Top Four Storylines for Opening Weekend

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

It has been a long offseason but the road to Omaha officially starts on Friday. That’s right folks, college baseball is back! If you need a baseball fix, don’t worry because there is plenty of action on the diamond around the Big 12.

For years, the Big 12 Conference has been one of the best conferences for college baseball, and 2024 looks to be like another promising year.

This year, the season is starting off with a bang as several teams have some premier matchups. Let’s take a look at the top four storylines heading into the weekend.

 

Arlington is the Place to Be

The 2024 college baseball starts with a bang because the Shriners Children’s College Showdown is going to be the can’t-miss tournament of the weekend. This tournament is played down in Arlington at Globe Life Field which is the home of the 2023 World Series Champion Texas Rangers.

The six teams playing in the tournament are Tennessee, Nebraska, Oregon, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Texas Tech. While there may be only two ranked teams in this tournament (Tennessee and Texas Tech), this should be a great test for the three Big 12 schools playing in it. The Red Raiders have high hopes this season to get to Omaha while Oklahoma is trying to get back into the postseason. Meanwhile, Baylor is looking to have a bounce-back year after a tough 2023 season.

Tournament Schedule

Friday 2/16

Baylor vs Nebraska

Oklahoma vs Oregon

#21 Texas Tech vs # 9 Tennessee

 

Saturday 2/17

Baylor vs Oregon

#21 Texas Tech vs Nebraska

Oklahoma vs #9 Tennessee

Sunday 2/18

Oklahoma vs Nebraska

#21 Texas Tech vs Oregon

Baylor vs #9 Tennessee

Don’t Sleep on the Desert Invitational

While most college baseball fans will be keeping tabs on the Shriners tournament, don’t forget about another great tournament out in Scottsdale. Both BYU and Kansas State will be participating in it and the Wildcats look to show everyone why they are a top 25 team. This also will give us our first look at a BYU team that needs to start strong.

 

Tournament Schedule (Big 12 Teams)

Friday 2/16

BYU vs USC

#24 Kansas State vs Cal

Saturday 2/17

#24 Kansas State vs Boston College

BYU vs Ohio State

Sunday 2/18

#24 Kansas State vs Georgetown

Monday 2/19

BYU vs Grand Canyon

How Will the Rest of the Top 25 Look?

I have already talked about Texas Tech and Kansas State but what about the two other Big 12 teams in the top 25? TCU is the preseason favorite, and they are hosting Florida Gulf Coast for a three-game series while the Texas Longhorns are set to square off against San Diego.

FGCU is having to replace of ton of production from a good 2023 team while San Diego is coming off a losing season. I don’t see either Texas or TCU having any issues this weekend and I expect both of them to sweep their opponent.

Who is on Upset Alert This Weekend?

There are a few Big 12 teams that should be on high alert for opening weekend: Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, and Houston.

The Bearcats are hitting the road against Jacksonville for a three-game series. And don’t be surprised to see an upset here. The Dolphins are for real and are the preseason favorites to win the ASUN. They are carried by their pitching which should make for an interesting matchup against Cincinnati who appears to be strong at the plate this year.

As for the Cowboys, they will be traveling to Huntsville, Texas to take on a good Sam Houston team. The Bearkats are moving from the WAC to Conference USA this year and still look to be just as competitive. They return a ton of experience on the mound and their bats are equally as good. We are going to find out a lot about this Oklahoma State team this weekend.

Lastly are the Houston Cougars who are hosting Binghamton for a three-game set. The Bearcats (yes, another Bearcat team) are the clear-cut favorites to win the America East Conference this season as they have a veteran team made up of over 15 seniors. This should be a great test for a Houston team looking to prepare for a daunting Big 12 schedule.

Other Games

Kansas vs University of Illinois Chicago (Corpus Christi, Texas)

UCF vs Bryant

West Virginia at Stetson