Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lobos ranked No. 25 in the country


New Mexico is ranked in the coaches' Top 25 for the first time in 13 seasons.

The Lobos (13-2) moved into the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 at No. 25 this week for the first time since the 1999 season when they went 42-14 overall.  New Mexico's 13-2 start matches the 1984 team for the best record after 15 games in school history.

UNM went 4-1 at last week's Cathedral City Classic, beating overrated Texas A&M 15-3 along the way.  The Lobos' lone loss of the weekend came against a Cal Poly squad that was just 2-7 overall heading into the game.  New Mexico has beaten two Pac-12 teams (Oregon and Oregon State) this season and its only other loss came at home to Purdue.  The Boilermakers are unbeaten (9-0) and, somehow, unranked.

New Mexico also jumped to No. 4 in this week's Mid Major Softball Poll, which features three Mountain West teams.  San Diego State follows closely behind at No. 5, with Boise State at No. 17 this week.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mountain West and C-USA to form new league


It's now official.  The Mountain West and Conference USA will form a new alliance beginning in the 2013-14 season for all sports.

It appears as though we'll hear many more details in the next six months as this new conference unveils its new membership (which could range from 18 to 24 schools, according to reports) and all the specifics.

One thing is for sure:  Based on all the rumors, the future is very bright for a softball conference that is expected to feature two divisions (both east and west, presumably) and a number of high-profile programs.

As of now, these softball programs are slated to be involved in this exciting new conference: 

Colorado State
East Carolina
Fresno State
Marshall
Nevada
New Mexico
Southern Mississippi
Tulsa
UAB
UNLV
UTEP

According to ESPN.com, citing multiple sources, the following programs are the most likely to be added:  Charlotte, Florida International, North Texas, UT-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, UMass and Temple.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Texas Tech edges Aztecs, 5-4, in opener

Texas Tech came from behind to knock off Mountain West preseason favorite San Diego State today 5-4 in the season opener for both teams at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.

Sophomore Lorena Klopp hit the first pitch she saw of the 2012 season for a solo home run over the center field fence, and San Diego State was up 4-2 after three innings.

The Red Raiders, who are receiving votes along with the Aztecs in national polls, scored single runs in every inning but the first and seventh to come from behind for the victory.  Kamerin May (0-1) went the distance for SDSU, allowing eight hits and picking the loss.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mountain West / C-USA merger talks heat up

The odds of a full-scale, all-sports merger between the Mountain West and Conference USA appear to be getting stronger.

According to numerous reports, a meeting will take place this week regarding an all-sports merger between the two leagues.

By the 2013-14 season, we could be seeing a super conference with as many as 16 teams overall.  As it currently stands, 11 of the 16 schools in the proposed merger sponsor the sport of softball.  Thus, there's a strong chance such a scenario could involve adding a 12th school, which would enable a split into two 6-team softball divisions.

If all goes as planned (and that's a big if), the 2014 MWC/C-USA season could involve one super conference featuring the following schools:

Colorado State
East Carolina
Fresno State
Marshall
Nevada
New Mexico
Southern Mississippi
Tulsa
UAB
UNLV
UTEP

That would be a pretty dynamic softball conference.  Five of those teams are currently ranked in the Top 25 of the Mid-Major Poll, and are either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball national rankings.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coaches pick Aztecs to win title; UNLV second


The Mountain West preseason coaches poll was released this morning and it's the Aztecs of San Diego State who came out on top.

The MW coaches unanimously picked San Diego State to win the 2012 title as the Aztecs picked up all four votes in which they were eligible.  With coaches not allowed to vote for their own team, SDSU's Kathy Van Wyk selected UNLV as her preseason favorite.

Finishing third is Boise State, which is in its first season as a MW member after finishing third in the Western Athletic Conference a season ago.  The Broncos edged the New Mexico Lobos by a single vote for the No. 4 spot.  Colorado State, which finished last in the conference in 2011, is predicted to finish there again this year.

In either a voting snafu or a typo, the Rams inexplicably received just three points in the balloting, according to the official MW release.  Even if Colorado State was ranked last on each eligible ballot, the Rams should have received no fewer than four votes.

We'll see if that's corrected in the future.

Next year, Fresno State and Nevada will depart the WAC and join the Mountain West in time for the 2013 season.  The Bulldogs are the preseason WAC favorite this season in voting done by that conference's coaches.  The Wolf Pack are predicted to finish fifth.