|Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The 2006 Conference Races||About the author, Boyd Nation|
The 2006 Conference Races
Publication Date: May 9, 2006
Good for Their Type
It's that time of year when I celebrate the fact that there are thirty-one races that matter rather than just one. I've automated a lot of the production of this report this year, so hopefully I can focus more on the comments. Everyone who could still catch the leaders theoretically is included, although in some cases there's no mathematical way that they could also pass everyone in between.
W L GB Remaining North Carolina 18 6 - @Virginia, Boston College Clemson 18 6 - Florida State, Wake Forest Virginia 16 8 2 North Carolina, Virginia Tech Wake Forest 15 8 2.5 @Miami, @Clemson Florida State 14 9 3.5 @Clemson, North Carolina State Georgia Tech 14 10 4 Duke, Miami Miami, Florida 14 10 4 Wake Forest, @Georgia Tech North Carolina State 14 10 4 @Virginia Tech, @Florida State
Realistically, everyone from FSU on down probably doesn't have a chance, although I suppose FSU and UVa sweeping this weekend would leave them only 1.5 back. UNC can probably wrap it up, along with a national seed, with a sweep this weekend. The top two have probably won the divisions, but there's no sign that anyone cares about those yet.
W L GB Remaining Vermont 11 5 - @Maryland-Baltimore County, Maine Stony Brook 8 6 2 @Albany, Maryland-Baltimore County Maine 8 6 2 Hartford, @Vermont Binghamton 10 8 2 Albany Albany 8 8 3 Stony Brook, @Binghamton Hartford 7 13 6 @Maine Maryland-Baltimore County 4 10 6 Vermont, @Stony Brook
The best chance for anyone other than Vermont winning this is for Maine to stay in range this weekend before heading over next week. All told, though, the boys in green have probably got this one.
W L GB Remaining Rhode Island 14 5 - @St. Louis, Massachusetts Dayton 15 6 - @Fordham, St. Louis St. Bonaventure 14 6 0.5 @Temple, Richmond St. Louis 13 8 2 Rhode Island, @Dayton North Carolina-Charlotte 13 8 2 @Duquesne, Fordham Fordham 11 10 4 Dayton, @North Carolina-Charlotte Richmond 10 11 5 George Washington, @St. Bonaventure Duquesne 10 11 5 North Carolina-Charlotte, George Washington George Washington 9 10 5 @Richmond, @Duquesne Massachusetts 9 12 6 St. Joseph's, @Rhode Island
OK, looking at this you'd think the entire conference was still in range. Realistically, though, it's a three-horse race, and the favorite isn't one of those three. The schedule probably favors the Bonnies slightly, although the rainouts make URI a slight favorite. Too bad none of the top teams are playing each other. No divisions this year, so this is all there is.
W L GB Remaining Jacksonville 18 6 - Mercer, @Lipscomb Mercer 16 8 2 @Jacksonville, Belmont North Florida 18 9 1.5 Lipscomb Stetson 12 12 6 Florida Atlantic, @Gardner-Webb East Tennessee State 12 12 6 Gardner-Webb, @Florida Atlantic
This one's finally shaken out a bit, and the league is most likely spared the ignominy of UNF winning the league on its first lap around, since one of the other two leaders has to win this weekend. Since FAU has kind of taken their last season off, this is the face of the conference in years to come.
W L GB Remaining Texas 19 4 - @Missouri Nebraska 16 5 2 @Baylor, Oklahoma Oklahoma 15 6 3 @Oklahoma State, @Nebraska
You know, at the end of the UT-Nebraska series, I was fairly sure I knew who was going to win the Big 12. I do these things occasionally to remind myself not to believe my hype, apparently. Nebraska could still win it, theoretically, since they're only one loss back, but I don't see a sweep against either Baylor or OU as all that likely.
W L GB Remaining Notre Dame 17 3 - @Seton Hall, @Villanova Connecticut 13 5 3 @Pittsburgh, Rutgers St. John's 13 7 4 South Florida, @Cincinnati
One of the hazards of an overly large conference is that none of these teams appear on each other's remaining list. Notre Dame's easily the best team here, so it's a good thing that they're going to win.
W L GB Remaining Winthrop 13 5 - High Point, @Virginia Military High Point 12 6 1 @Winthrop, @Liberty Birmingham-Southern 12 6 1 Charleston Southern, Radford Liberty 11 7 2 @North Carolina-Asheville, High Point Coastal Carolina 9 9 4 @Radford, North Carolina-Asheville North Carolina-Asheville 8 10 5 Liberty, @Coastal Carolina
This is a much tighter race than you'd expect. High Point is more or less the controlling factor, since they finish with two of the other contenders, but having to do it on the road makes it tough for them. This could be a two-bid conference, so finishing second is a big deal.
W L GB Remaining Michigan 16 8 - @Penn State, Iowa Northwestern 16 8 - Michigan State, @Purdue Ohio State 15 9 1 Minnesota, Penn State Illinois 12 12 4 @Indiana, @Michigan State Purdue 11 13 5 @Iowa, Northwestern Penn State 11 13 5 Michigan, @Ohio State Minnesota 11 13 5 @Ohio State, Indiana Michigan State 10 14 6 @Northwestern, Illinois Iowa 10 14 6 Purdue, @Michigan Indiana 8 16 8 Illinois, @Minnesota
Another hazard -- playing four-game series means that a team that's eight games back is still showing up as in contention with two weeks left. The conference has been strangely off-kilter all year, and I could see any of the top three walking out with it, especially since they don't play each other.
W L GB Remaining Cal State Fullerton 12 3 - Cal Poly, @Long Beach State Long Beach State 9 3 1.5 UC Santa Barbara, @UC Riverside, Fullerton Cal Poly 8 7 4 @Cal State Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara UC Irvine 5 7 5.5 Pacific, @Northridge, UC Riverside UC Riverside 5 7 5.5 Northridge, Long Beach State, @UC Irvine UC Santa Barbara 6 9 6 @Long Beach State, @Cal Poly Cal State Northridge 4 8 6.5 @UC Riverside, UC Irvine, @Pacific
There's a lot of ball left to play, but this is basically a two-horse race, but that's one more horse than it looked like it would be a month ago, so this is worth watching. One of the most reliable entertainment options on the calendar has become that end-of-year Fullerton-Beach battle. The battle for third has some obvious tournament implications.
W L GB Remaining Rice 17 1 - Houston, @Marshall Houston 17 4 1.5 @Rice
There's that pesky Marshall wrapup to deal with, but realistically the two big boys will wrap it up this weekend over at Reckling. Anybody noticed that the WAC has basically but surprisingly been about as good as C-USA this year?
W L GB Remaining Old Dominion 19 5 - @North Carolina-Wilmington, @Towson James Madison 20 7 0.5 North Carolina-Wilmington Northeastern 15 9 4 @Virginia Commonwealth, @George Mason North Carolina-Wilmington 14 10 5 Old Dominion, @James Madison Virginia Commonwealth 14 10 5 Northeastern, @Delaware
It's not really the schedulers' fault, since Wilmington was expected to be the class of the league this year, but it's annoying to have them deciding the winner. ODU's been surprisingly vulnerable lately, so it wouldn't be too surprising to see this go into the last weekend tied. That still probably favors ODU, but it makes for a good race, anyway.
W L GB Remaining Illinois-Chicago 17 6 - Butler, @Wright State Wisconsin-Milwaukee 14 10 3.5 @Youngstown State, @Butler Wright State 13 11 4.5 @Cleveland State, Illinois-Chicago Youngstown State 12 12 5.5 Wisconsin-Milwaukee, @Cleveland State
Realistically, UIC's got this one sewn up already and will go into the tournament as the #1 seed.
W L GB Remaining Harvard 14 6 -
This is worth noting, because they already lost the playoff to Princeton, so this is all they have for the season.
W L GB Remaining LeMoyne 15 5 - Marist, Rider Rider 15 6 0.5 @Canisius, @LeMoyne Marist 13 7 2 @LeMoyne, Iona Manhattan 12 8 3 St. Peter's, @Canisius Niagara 12 9 3.5 @Siena, St. Peter's Siena 10 11 5.5 Niagara, Fairfield
The scheduling looks good, as the leaders will face off the last weekend more or less tied, unless the uneven competition this weekend lets Rider pull ahead. LeMoyne at home is still a good bet, though.
W L GB Remaining Kent State 16 5 - Akron, @Buffalo Central Michigan 15 6 1 @Western Michigan, Ball State Ball State 13 7 2.5 @Northern Illinois, @Central Michigan Eastern Michigan 13 8 3 @Toledo, Western Michigan Miami, Ohio 12 9 4 Ohio, @Akron Western Michigan 11 9 4.5 Central Michigan, @Eastern Michigan Ohio 10 11 6 @Miami, Ohio, Bowling Green State
The top two here will win the divisions. Kent gets to finish with the worst two teams in their division, so they'll probably hang on to win it overall.
W L GB Remaining Bethune-Cookman 15 0 -
No one else in the conference has looked at all close to B-C this year, so they'll be a heavily favored #1 seed in the conference tournament.
W L GB Remaining Wichita State 13 8 - Northern Iowa Southern Illinois 11 7 0.5 Evansville, @Illinois State Evansville 10 8 1.5 @Southern Illinois, Bradley Bradley 11 9 1.5 @Evansville Missouri State 9 8 2 Illinois State, @Indiana State Creighton 9 9 2.5 Indiana State, @Northern Iowa Illinois State 8 10 3.5 @Missouri State, Southern Illinois Northern Iowa 7 11 4.5 @Wichita State, Creighton
This conference has been all over the place this year, so it's no surprise that it's still anyone's ballgame. The schedule most likely favors SIU, since those games in hand are going to come in handy, although Evansville at least gets the chance this weekend to make themselves relevant.
W L GB Remaining Oral Roberts 10 1 - @Southern Utah, Oakland Oakland 11 5 1.5 Centenary, @Oral Roberts Western Illinois 10 8 3.5 Valparaiso Centenary 9 9 4.5 @Oakland Southern Utah 8 8 4.5 Oral Roberts, @Chicago State Valparaiso 5 10 7 Chicago State, @Western Illinois
For a brief time this year, it looked like someone might finally challenge ORU, but I just don't see it now. For those of you who notice these things, yes, that's a very large number of rainouts.
W L GB Remaining Texas Christian 14 5 - @New Mexico San Diego State 13 6 1 @Brigham Young New Mexico 10 6 2.5 @Nevada-Las Vegas, Texas Christian Brigham Young 9 7 3.5 San Diego State, @Utah
UNM is actually the spoiler here, since they could go into that last weekend in their unusual home park only one back. I'd call this one a three-team race at this point.
W L GB Remaining Monmouth 14 4 - @Central Connecticut State, @Wagner Quinnipiac 12 5 1.5 St. Francis, @Central Connecticut State Central Connecticut State 12 6 2 Monmouth, Quinnipiac Wagner 10 8 4 Long Island, Monmouth Sacred Heart 11 9 4 @Fairleigh Dickinson
Last year, I said I should do these in something other than alphabetical order so that I would still have something interesting to say when I got down to this point. Frankly, I think I could start here, and I still wouldn't have anything interesting to say about the NEC. Monmouth is the best of a really bad lot.
W L GB Remaining Samford 16 5 - @Tennessee Tech, Tennessee-Martin Eastern Illinois 13 8 3 @Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State Jacksonville State 13 8 3 @Tennessee-Martin, Murray State Eastern Kentucky 12 8 3.5 Eastern Illinois, Austin Peay State Tennessee Tech 10 11 6 Samford, @Southeast Missouri State Austin Peay State 10 11 6 Murray State, @Eastern Kentucky
It's not over, but you can see there from here. Nobody within six games hasn't already had their shot at Samford, so it's theirs to lose.
W L GB Remaining Oregon State 11 4 - @Arizona State, @Washington State, UCLA Southern California 10 8 2.5 @UCLA, Arizona Arizona State 8 7 3 Oregon State, @Arizona, California UCLA 8 7 3 Southern California, Stanford, @OSU Washington 9 9 3.5 Stanford, Washington State Washington State 7 8 4 @Arizona, Oregon State, @Washington California 9 12 5 @Arizona State Arizona 6 9 5 Washington State, Arizona State, @USC Stanford 7 11 5.5 @Washington, @UCLA
The lack of a conference tournament means that there's still a ways to go, but nobody has looked nearly as good as OSU, so unless ASU can make a strong move this weekend, it's over again.
W L GB Remaining Bucknell 13 7 - Lehigh 13 7 -
Lehigh is the top seed, and the way the Patriot playoffs are structured, that actually matters.
W L GB Remaining Kentucky 16 8 - Mississippi State, @Georgia Alabama 15 9 1 Florida, @Tennessee Arkansas 14 10 2 @Mississippi, Auburn Mississippi 13 11 3 Arkansas, @Mississippi State South Carolina 13 11 3 Tennessee, @Vanderbilt Georgia 13 11 3 @Auburn, Kentucky Vanderbilt 12 12 4 @Louisiana State, South Carolina Mississippi State 11 12 4.5 @Kentucky, Mississippi Louisiana State 11 13 5 Vanderbilt, @Florida
Repeat after me -- parity does not equal excellence. It doesn't have to equal mediocrity, either, but it's not really a good sign that the ninth place team is only five back. Alabama gets to finish with two of the three teams who aren't on this list, so they're the favorite at this point. UK will win the East, shocking lots of people, while Bama will probably win the West but can't guarantee it.
W L GB Remaining Mississippi Valley State 18 6 - Jackson State 18 6 -
These aren't the actual standings, since the conference office has decided that JSU has to forfeit four conference games due to an ineligible player, but the makeup of the conference tournament didn't change, so it's kind of a pointless distinction. Valley and Prairie View won the divisions.
W L GB Remaining College of Charleston 17 4 - @Furman, The Citadel Elon 19 5 -0.5 @North Carolina-Greensboro Furman 13 8 4 College of Charleston, @Western Carolina Georgia Southern 12 9 5 Appalachian State, @Wofford
Now, that's a close race, although it's a shame they've already played. Going two of three from here on out would leave them tied, so the team that can manage a sweep will be the one that wins it.
W L GB Remaining McNeese State 17 7 - Northwestern State, @Lamar Texas-San Antonio 16 8 1 Sam Houston State, Texas State Texas State 16 8 1 Texas-Arlington, @Texas-San Antonio Lamar 18 9 0.5 McNeese State Texas-Arlington 15 10 2.5 @Texas State Northwestern State 13 11 4 @McNeese State, Louisiana-Monroe Sam Houston State 12 12 5 @Texas-San Antonio, Stephen F. Austin State
Four teams within a game, and all four of them pairing off for the last weekend? Woo hoo; now that's a race! Lamar's probably a very slight favorite, but that's so slight as to be not worth mentioning. Enjoy this one.
W L GB Remaining Louisiana-Lafayette 14 4 - @Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky Troy 14 4 - @Arkansas-Little Rock, Middle Tennessee State South Alabama 14 6 1 Arkansas State Middle Tennessee State 9 8 4.5 Louisiana-Lafayette, @Troy Florida International 8 10 6 @Western Kentucky, Arkansas-Little Rock
Here's another good one, although not quite up to the bar that the Southland sets out there. Troy's the best team, but I can't see any reason to favor them over UL-L at this point.
W L GB Remaining Hawaii 14 6 - @San Jose State San Jose State 12 6 1 @Fresno State, Hawaii Fresno State 12 6 1 San Jose State, @Cal State Sacramento
Again, line 'em up and let them play each other. This essentially amounts to a three-team playoff heading into the conference tournament, since the winner of this weekend's SJSU-FSU clash will go into the last weekend in good shape.
W L GB Remaining Pepperdine 12 6 - @St. Mary's San Francisco 12 6 - Loyola Marymount San Diego 11 7 1 Gonzaga Loyola Marymount 8 7 2.5 @San Francisco, @Portland St. Mary's 9 9 3 Pepperdine
This one comes down to the one remaining series, and nobody gets to play each other. Despite no longer having divisions, the WCC still has the two-team playoff this year, and there will probably be at most two bids given (quite unfairly), so finishing second really matters here.
This means absolutely nothing, ignore it.
This is one generic layman's predictions for who gets in the tournament. I'm not going to bother picking a team from the one-bid conferences, since the conference tournament will just be a crapshoot, but if I only list one team from a conference, they'll get an at large bid if they don't get the automatic bid.
America East Notre Dame Kansas Georgia Atlantic 10 Winthrop Baylor South Carolina Big Ten Old Dominion Cal State Fullerton Arkansas Horizon Jacksonville UC Irvine Mississippi State Princeton Clemson Long Beach State Mississippi MAAC Georgia Tech Cal Poly Louisiana State MAC North Carolina Rice Kentucky MEAC North Carolina State Houston Vanderbilt Mid-Continent Florida State Southern Mississippi College of Charleston Mountain West Wake Forest Tulane Elon MVC Virginia Arizona State Troy NEC Miami, Florida UCLA South Alabama OVC Nebraska Oregon State Hawaii Patriot Texas Washington Fresno State Southland Oklahoma Southern California Pepperdine SWAC Oklahoma State Alabama San Francisco
Pitch Count Watch
Rather than keep returning to the subject of pitch counts and pitcher usage in general too often for my main theme, I'm just going to run a standard feature down here where I point out potential problems; feel free to stop reading above this if the subject doesn't interest you. This will just be a quick listing of questionable starts that have caught my eye -- the general threshold for listing is 120 actual pitches or 130 estimated, although short rest will also get a pitcher listed if I catch it. Don't blame me; I'm just the messenger.
|4/28||UC Santa Barbara||Andy Graham||Cal State Northridge>||8.1||8||2||2||2||6||31||36||135|
|5/05||North Carolina-Wilmington||Thomas Benton||Delaware||9.0||7||3||1||4||11||32||38||145(*)|
|5/05||Duquesne||Scott Chisholm||St. Joseph's||9.0||10||5||4||1||8||37||40||137(*)|
|5/05||Mississippi State||Brooks Dunn||Florida||9.0||8||2||2||0||11||34||37||123|
|5/05||Fordham||Javier Martinez||Rhode Island||7.0||4||2||2||5||8||24||29||122|
|5/05||Georgia State||Romas Hicks||George Mason||7.0||6||5||1||5||7||25||32||128|
|5/05||Sam Houston State||Timothy Gray||Texas-Arlington||7.2||9||4||4||3||1||31||34||130|
|5/05||South Dakota State||Robby Apo||North Dakota State||9.0||8||5||5||2||12||36||41||128|
|5/05||George Washington||Derrik Lutz||St. Louis||9.0||8||7||4||3||6||33||38||132(*)|
|5/05||Ball State||Ben Snyder||Toledo||8.1||11||6||6||2||7||36||39||121|
|5/05||UC Riverside||James Simmons||Pacific||7.2||8||1||1||2||7||28||30||123|
|5/05||Houston||Brad Lincoln||Central Florida||7.0||5||1||1||2||10||25||27||122|
|5/05||Utah||Josh Cooper||Texas Christian||8.0||6||2||2||2||11||27||32||127|
|5/05||Texas Christian||Jake Arrieta||Utah||9.0||5||0||0||1||11||29||34||122|
|5/05||Washington||Tim Lincecum||Oregon State||8.0||5||4||4||5||16||28||34||146(*)|
|5/06||Austin Peay State||Rowdy Hardy||Eastern Illinois||8.0||11||4||3||2||2||32||36||127|
|5/06||Norfolk State||Joseph Seal||Florida A&M||9.0||11||4||4||5||11||35||40||171|
|5/06||Oklahoma||Daniel McCutchen||Kansas State||8.2||5||3||3||2||6||27||30||121|
|5/06||Lipscomb||Matt Schnelly||Florida Atlantic||6.0||12||6||5||1||8||31||33||123|
|5/06||Coppin State||Matt Bellon||North Carolina A&T||8.0||10||4||4||4||7||32||36||131(*)|
|5/06||Lipscomb||Josh Smith||Florida Atlantic||7.0||10||6||3||2||3||31||35||123|
|5/06||North Florida||Brad Johnson||Gardner-Webb||8.1||6||1||1||2||3||31||33||121|
|5/06||Appalachian State||Jason Rook||The Citadel||7.1||5||1||1||3||4||25||29||124|
|5/06||New York Tech||Joe Esposito||Army||7.0||5||4||4||5||7||23||33||128|
|5/06||Georgia Southern||Everett Teaford||College of Charleston||9.0||7||4||3||1||6||31||35||126|
|5/06||Southern Illinois||Tyler Norrick||Indiana State||8.2||6||2||0||0||7||30||31||130|
|5/06||James Madison||Ryan Reid||Towson||7.0||4||2||1||4||14||26||31||131(*)|
|5/06||Louisiana State||Louis Coleman||Auburn||6.0||6||3||3||2||5||23||26||121|
|5/06||Oklahoma State||Matt Gardner||Nebraska||9.0||8||4||4||0||3||31||36||124|
|5/06||New Mexico||Danny Ray Herrera||Brigham Young||8.0||9||3||2||1||8||34||35||124|
|5/06||Dayton||Luke Trubee||North Carolina-Charlotte||9.0||11||2||2||1||7||38||40||135(*)|
|5/06||Penn State||Alan Stidfole||Purdue||8.1||10||6||4||3||9||35||40||144(*)|
|5/07||Rhode Island||Adam Perkins||Fordham||8.0||8||1||1||3||9||31||34||121|
|5/07||Iona||Matt Costello||St. Peter's||7.1||8||5||4||8||6||27||35||136(*)|
|5/07||Northwestern State||Drew Brown||Lamar||7.1||5||4||4||4||9||27||32||128|
|5/07||Coppin State||B Auch||North Carolina A&T||8.0||11||7||2||2||7||37||39||134(*)|
|5/08||Birmingham-Southern||David Horne||High Point||7.0||13||7||7||0||4||33||35||126|
|5/08||Virginia Military||J. J. Hollenbeck||Coastal Carolina||8.0||6||3||3||3||3||29||34||129|
|5/08||Georgia Southern||Dustin Evans||College of Charleston||6.2||10||5||5||1||6||29||32||127|
|5/08||College of Charleston||Nick Chigges||Georgia Southern||8.0||5||2||0||2||7||30||34||127|
|5/08||Virginia Military||Travis Smink||Coastal Carolina||9.0||4||2||1||6||4||26||35||130|
|5/08||College of Charleston||Jeff Beliveau||Georgia Southern||6.2||6||0||0||3||5||26||29||121|
|5/08||Penn State||Craig Clark||Purdue||7.0||11||5||4||1||8||30||33||122|
|5/10||Maryland-Eastern Shore||Dustin Longchamps||Maryland||8.0||5||3||2||5||8||27||33||126|
|5/10||Savannah State||Javier Fiallo||Norfolk State||9.0||10||4||4||3||5||34||38||142|
|5/10||Norfolk State||Frankie Caldeyro||Savannah State||9.0||7||7||6||8||6||27||40||142|
(*) Pitch count is estimated. As always, I welcome actual pitch count corrections.If you're interested in reprinting this or any other Boyd's World material for your publication or Web site, please read the reprint policy and contact me
|Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The 2006 Conference Races||About the author, Boyd Nation|