USAFA Schedule is pretty light weight
As would be expected from a snow belt team, the Falcons play a goodly portion of their OOC schedule on the road and it's fairly heavy with military schools. Only two teams that they play would I consider challenging competition and that would be Creighton and and Missouri (both on the road). What IS challenging about their schedule is that it will be mostly on some team's home turf and that's always tough. Anyway, read on and see what you think.
2/13/2015 - 15 at Citadel
The Bulldogs were 24-24 last season and might try and take out their frustrations on another military school to start the season. They call South Carolina home so it's likely to be fair weather but, February? Who knows. They hit fairly well at .278 but the pitching didn't do its part to keep up (5.74). They had three .300 hitters and lose all three. They also lose some pop there as Bo Thompson (.315 and 9) is gone. They'll be tough to replace. Pitching was borderline dreadful. The good news is that two of the top three starters return. Austin Mason (1-5 and 5.02) and Austin Livingston (2-8 and 8.57) look to head up the staff. They need at least one more. Skylar Hunter looks to be the gold star on this staff as the closer. He was 2-4 with a great ERA of 1.67 with 15 saves and 44 strikeouts in 43 IP. He's a good one. The only trouble is, will the team be in a position to use him? Thumbs down.
2/16 at Savannah State
They call themselves the Tigers. Quick, how many other teams do that? I can think of three others; Clemson, LSU, and Missouri. Wasn't that fun? No? I'll have a little trouble talking about this team in that the 2015 roster has not been posted. Here goes: They were 22-31 but could hit (.283) but not pitch (5.53). Luckily, it looks as if they return a few good hitters led by Tre Sikes (.368 and 10), David Richards (.333), and Hector Benitez (.323). It appears they'll be able to score. Getting guys out may prove not as easy. The three top starters were all juniors and may have signed free agent contracts or got drafted. None of the three had outstanding stats so they may return. If nothing else, that adds stability and experience to a staff that got whacked a lot last season. Thumbs down.
2/24 Adams State
I don't know if this team is NAIA or a lower division of the NCAA. In either event, they were a poor 15-35 last year. The team could hit a ton at .303 but had an astronomical ERA of 8.17. That's not a typo. I ain't going any further with this. One or two games a year with a lower division is good for all but no more. The Falcons should be putting on their hitting shoes as I write this. Thumbs down.
2/27 at Navy
The Middies played in the Patriot Conference and went 23-28 overall. They didn't hit very well (.261) but the pitching was decent (3.70). Look, I follow San Jose State and their ERA was over 6.00 so I can say what I want. Only Robert Currie (.359 and 1) returns of the .300 hitters so he's a good place to start. The offense needs work, of that there is no doubt. Navy should be competitive in all games as their three top starters return and they had a good Friday guy in Anthony Parenti (8-3 and 1.52). He's worth watching. Stephen Moore (3-5 and 2.49) and Luke Gillingham (2-6 3.33) round out the weekend rotation. Not bad say I. If, for no other reason than the pitching, a thumbs up.
3/3 - 4 Omaha
The Mavericks were decent last year at 31-20 as they had decent hitting and decent pitching. Yeah, the results were decent or even a bit more than that. They had six .300 hitters which most teams would be glad to have and four return. The top three will be there so the offense should be set. Two of the top weekend starters return also and another starter with nine starts comes back to claim a spot. The Mavs should prove to be pretty good this year. Thumbs up.
3/17 - 18 at Missouri
The Tigers had a sub-par season at 20-33 as a member of the SEC. I still find it hard to say that; SEC. They should have remained in the Big 12 but so should had Nebraska. Man, things have all gone to hell. The Tigers couldn't hit (.242) and had fair pitching (4.03). Only one .300 hitter last year and he's gone. The lineup looks pretty weak in my estimation. Arms? Two starters got the bulk of the work and only one returns. John Miles will be the leader and he comes off a 2-6 5.20 year. Thumbs down.
3/24 - 25 at Creighton
The Falcons end their Nebraska odyssey by visiting the Blue Jays and playing the games in Mecca otherwise known as the big Tiddy. This should be a good experience as the Blue Jays can always be counted on being pretty good. They were 32-17 last season but that wasn't good enough to get them into the post-season. That's too bad. They did well in the Big East and made it to the conference's championship game and lost and that did them in. Overall they had pretty average hitting (.264) and pitching (4.00) so they didn't excite, they just won. Reagan Fowler was the lone .300 hitter and he returns but they need more. Based on this team's history I'll give them a thumbs up.
3/27 - 29 at Jacksonville State
The Gamecocks (yes, same as South Carolina) had a pretty good year in 2014 as they went 36-27. Before you say, "Who dat?" about this team, just remember they made it into a regional in which they lost both games. But, they were there. They hit well at .294 but the pitching was near 5.00 which will do you in during tournament time and it did. They had five .300 hitters last season but only one returns in Paschal Petrongolo (.328 and 5). The staff's top three arms return only one but he's the best of the three. Zachary Fowler (7-8 and 4.06) comes back to lead the staff again. The ace closer also returns (Travis Stout; 3-1 and 1.82 with 15 saves). Those saves means he was in about half of the team's wins so he'll be counted on again. This is a tough call but I'll give this team a thumbs up as they DID make it into tournament time.
3/31, 4/7, 14, 28 Northern Colorado (home and home)
This is the team I'll be following to get my weekend fix for D1 baseball. Poor babies went from being champions of the Great West Conference to last place in the WAC. Yeah, the WAC is a step up from the defunct GWC. What do they call that kind of reversal of fortune? From the penthouse to the outhouse? Now, I'm not trying to bad mouth the efforts of the team but they do need to amp things up a bit. Colorado has some excellent talent and they need to tap into some of it. Now, the bad news. Da Bears had troubles hitting (.242) and pitching (7.88). If you can't get it done on either end, that usually spells trouble and they certainly had troubles. The team had two .300 hitters and both come back. Jensen Park (.304) and Jake Garcia (.313) will add both stability and role model to the lineup. There will be a lot of stepping up to do for this offense to succeed. The three pitchers in the weekend rotation are gone and the others hopefully will improve. This may prove to be another tough year but I hope not. I will be watching these guys. Thumbs down.
5/1 - 3 Army
The Black Knights had a pretty good year at 33-18 as a member of the Patriot League. The Knights had poor hitting (.248) and excellent pitching (2.86) which spells a lot of close games. I'll take pitching every time and you can see it worked here. A little more offense and they may have gone postal on us; post season, that is. One .300 hitter that doesn't return so that portion of the game is a work in progress. They had three excellent starters in the low two's but only Alex Robinett (6-3 and 2.02) returns. That's a good place to start and they have two other arms that had a few starts last season who return. I think pitching will be in good shape. Thumbs up and a good rivalry.
The Falcons will be playing three service related schools in The Citadel, Army, and Navy. The Citadel was just average last season and could have pitching woes this year. Army looks to be pretty good and Navy could have pretty good pitching. The interservice rivalries are always good. But what about the other teams? Not a whole lot to get excited about but Creighton always proves tough and maybe Jacksonville State.