Kansas released its 2008 baseball schedule this week. As has been the case throughout the Ritch Price era it will be a tough season. Here is a link to the full schedule.
Some interesting aspects.
In late February KU will go on tour of the Southeast, playing four games in five days vs. powerhouses Arkansas and Vanderbilt, as well as decent teams from Xavier and Iowa.
The first home game will be on a Wednesday, March 5th vs. LeMoyne. That weekend KU will play four more games at Hoglund vs. North Dakota State.
Before entering the heart of the Big-12 season Price will take the team on the road again, this time to Bradenton Florida to play in the Florida Spring Classic. The Jayhawks will play eight games in five days, mostly vs. less competitive programs. Eight games in five days! This will really stretch the pitching staff to its limit.
As far as Big-12 series go, KU will host Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Missouri and play Nebraska, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas on the road. The K-State series will be split again, two games in Manhattan and one in Lawrence. KU will also play a non conference game vs. Missouri at Kaufmann Stadium on April 29th.
The NCAA mandated a later starting date for the baseball season this year to reduce the advantage of warm weather schools. Despite this KU actually has fewer home games this year than road games, 26 vs. 35, and two of the KU home games are against NAIA competition so will not count in NCAA standings. Also, both games vs. the Shockers this year will be played in Wichita? I do not know why this is not a home and home series again.
Big dates to mark on your calendar:
Wednesday, March 5th, 3PM - Opening day at Hoglund vs. LeMoyne.
March 28-30 - First home Big-12 Series vs. Texas A&M.
April 11- 13 - KU hosts Texas Tech.
Tuesday, April 29, 7PM - KU vs. Missouri at Kaufmann Stadium.
May 2-4 - KU hosts Oklahoma
May 9-11 - KU hosts Missouri
Friday May 16, 6PM - KU hosts the first game of the Kansas State series.
May 21-25 - Big-12 tournament in Oklahoma City.
Here is a breakdown of the schedule based on how the opposing teams were ranked at the end of last season.
12 - Games vs. Elite competition (RPI of .590 or above)
Arkansas (1), Vanderbilt (1), Texas (3), Texas A&M (3) and Missouri (4).
18 - Games vs. Good competition (RPI of .550 to .589)
Wichita State (2), Baylor (3), Nebraska (3), Oklahoma State (3), Oklahoma (3), Oral Roberts (1), and Kansas State (3).
6 - Games vs. Fair competition (RPI of .510 to .549)
Iowa (1), LeMoyne (1), Ohio State (1) and Texas Tech (3).
4 - Games vs. Marginal competition (RPI of .480 to .509)
Xavier (1), Missouri State (2) and Illinois (1).
19 - Games vs. less competitive competition (RPI under .480)
Hawaii-Hilo (5), North Dakota State (4), Central Connecticut (1), Dartmouth (1), UMBC (1), Northwestern (3), Chicago State (2) and Northern Colorado (2). Plus two games vs. NAIA teams which will not count in NCAA standings (vs. Tabor and Baker).
KU will need to somehow scratch out about 40 wins from this schedule to make the NCAA post season tournament. Of those 30 games vs. good to elite competition, KU probably needs at least 12 or 13 wins or they will most likely not make the field of 64. In 2008 the Jayhawks may field their best team of the Ritch Price era but this schedule does them no favors.