The Second Weekend for MWC Baseball
There are two series that should generate some interest. That means more than 500 people will show up. I mean no disrespect but that's the way college baseball is supported out in the west. Texas, LSU, and others from the southeastern part of the US look at things a bit differently. The real exception for fan support out here is Hawaii. They routinely get 4,000 to 5,000 a game. That state is simply sports crazy. Oops; where was I. The two series I allude to are San Jose State versus UC Santa Barbara and UNLV versus Tennessee. Both Tennessee and UNLV are undefeated and both Santa Barbara and UNLV are highly rated. These are games worth watching. Then there's olympic hockey.
Air Force (1-2) at Navy (1-2)
The Falcons take off to play the Middies in a tournament in North Carolina. Navy just finished losing two of three to Florida A&M which doesn't bode well for them against Air Force. On the other hand, they were 28-23 last year and were 13-7 in conference. They both hit and pitched decently last season. But this year to lose to the Rattlers (2-3) for their only wins of this young year? The Falcons could do well in this series. No, I won't pick winners as I always get shad upon when I do that.
Nevada (2-2) at Fresno State (3-2)
Another series early in the year that has conference implications. Implications, nothin'. These count. Fresno has started out quite well but got handed a tough loss to Sacramento State at home. I was not surprised as I see the Hornets as a very good team this year. The other loss was to Irvine which is also acceptable except to the most rabid of fans. I have both of these programs ending up somewhere in the middle but the mutts are looking pretty good right now. Nevada split their games with Santa Clara and Boston College which says, uh, well, crap I don't know. Santa Clara has been down so long, it looks like up to them (Bob Dylan said that I think). Boston College is a cold weather team so anytime they win, it's a bit of a surprise. The Wolf Pack will have to play up to stay in these games.
New Mexico (2-2) Hosts Lobo Invitational (Northern Illinois (0-3), Missouri State (2-1)
The Lobos are looking pretty good actually. They took one of the games with San Diego on the road and beat Arizona State on the road. The Sun Devils are always pretty good and San Diego is picked by many to win the WCC. The Northern Illinois Huskies have dropped their first three games to Minnesota in Arizona. C'mon now, can you imagine playing in Minneapolis? They were 22-34 overall and 16-11 in the MAC in 2013. Not so good and not bad, respectively. Both hitting and pitching were pretty poor so the 0-3 start is not surprising. Missouri State, however, is another story. Some fans will jokingly ask who the hell are they? All I have to know is that they are a member of the Missouri Valley Conference and that's enough. That's one tough mid-major conference. Basketball, too. I think Wichita could be number one soon if not already. The Missouri State Bears were 31-23 last season and an ok 12-9 in the MVC. They had mediocre hitting and flat out excellent pitching. If that pitching is pretty much intact, then the Lobos could be in for a tough time. This will be a good test, no need to adjust the horizontal. Northern Illinois? Not so much.
West Virginia (1-2) at San Diego State (3-1)
The Mountaineers are members of the Big 12 for those that don't know or care very much. I still find that hard to stomach as I'm old school. Nebraska should get the heck out of the Big 10 and Missouri should leave the SEC and get back home. SEC and the Big 10? Gack! The Mountaineers are a decent program with a long history but haven't done all that well in the past few years. Let me take that back. They have been competitive for years and haven't had a big winner nor a big loser in a long time. I think that's more fair. They were 33-26 last season and hit ok and had pretty good pitching. San Diego State is on a bit of a roll and should be on a high when they face West "By God" Virginia. I learned that in the army. Has anyone else heard that before?
UC Santa Barbara (1-0) at San Jose State (1-4)
The Gauchos have only played the one game because of eastern weather messing up travel. That one game was a decisive victory against a pretty good Bakersfield team. The Gauchos were rated in the top 40 (or so) by most and it looks that those ratings may have been right. They will be playing a San Jose State team that is reeling. They are putting most of the staff on the mound to see who comes out alive. Most of those arms are freshmen, sophomores, and jc transfers. So far, no pitcher has stood out. I'll be at a few of these games to see if they discover some aces in that deck. I hope so. Coach Nakama has his work cut out for him and the pitching is most of the work. Hitting has been ok at best with Andre Mercurio looking to be all world in this early stage. The Spartans are in tough.
UNLV (4-0) at Tennessee (4-0)
Hmm. Two undefeated teams. This could be good. Both teams have not really been tested. Then again, they've won ‘em all. UNLV is rated #29 by one service and probably deserves it. I have them picked as the eventual winner of the MWC so they've started hot and could remain so for awhile. The Volunteers were 22-30 last year and 8-20 in their SEC division. Coach Dave Serrano is a good one and he'll have his team ready to play. Like I said, this could be good.