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March 9, 2006

SCS.comThe 2006 college baseball season is upon on us, and this year appears to be just as exciting. The preseason #1 team has struggled, and others have emerged as contenders. After nearly a month of play, we have not been disappointed thus far. The season is still very young, and we as fans have lots of excitement yet to look forward to.

The Texas Longhorns won the College World Series in 2005 as they came from behind in the Regionals and on the road again in the Super Regionals. The 2006 campaign has been tough for the Horns as they are a mediocre 11-8 on the year. UT returned a good deal of experience from last year's team, but has yet to gel this year.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been flawless at 13-0 and are now the number one team in the nation according to Baseball America. Another surprise team would be the Texas A&M Aggies. They are now nationally anked and have played a very tough schedule. LSU was written off by many for 2006, but they are off to a 13-2 start. These are just a few of the surprises this year, and many more will follow.

I am going to touch on just a few quick hitters so far this year. These are going to focus in on certain players, coaches, and maybe a team or two.

Biggest Disappointment

The Texas Longhorns have to be the biggest disappointment of 2006. The defending National Champs are a lowly 11-8 thus far. The team's marquee win is over Rice, yet they are 1-5 against San Diego and UNLV. Coach Augie Garrido is entering his 10th year in Austin, and this is his slowest start as the Longhorns' skipper. Texas is returning fourteen lettermen for 2006, so this implosion is a bit surprising, especially since the pitching staff returned six hurlers. The Horns will likely right the ship by year's end, but as of now, they are the biggest disappointment.

Ace of the Country

Arkansas sophomore Nick Schmidt has been almost perfect thus far in 2006. He is currently 4-0 on the year with 29 strikeouts, 10 walks, and an ERA of 0.69 in 26 innings pitched. The Razorback ace combined with Brian McLelland and Devin Collis to no-hit Oklahoma State earlier in the year. He also no-hit TCU for six innings in his second start in a tournament in Edinburgh, Texas. In 2005 he beat Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas just to name a few. As a true freshman, Schmidt was 8-2 with an ERA of 2.80 and 89 strikeouts. Schmidt garnered All-American honors last year and is well on his way again in 2006.

Off the Wall

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have been ruling the Big Ten for some years now. They have been the football dominated conference's most consistent team. From 2002 to 2004, they won the Big Ten championship, but last year they failed to win the overall title. Did you know that Minnesota plays all of its home games at the cavernous MetroDome until mid- to late-March? The cold Minnesota weather chases the Gophers to the Dome, and the crowds are small and quiet for the most part. The annual Dairy Queen Classic just concluded this past Sunday, and the Gophers drew 6,600 fans for the event. Minnesota went 1-2 in the tourney with a win over Notre Dame and losses versus Arizona and Nebraska. So now you know that the Big Ten does indeed play baseball!

Aggie Pride

The Texas A&M Aggies have bursted onto the scene in 2006. They have ran out to a 13-2 start and a national ranking of #20 in Baseball America. The Aggies are fresh off a trip to Gainesville where they took two of three from the Florida Gators. Coach Rob Childress is in his second year as the Aggies' coach. After a mediocre first year, he appears to have the Aggies poised for a run in the Big XII. Austin Creps, Kyle Thebeau, Kyle Nicholson, and Chance Corgan have anchored the Aggie staff, which has been the strength of the team. The Aggies have not hit the ball real well thus far, and the pitching has really carried the team.

Attendance Race

The SEC West/National Attendance leaders are off to another great start in 2006.

Arkansas - Three home games with an average of 5,061
Mississippi State - Six home games with an average of 5,355
LSU - Fourteen home games with a average of 7,021

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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