Off The Top Of My Head: Week 11Columns
I spent this past weekend making my first-ever trek to the Palmetto State to see two of the more recent palaces built for college baseball in South Carolina’s Founders Park and Coastal Carolina’s Springs Brooks Stadium. Both are nearly perfect in their own way. Yes, they could both use less netting behind home plate to better benefit my picture-taking, but that’s my cross to bear.
Anyway, seeing what Gary Gilmore has built in that sleepy little town of Conway, South Carolina is nothing short of incredible. It really is. Prior to CCU’s national title in 2016, the only other forehead-slapping title winner was probably Fresno State. Before that?… I dunno, maybe Pepperdine. Maybe Wichita State. Maybe even all the way back to Cal State Fullerton winning its first title in its fifth year of Division I play.
That got me thinking, what other programs out there are what could be the next wave of potential “sleeping giants” in the college baseball landscape? In this day and age of our growing sport, is there such a thing as a sleeping giant anymore? I think so.
I mean, at least there are programs out there that have been dormant for a while but could win a national title with another 2016-like insane post-season (which I think is coming this June, by the way. More on that in the weeks ahead).
So as I thought about it, here are the programs that could become national contenders in a quick way sometime very soon, in both big-money programs and in the mid-major ranks.
These are the guys with the money and the Power Five status that have the potential to make themselves consistent post-season teams again.
The 2000s. The Tigers went to the NCAAs in six of seven seasons between 2003 and 2009, even making a Super Regional appearance as a four-seed in 2006
Last Time In NCAA Tournament:
2012, when the Tigers won the Big 12 tournament championship.