.
- Oklahoma Sooners (+2) - Like for Texas, how well the Sooners do this weekend could well determine where OU will finish up the season.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (-1) - OSU ranks 18th this week in the National Baseball Writers poll and 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
- TCU Horned Frogs (+5) - A top-five team in the conference in all the major factors in the game (batting, pitching and fielding. Likely will keep moving up in the standings.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (-2) - The Red Raiders have the best home record in the conference this season (17-4) and are at home to entertain Kansas State this weekend, which is just 4-9 away from the Little Apple.
- Kansas Jayhawks (+2) - The Jayhawks are still playing very well, but there are still many who believe Kansas has been playing over its head. The TCU series this weekend will serve as a good litmus test.
- West Virginia Mountaineers (-1) - Lost all three games last weekend at TCU after sweeping its two-game series with Baylor the week before.
- Kansas State Wildcats (-3) - K-State is still the league’s best hitting ream. Runs have not been a problem on offense, but the Wildcat pitching staff, with a collective 3.82 ERA, last in the conference, has had trouble keeping the opponents from scoring.
- Baylor Bears (-2) - A very unfamiliar place for Baylor baseball, two seasons removed from a Big 12 regular-season championship and an 18-0 league record before the Bears lost a conference game.