The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. That's the best way to describe Auburn's 2011 Baseball Schedule. It's also a fitting way to describe the 2011 Auburn Baseball team. The antihero of those great Sergio Leone Westerns is "The Man With No Name". More than a moniker, TNWNN became a stock character:
The "Man With No Name", as personified by Eastwood, embodies the archetypical characteristics of the American movie cowboy — toughness, exceptional physical strength or size, independence, and skill with a gun — but departed from the original archetype due to his moral ambiguity. ...He is generally portrayed as an outsider, a mercenary or bounty hunter, or even an outlaw. He is characteristically soft-spoken and laconic.
You'd have to fudge the definition just a bit but I think it can fit Auburn's 2011 Team. The superstars are gone and what remains, essentially, are men with no names. Guys who will need to step up and fill roles. Tough and gritty, but fitting the AUburn mold of outsiders. I'd say only two guys might make the preseason All-SEC team. There won't be much hype and I'm sure most of the talk next year will be about replacing the John Wayne's (Hunter Morris) and Alan Ladd's (Trent Mummey) of the 2010 team. This 2011 team will be different. Akin to mercenaries who posses unique skill sets. Not flashy, just workman-like in their approach. That will be the Auburn mold in 2011.
So let's run down the schedule shall we?
- -A superb non-conference slate that includes 5 teams that made the NCAA Tournament last year: Virginia, Jacksonville State, Bethune Cookman, College of Charleston, and Arizona State.
- -4 of those non conference games in the friendly confines of Plainsman Park.
- A Marquee Non-Con against Arizona State.
- -Missing the Florida Gators for another (and probably final) year.
- A manageable road schedule with the only big road bumps being @LSU April 15-17 and @South Carolina April 29-May 1
- A winnable but still tough Non-Conference Tournament at the College of Charleston (with Western Kentucky/New York Tech/and CofC)
- Rivalry games against UGA and Alabama at home.
- They might not look like it on paper but the rest of the non-cons should be a bit challenging. Troy and South Alabama are always tough. and Memphis is constantly improving. Just scanning the schedule on paper, the only home games I would be immediately confident about are Radford and Texas Southern.
- Playing with the Big Boys early. Virginia, Arkansas, Arizona State, and the Capitol City Classic all round out the Feb/March Schedule.
- The start times for that CofC Tourney? How about Noon/Noon/and 10am CST. Yeesh.
- A stretch from March 22 until April 17 when Auburn will only play 4 of 15 games at home.
The schedule is actually extremely favorable. If you're a college baseball fan it's dang near perfect. The main motto going in to 2011 will be protecting Plainsman Park. The home schedule is absolutely delicious when it comes to matchups and marquee names coming to town. We'll leave you with Clint: