The baseball team could go farther than the football team

While the football team came one University of Texas point short of the BCS National Title game, Jim Schlossnagle was putting the final players in place to make another title run. The football team reached a level they hadn’t competed at since the 1930s. The baseball team has a chance to make some history of its own this spring.

The Horned Frog baseball team will open the season at No. 11 in the Baseball America poll, but there are three reasons to believe the team has a better chance to end the year at No. 1 than football did.

1) A head start never hurts:

The football team opened the year at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and crawled through the rankings as the wins piled up. But just as important as their wins were the losses and close calls of the teams around them. In college football, because there isn’t a huge sample size of games, expectations are king. If an Alabama team has to squeeze by Auburn in late November, expectations for the team lower and the chance of ‘Bama getting jumped in the poll increases as such.

But while Alabama may fall a spot, they won’t fall behind a team that started the year at No. 17. Now, had the football Frogs started in or near the top 10, a sound argument could have been made to jump a top-five team.

In collegiate baseball, teams lose. Even the national champion will likely have at least a couple of blemishes on its record. When top teams slip up, the TCU baseball team will have a chance to take advantage and move up the ranks.

They don’t have to get to the top-two to be playing in the last game of the year, and a high ranking will give them a high seed in the NCAA Regionals and make the path to the title that much easier.

2) Defense wins championships:

Just as the football team relied on stellar defense to win games, this baseball team will rely on its pitching. Luckily for them, that means depending on a starting pitching staff so good that senior pitcher Tyler Lockwood will take his well-developed skills to the bullpen.

Lockwood was 7-2 his sophomore year with a 2.75 earned run average and was named to the All-Mountain West team. He still had a strong year last year, despite less polished statistics. He would be a starting pitcher in the large majority of college baseball programs, but this team is so loaded on the mound they can afford to use him in long relief.

This team shouldn’t give up many runs. If the offense finds its rhythm early in the year, TCU will be in the discussion for a top bid in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.

3) They have been and will be tested:

Outside of Clemson and Air Force, no team came close to beating the football Frogs until the Fiesta Bowl. While that says a lot about the talent of last year’s football team, it also didn’t prepare the team terribly well for the final slugfest with Boise State. They were in the driver’s seat in all but the Clemson game, and it can be argued that the team wasn’t prepared to play from behind.

This baseball team battled and beat No. 4 Cal State-Fullerton, No. 20 Ole Miss, No. 18 New Mexico and No. 13 Oregon State. They received a bid to host a regional last year. Then, they won it. They faced their biggest demon in the University of Texas in the Super Regionals and took them to the limit before losing to the eventual national champions.

This team has seen everything that will be thrown at it and has had success. That’s why TCU will be playing in Omaha this year for the College World Series.