The new uniform start date, which limits the length of the season for all the teams in college baseball, have forced the CAA and the WAC to change their conference schedules. Last season, we saw each team in the CAA play ten conference series for a total of 30 games while the WAC played 32 conference games. The CAA in 2009 will play 24 conference games over eight series and the WAC will be playing a 24 games in four game sets.
The elimination of conference games is a byproduct of the condensed schedule for all these teams. We were able to talk with Northeastern head coach Neil McPhee who stated the following about the removal of two conference series:
“For a northern team, we want our weekend scheduled filled as much as possible. Weekends that aren’t filled, especially early in the year(March), means we have to travel. Also, I like playing everyone in the conference, it gives a much truer picture of the competitive balance at the end of the year.”
We then were able to talk with UNC-Wilmington head coach Mark Scalf who had the opposite feeling about the elimination of two series:
The CAA Baseball coaches proposed the eight series schedule in an attempt to improve the league RPI by giving each school a couple more weekends for non conference games with the condensed schedule. We also wanted to have eight teams at the conference tournament if we moved to the eight series schedule in an attempt to make it as equitable as possible because of who each team may miss each year. The eight series schedule was approved, but not the eight team tournament. We’ll have to wait and see what effect it may have on our league RPI and our league’s post season opportunities.
I tend to side with Neil McPhee in this situation as he is always struggling to get any non-conference home games. Also, it doesn’t give the conference a true balance for a champion. Some years we will see the top teams in the conference not playing each other until the end of the season conference tourney.
Do you think conferences should be cutting back on conference games in favor of playing more non-conference series thus raising the RPI in the conference? Comment below.