I have never hidden my frustration with Avent and his schedule management, among a few other things. This year does nothing to decrease that fire to stop screwing us with garbage games to start a season.
The schedule for the 2022 season was released today and our best OOC series will be Northeastern the weekend before ACC play starts. Now, when you look at it, NE is not a terrible opponent to schedule. They finished in the top-50 RPI last year, won the CAA (knocked off UNCW) and then promptly walked out of the NCAA tourney (Arkansas regional) after back-to-back losses to Nebraska and NJIT, the two and four seeds, respectively. NE played two ACC teams but went 1-3 in those games. They won 20 games in a row at one point, but eight of those wins came against Hofstra (a near 200 RPI team) and six against Delaware (a +200 RPI team). The Huskies will return five members of their lineup from the championship game that put up 11 runs. Still, not a bad team.
So what is left? A whole bunch of weak middle... The remaining SERIES look like this:
Evansville - RPI, 175 - Finished 28-27 from MVC
Quinnipiac - RPI, 192 - Finished 7-21 from MAAC
Radford - RPI, 166 - Finished 23-23 from Big South
The other games we get to warm up on before breaking bread with Notre Dame to begin conference play also leave a lot wanting:
High Point - RPI, 240 - Finished 14-31 from Big South
Longwood - RPI, 277 - Finished 17-32 from Big South
Campbell - RPI, 37 - Finished 37-18 from Big South
UNCG - RPI, 103 - Finished 27-25 from SoCon
Our competition prior to ACC play had a record in 2021 of 130-154, and not a single game will elicit large crowds. And why are we playing half of the Big South?
The midweek games throughout the course of the season are the usual suspects and there is no problem with that portion of the schedule, but "feasting" on scrimmages do nothing to whet the appetite for baseball among the student body during the potentially very cold month of March and does nothing to better prepare our players for a tough conference slate. State is lucky to be in a baseball rich geography, but never seems to take advantage of the ability to bring in a larger name team or go to a larger name team to have a marquee series. Why not play a SEC school in a series for just once? In the 20+ years of Avent at the helm, we have played three series against Power 5 conference teams in the OOC slate... THREE!!! And I am stretching with one as it is Penn St which has never been a baseball school. Of the other two series, the most recent was 2006.
Man up just once, Elliot. Why are you so adverse to playing our SEC neighbors? Even if we get our butts kicked, we will grow for the competition.