Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bring on the Big Boys

Who would you like to see Auburn play non-conference? I asked on Twitter and the responses showed that Auburn fans (especially die hard Auburn baseball fans) are clamoring for big non-conference match-ups. Now, My suggestion/dream would be for Auburn to resume a series with Georgia Tech midweek. Playing in Auburn, in Atlanta (at GT's on campus Russ Chandler), and a final game either in Gwinett or at Turner Field.



@NickyV95 Nick Villanacci agrees:

that would be an amazing series. I'd try to go to all three games.

Other suggestions showed that Auburn fans aren't shying away from big non-conference series:

@jmiddsau Jonathan Middleton wants to go West, young man:

Cal state fullerton. Witchita state. Texas.

@jwm0004 Justin Malone also thinks we need to think Plains States:

TCU, Nebraska, Rice

@ChrisRushingCSM Chris Rushing echoes the Texas sentiment:

I would love a home-and-home with Cal State-Fullerton or Texas. Texas mainly for the opportunity to go to Austin.

@WarBlogle WarBlogle.com wants some Tiger meat every year:

Clemson every year. Fullerton would be cool.

@AUKGB Keith G. Barrow Also wants the Titans:

Cal St Fullerton

@jwm0004 Justin Malone wants to go All-ACC:

ga tech, fsu, Clemson

@Elliott_Cook Elliott Cook has some other ACC Foes he wants to see:

my vote is Rice, UNC, and Miami. Miami series in honor of 90s transfer Derek Reif.

@jmjonesjr James Jones brings up Nebraska and the ACC Heavies:

GA Tech, Clemson, other usual ACC suspects...what about Nebraska?

@jaredm2012 Jared Miller wants the Purple & Orange also:

Clemson for sure, often. Possibly College of Charleston or Texas A&M

@Jkm4au Kris agrees:

Clemson

@PrestonHornsby Preston Hornsby has a unique in-state suggestion:

at Alabama State because new stadium is so close to OLD CLOVERDALE :)

I will admit the thought of baseball followed by Tomatino's or maybe some Sinclair's does sound good.

@dmiller1856 D. Miller agrees about the GT series:

GT... Close enough to travel, could play one at Turner. FSU would be another.

@cfuhrmeister Chris Fuhrmeister is on the same page:

I'd like to see an annual series against Georgia Tech or Florida State.

@murpho5 justin murphy wants Northern foes:

big ten school or a pac 12 school

@JaredSmiths Jared Smith also likes the idea of games in Atlanta:

Love the venues idea! Players & Recruits would be thrilled over games at Turner or Gwinnett. @AUTigerBaseball: let's make it happen

But @JaredSmiths Jared Smith also is thinking about Vacation days:

How about ski weekend series at NorthernColorado in Feb & beach series at Miami in May? Always away series! I'd travel for them.

Back to D. Miller, who wants to see a personal series:

I have to throw my alma mater in the mix... Mercer. Would make a good midweek series.

@GoCrazyCadillac Paul Stewart wants meaningful games:

I would love to see us play someone like Miami or maybe Texas. Big traditional powers to try to raise our profile.

D. Miller also brings up a unique opportunity for Auburn. Playing in MLB Stadiums:

How about Maryland at Camden Yard?....What about Boston College with a Sunday finale at Fenway?

That could happen. For Every MLB club, there is an NCAA Team (and in most cases NCAA power) close by:

MLB Team College Team(s)
Tampa Bay South Florida
NY Yankees St. John's
Boston Boston College, Harvard, Northeastern,
Boston University
Toronto U Buffalo?
Baltimore Maryland, Navy
Minnesota U Minnesota
Chicago White Sox Notre Dame
Detroit Michigan? Michigan State?
Cleveland Ohio State? Akron
Kansas City K-State?, Kansas?
Texas TCU, SMU, Dallas Baptist
Oakland Cal/ Stanford
LA Angels Fullerton
Seattle Washington
Philadelphia Temple, Penn, Villanova, LaSalle, St. Joe's
Atlanta Georgia Tech, Georgia State
Florida Miami, Florida International
New York Mets St. John's, Hofstra
Washington Georgetown, George Washington
Cincinnati Cincinnati Bearcats
St. Louis U St. Louis, Mizzou?
Milwaukee UW-Milwaukee
Houston Rice, Houston
Chicago Cubs Northwestern
Pittsburgh Pitt
San Francisco Cal/Stanford?
San Diego USD, SDSU
Colorado Air Force?
Los Angeles UCLA, USC
Arizona Arizona State

Now some of these aren't exactly feasible. There's no real point RPI or travel-wise to play the likes of UW-Milwaukee in Wisconsin. The best thing would be for Auburn to become a part of the Dodgertown Classic (like UGA did) or the Houston College Classic or even the Cal Baseball Classic in San Francisco. For Auburn, the struggle would be two-fold: you need a strong enough schedule RPI wise and justification for playing a road series. It's not often that Auburn leaves the comfy confines of Plainsman Park (or the state of Alabama) for a non-conference game. In fact since 1991, Auburn has only played a handful of Weekend Road Series outside the state of Alabama. Sometimes, the farthest south that the team will travel is just down to Mobile (and the Coca Cola Classic). See for yourself:

Year Opponents
91 None
92 Coca Cola Classic
93 Georgia Tech, Pepperdine, UCF*
94 New Orleans^, Tulane^
95 Coca Cola Classic
96 Big 10 Classic (Montgomery)
97 Coca Cola Classic
98 USF*, UCF*, Clemson*
99 GT%, UVA%, UMD%, Blue Gray Classic (Montgomery)
00 Tulane^, New Orleans^
01 Coca Cola Classic
02 @ Clemson
03 @ North Carolina
04 @ Clemson
05 @ Florida State
06 @ Arizona State
07 Coca Cola Classic
08 @ Florida State
09 @ Florida State
11 @ Arizona State

*Olive Garden Classic (Orlando, FL), ^Winn Dixie Classic (New Orleans, LA), %Disney ACC Blast (Kissimmee, FL)

Also, over the past 20 years, Auburn hasn't exactly brought a dearth of competition to the ball park. Here are the non-conference games against Major Conference opponents over the past 20 years. Most of these opponents came from Weekend Tournaments:

Year Opponents
91 Clemson, Michigna
92 Clemson, Oklahoma, Tulane
93 GT, Pepperdine, Clemson, Michigan
94 Tulane
95 Louisville, Ohio State, Penn State
96 Missouri, Michigan State, Indiana
97 None
98 USF, Clemson, FAU
99 GT, UVA, UMD, Minnesota, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Northwestern
00 Tulane
01 Minnesota, North Carolina, GT
02 Clemson UNC GT
03 UVA, Clemson, UNC, GT
04 BC, GT, Clemson
05 FSU, Clemson, GT
06 FSU, Arizona State
07 Michigan State, AZ St, Purdue
08 FSU
09 FSU
10 BC, Missouri, FAU, AZ St

I haven't seen the schedule for 2012. However, knowing that Coach Pawlowski likes to keep the Auburn tournament (which would bring in at least 1 big name) and also likes to schedule good RPI competition, I have a nice glimmer of hope that the Big Boys will soon be meeting Auburn once again.

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