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Twelve-Team Tournaments

Publication Date: February 10, 2004

Think Big

There's an interesting movement going on, and I wanted to look at some of the possibilities that it produces this week. None of this has been announced, because nothing about college baseball is ever announced (more on that frustration with the lack of organization later), but the word of mouth seems to be spreading. It began with the word that the ACC was planning to continue their policy of having all conference teams participate in the conference tournament in some form or another, even after the conference grows to twelve teams. The SEC has followed up with discussions of expanding its tournament to all twelve teams, potentially as early as the 2005 season.

Whether this is a good idea is a separate discussion than how it should be done, and, frankly, I'm unsure of the actual motivation. I'm of the stated opinion that the only conferences that probably should hold tournaments are those that can make a good bit of money by doing so without risking a chance of teams with a legitimate shot of going far in the postseason being left out of the NCAA tournament. That pretty much means the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 are the only leagues with any real business holding a tournament. When you add to that the fact of Florida's 2003 tournament bid, obtained after finishing 9th in the regular season and missing the SEC tournament, I can't see any reason that the leagues would go to twelve team tournaments, but those three are the ones most likely to go to twelve, so the harm is probably less than it could be.

That said, if they're going to do it, it would be nice if they did it well, so I wanted to look at ways to do it well -- fair, competitive, and interesting would be a good start. There are actually at least three conflicting potential goals that could be considered -- hope that everyone has an even chance, hope that teams who performed better in the regular season are rewarded with a better chance to win, or hope that a bubble team or a team that otherwise wouldn't qualify will win. None of these are any better or worse than any other, especially for the leagues that are likely to be involved here. With that in mind, I'd like to present a few alternate formats for consideration to see if anything sticks.

Andy Rooney Mode

As as aside, I was notified this week (and verified), that the selection committee last week voted to allow Dallas Baptist to be counted in this year's RPI. DBU is in the transitional phase and was supposed to have submitted their schedule back in the fall for approval similar to that that was given to Northern Colorado (which in itself isn't particularly a good thing). When they failed to get that in on time, they were given another chance and have been added. I have nothing against the team (they'll be somewhere around the middle of the pack in Division I for now), but the season's already started, and this is fairly similar to, say, Major League Baseball deciding in mid-May to allow that troubled Portland AAA team to join the NL West. On some level, you can't just make it up as you go along.

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.

Date   Team   Pitcher   Opponent   IP   H   R   ER   BB   SO   AB   BF   Pitches
Feb 6 Campbell Joey Babyak Texas Tech 8.0 11 9 9 2 4 35 39 139

We're starting early this year, alas.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Twelve-Team Tournaments About the author, Boyd Nation