Spring sports were abruptly cancelled across the country to try and stop the spread of COVID-19 as we stopped large gatherings and started practicing social distancing. Just focusing on the impact to collegiate sports, we are left with some unanswered questions because of the sudden sports halt.
As such, this article series looks to discuss some of these unanswered questions and get your take (via a poll at the bottom of the article) on the sports questions that will have to go unanswered on some level since so many sporting events were cancelled.
Question #6 - How would the baseball season have turned out in the Mountain West?
First off, we should talk about where things left off. Here were the standings in 2020 before the rest of the season was cancelled:
New Mexico, 14-4
Boise State, 9-5
San Diego State, 10-6
Fresno State, 9-7
Air Force, 7-12
San Jose State, 5-12
Some interesting things here in regards to the standings.
First, Boise State was playing much better than expected. In fact, the Broncos were predicted to finish last this season. I’m not sure that Boise State was really good enough to keep it up. 4 of those wins were against Seattle University (a home sweep) & 4 more wins were against Northern Colorado (another home sweep & UNC was 4-13 this year). Still, the Broncos were playing winning ball before things got cancelled.
The opposite of Boise State was Nevada. Nevada was predicted to finish 3rd this year, but the Wolf Pack had a terrible start to the 2020 season. For a team that was 30-26 last season, Nevada seemed to have really regressed.
Going back to the more positive, New Mexico was another pleasant surprise this season. The Lobos were picked to finish 5th. Instead, they were at the top of the standings. Also, New Mexico was 5-1 against BYU. BYU has had a pretty good baseball program in recent years, so that was a solid accomplishment.
San Diego State was the preseason pick to win the conference. The team was definitely within striking distance prior to conference play. Also, San Diego State was playing a very difficult non-conference schedule, and the Aztecs were more than holding their own. To me, they looked like the favorite to finish the season strong and go on to the College World Series.
Fresno State won the conference in 2019, making the College World Series. The Bulldogs were picked to finish 2nd in the conference this year. Fresno State was playing pretty well, but it was a bit disappointing that they were swept by both Washington (0-3) and Arizona State (0-3).
UNLV, Air Force & San Jose State were all about where they were expected. That might not be completely fair to UNLV (which was underperforming expectations so far). However, none of these teams were expected to be at the top of the standings going into the season.
To me, the standings were probably going to shake out with San Diego State on top. They were playing well against a really tough non-conference schedule. I feel like Fresno State and New Mexico were both going to play well enough to be near the top of the standings. Boise State was clearly better than expected, but they were likely playing a little above their heads (record-wise) and buoyed by a weaker non-conference schedule. My guess is they likely would have fallen back to more middle-of-the-pack after the conference schedule had been played. I think Nevada might have started playing up to their potential and made it out of the cellar in the standings. That said, I don’t think they were competing for the conference this year.
So with that said, I have a couple of questions about the 2020 baseball season:
Who was going to finish first in the MWC (best conference record)?
This poll is closed
San Diego State
San Jose State
Do you think San Diego State was going back to the College World Series?
This poll is closed
Also, please leave your thoughts in the comments below about how you felt the rest of baseball season would have went.