The 20th Annual Shriners College Classic is this weekend, February 28th-March 1st at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas! For how this tournament will shake out, this post has all you need. For ticketing and more, visit their website: www.mlb.com/astros/tickets/college-classic.
Missouri vs. Baylor, 11am
#1 Arkansas vs. #25 Oklahoma, 3pm
Texas vs. #20 LSU, 7pm
#25 Oklahoma vs. Missouri, 11am
#20 LSU vs. Baylor, 3pm
#1 Arkansas vs. Texas, 7pm
#25 Oklahoma vs. #20 LSU, 11am
Missouri vs. Texas, 3pm
Baylor vs. #1 Arkansas, 7pm
*home team listed second
#1 Arkansas (7-0) - The Razorbacks come into the Shriners College Classic with sky-high expectations. Coming off another Omaha appearance, the program's 10th, Arkansas received high rankings in all major publications, including our own. The Hogs have been in the Shriners College Classic twice before, sporting a 5-1 record. They look to continue that streak of dominance as they bring one of the most prolific offenses in the country to Houston.
5-1 in past Shriners College Classics
Baylor (5-3) - After taking a series against Nebraska on Opening Weekend, the Bears seemed right on track. However, a Week Two loss to Oral Roberts in a series at home has upped the stakes of the Shriners College Classic for Baylor. A poor showing in the tournament may set the tone for a rebuilding year for the Bears, while a couple of wins could put their season back on track.
16-17 in past Shriners College Classics
#20 LSU (6-3) - LSU has already had a four-game stretch with three losses this season, including a loss to each of Indiana, Nicholls, and Eastern Kentucky. While bewildering losses and the Tigers have seemed to go hand-in-hand over the years (and often not prevented LSU from having very successful seasons), you can't help but wonder if this year's Tigers team is in a little bit of trouble. With a team batting average of 0.241, LSU has been struggling at the plate. However, when you pair that with opponents' batting average of 0.183, you can see why there is reason for optimism in Baton Rouge.
4-2 in past Shriners College Classics
Missouri (4-4) - Despite their postseason ban, Missouri brings a talented team into the Shriners College Classic. Coming off of a couple of losses to Southland Conference teams, the Tigers will look to come out of this tournament with at least one win. They will be hoping for a bounce back weekend for their pitching staff which has so far put up a 5.20 ERA on the season.
0-3 in past Shriners College Classics
#25 Oklahoma (7-2) - Oklahoma enters the Shriners College Classic with confidence. A series win at Virginia and at home versus Illinois State has confirmed that the Sooners can pitch. Cade Cavalli is the arm to watch for the Sooners as he goes up against Arkansas on Friday afternoon. How Cavalli performs in this game will help dictate how deep in the postseason Oklahoma can go.
2-1 in past Shriners College Classics
Texas (9-0) - At 9-0, it is hard not to like Texas' record. However, it is unclear how talented of competition the Longhorns have played. A sweep on the road at Rice looks less impressive after the Owls lost four straight games after that series, and a weekend series win versus Boise State (a team who is restarting their program after a four decade hiatus) is hard to draw conclusions from. If anything, it seems like the Longhorns can pitch, as they boast a 1.65 team ERA. With just a 0.243 batting average, it will interesting to see how far the Longhorns' pitching can take them.
13-11 in past Shriners College Classics
This is a tournament filled with history and rivalry, and the eyes of the college baseball world will be on Houston this weekend.
It's hard to pick a game that will be the best of the weekend, but Saturday night's Arkansas vs. Texas matchup should be interesting. These programs have a lot of history with each other (Texas leads the series 75-37 according to Texas, 55-32 according to Arkansas). Arkansas has the talent to sweep this tournament, but Texas always gives the Razorbacks a tough test and has the capability of upsetting them.
The early game on Sunday between Oklahoma and LSU will be a quality matchup between two teams needing to prove themselves already this season. Oklahoma's pitching is their strong suit, and they needed all they could muster in a tough early road series win at Virginia. LSU will always have some of the top talent in the SEC but has struggled in the midweek games lately. If LSU is going to compete in the SEC, they will need to lock down weekend starters.
Kyle's (@kylemckelv) prediction: Arkansas 3-0, LSU 2-1, Missouri 1-2, Oklahoma 2-1, Texas 1-2, Baylor 0-3
John's (@johnny_omaha_) prediction: Arkansas 3-0, LSU 1-2, Missouri 1-2, Oklahoma 2-1, Texas 2-1, Baylor 0-3
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