Regional Team???

ssckelley

HR All-State
Oct 11, 2021
989
1,270
93
It truly reflects the difficult situation in which Iowa's program finds itself. Through a set of circumstances that are irrelevant to this discussion, I had a wonderful telephone conversation with Coach Heller yesterday. Our conversation ultimately evolved into the RPI and the box in which northern teams are placed by the heavy reliance the committee places upon RPI and the need for mid-week games.

As much as we might all like to see Iowa schedule mid-week games against Notre Dame or Missouri instead of Illinois State and Western Illinois, there are a few factors working against that happening: (a) Both Notre Dame and Missouri are dead set against going on the road to play Iowa in a mid-week game and (b) Iowa's administration wants to limit the amount of class time missed by the baseball team. Left unmentioned (and I didn't ask) was whether expenses also played a role. South Bend is a 5 hour drive from Iowa City. Columbia is just under 4 hours. You can likely slice off some serious time by chartering a flight but the cost would be markedly higher.

Iowa will always be able to convince Western Illinois, Illinois State, Bradley, etc. to travel to Iowa City for a mid-week game. Gives those teams a chance to knock off a big, bad B1G program. Iowa needs those games to get the young pitchers some experience and stretch out their arms. However, when those games are "developmental" in nature, there is great risk that Iowa doesn't win that game. Very little upside from an RPI perspective for Iowa; lots of downside.

And, not to be the ultimate downer, but Coach Heller shared something with me that I didn't know. There is no B1G representation on the D-1 baseball committee. That committee is responsible for selecting the 64 team field. The Midwest Region rep is Bowling Green's (Mid-American Conference) AD and Indiana State's (Missouri Valley Conference) AD has an at-large position. Coach Heller indicated that the absence of a B1G AD really puts the B1G behind an eight ball because there is no "voice" on the committee actively supporting the B1G. If anything, it appears that the ADs from the Midwest Region appear to relish the fact that this is a situation where they can "stick it" to the B1G. For the members, see: http://web1.ncaa.org/committees/committees_roster.jsp?CommitteeName=1MBA

As for losing to ISU 3-2 in Iowa City in a mid-week game - fueled at least in part by a single ill-advised decision by Seeger to make an off balance throw to 1B in an effort to get an out - it is worth noting that #8 RPI Dallas Baptist lost 2 of its 3 games that it played against ISU. ISU is not a good team . . . but good enough to take a conference series against a high RPI opponent (projected as a #2 seed). Dallas Baptist also lost 2 of 3 games against fellow MVC team Bradley (who Iowa beat twice while losing none).

You could feel the frustration coming out of Coach Heller's mouth as he described the RPI system and how it negatively impacts what he's trying to do with Iowa.

Interesting read, thanks for sharing. I wonder if he’s ever considered scheduling other Big Ten teams for non conference games like Nebraska, Northwestern, or Illinois? They are all in the same boat as Iowa for mid week games and I know other teams in the Big Ten have done it.
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
Interesting read, thanks for sharing. I wonder if he’s ever considered scheduling other Big Ten teams for non conference games like Nebraska, Northwestern, or Illinois? They are all in the same boat as Iowa for mid week games and I know other teams in the Big Ten have done it.
D1 Baseball has Iowa as #65 (first team out). The link includes nice discussion on potential situations in which certain conferences may get two teams if the regular season champs falter.

 

Franisdaman

HR King
Nov 3, 2012
57,684
66,003
113
Heaven, Iowa
With all of the TV money (especially with a new TV contract coming next year), why can't Iowa allocate money for charter flights for better midweek baseball games? Granted, because of Title IX, Iowa probably has to then allocate a similar amount to the women's teams to keep everything equal.
 

HawkeyeGenius

HR All-American
Gold Member
Nov 25, 2021
4,037
5,534
113
I can make a case against Rutgers. Sure their record and RPI looks nice. Dig deeper though. The amount of Quad 4 games is insane. They are also 3-6 against the teams in the top five of the conference they've played.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KyleHuesmann

DodgerHawki

HR Heisman
Nov 19, 2002
9,690
11,559
113
With all of the TV money (especially with a new TV contract coming next year), why can't Iowa allocate money for charter flights for better midweek baseball games? Granted, because of Title IX, Iowa probably has to then allocate a similar amount to the women's teams to keep everything equal.
Baseball is already very expensive to field a team. The amount of travel for a 50-ish person traveling party that many times a year is already very cost-prohibitive. I'm not saying it's a bad idea (it's not). But would add significant cost to an already strained budget to add in hotel and charter flight for a mid-week game.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ssckelley

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
Building upon @ssckelley ’s suggestion, I wonder if logistics would allow an opportunity for Iowa and Nebraska to schedule an annual later-in-the-spring mid-week game (non-conference) at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Neutral site, short travel for both teams and a “marketing” effort as well.

One would think that AAA’s new “week at a time” scheduling would certainly create availability but the IHSAA had to move the State Championship tournament from that location because of scheduling issues.

Id think that such a game would draw a fair number of fans. 5,000 is a fair guess. Probably could run PP with less than full crew.
 

HawkeyeGenius

HR All-American
Gold Member
Nov 25, 2021
4,037
5,534
113
Building upon @ssckelley ’s suggestion, I wonder if logistics would allow an opportunity for Iowa and Nebraska to schedule an annual later-in-the-spring mid-week game (non-conference) at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Neutral site, short travel for both teams and a “marketing” effort as well.

One would think that AAA’s new “week at a time” scheduling would certainly create availability but the IHSAA had to move the State Championship tournament from that location because of scheduling issues.

Id think that such a game would draw a fair number of fans. 5,000 is a fair guess. Probably could run PP with less than full crew.
Yeah, that is a pretty good idea for a Tuesday night. Would like @Alum-Ni opinion.
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
Alternatively, mid-week home and home? I realize the distance is far greater than between East Lansing and Ann Arbor but UM/MSU have done this.
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
Baseball America has Iowa in the field as of today..
Holy moly. After Iowa swept Indiana, BA drops Iowa from #61 to #63. Brutal. There are always bid stealers.

NOTE: BA does not have Penn making the field. If the committee feels as though Penn should be in, BA would drop Iowa down to the “last team in.”

BA will do daily updates. Will be interesting to monitor. (That freaking loss to ISU)

 
  • Like
Reactions: whatsup13579er

ssckelley

HR All-State
Oct 11, 2021
989
1,270
93
Building upon @ssckelley ’s suggestion, I wonder if logistics would allow an opportunity for Iowa and Nebraska to schedule an annual later-in-the-spring mid-week game (non-conference) at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Neutral site, short travel for both teams and a “marketing” effort as well.

One would think that AAA’s new “week at a time” scheduling would certainly create availability but the IHSAA had to move the State Championship tournament from that location because of scheduling issues.

Id think that such a game would draw a fair number of fans. 5,000 is a fair guess. Probably could run PP with less than full crew.

I like the idea, certainly makes sense from a logistics stand point. But I think 5000 is too optimistic because the issue is the cost of the venue, if it can make enough money for the ICubs then this makes sense. But you are talking about a mid week game during school and the weather can be crappy. The games at Iowa are lucky to have 300 people in the stands for a mid week game. I don't know how much the operating expense is to play in Principal Park but my guess is it's not cheap and if only 500 people purchase tickets and buy concessions then it's not very profitable.
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
I like the idea, certainly makes sense from a logistics stand point. But I think 5000 is too optimistic because the issue is the cost of the venue, if it can make enough money for the ICubs then this makes sense. But you are talking about a mid week game during school and the weather can be crappy. The games at Iowa are lucky to have 300 people in the stands for a mid week game. I don't know how much the operating expense is to play in Principal Park but my guess is it's not cheap and if only 500 people purchase tickets and buy concessions then it's not very profitable.

Points well made . . . but you also have to take into consideration (a) scarcity of the product and (b) # of alumni/rivalry game. Easy for someone in Iowa City to say "I'm not going tonight, there's always a later game . . ." If it is a one-time game in late Spring, much different decision making process. If the owners of PP can make it work for high school games (where they can't sell alcohol), I'd think that they could make it work for a D1 college game between rivals (lots of alumni from both schools in the Des Moines metro).

If the I-Cubs can average more than 7,000 per game, I certainly feel that it isn't out of the realm of possibility to get 5,000 for a once a year event. Come up with a catchy marketing slogan, market the hell out of the game and you'd get people to come . . . oh, people will come . . . for reasons they can't explain . . . people will come.
 
  • Like
Reactions: whatsup13579er

BigOHawk

HR All-American
Oct 27, 2001
3,648
4,284
113
Omaha, NE
Holy moly. After Iowa swept Indiana, BA drops Iowa from #61 to #63. Brutal. There are always bid stealers.

NOTE: BA does not have Penn making the field. If the committee feels as though Penn should be in, BA would drop Iowa down to the “last team in.”

BA will do daily updates. Will be interesting to monitor. (That freaking loss to ISU)

Didn't realize Iowa 'dropped' two spots after sweeping, which is crazy. Yep, two losses stick out in our minds that midweek loss to Ill State and the series vs. Illinois. Well, everything is in front of us, I still feel two wins cements a bid, as long as they aren't both vs Illinois as you and others have mentioned.
 

whatsup13579er

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2015
15,701
28,428
113
Holy moly. After Iowa swept Indiana, BA drops Iowa from #61 to #63. Brutal. There are always bid stealers.

NOTE: BA does not have Penn making the field. If the committee feels as though Penn should be in, BA would drop Iowa down to the “last team in.”

BA will do daily updates. Will be interesting to monitor. (That freaking loss to ISU)

Boy was I sure wrong. I thought for sure they would like Iowa more this week than last week, especially after finishing 2nd in the conference. Damn Illinois.
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
Just listened to d1 Baseball weekly podcast over the lunch hour. Not a lot of love for the B1G. They definitely have Iowa on the bubble and like their chances ahead of UConn or Campbell if those teams don't win their respective conference championship.

A smattering of discussion as to whether Rutgers may be "safe;" but concluded that Rutgers is in good shape.

They noted Iowa's RPI "move" into the 50s. Not much more discussion than that.
 

whatsup13579er

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2015
15,701
28,428
113
Just listened to d1 Baseball weekly podcast over the lunch hour. Not a lot of love for the B1G. They definitely have Iowa on the bubble and like their chances ahead of UConn or Campbell if those teams don't win their respective conference championship.

A smattering of discussion as to whether Rutgers may be "safe;" but concluded that Rutgers is in good shape.

They noted Iowa's RPI "move" into the 50s. Not much more discussion than that.
Rutger's resume is really weak. 1-3 vs Q1 and 22 Q4 wins. 0-2 in Omaha or a couple more losses to Iowa (please) and I think they are right on the bubble.

UConn not getting in would be surprising.

I worry that Conf USA is going to get 4 teams (S Miss, La Tech, ODU, UTSA) in and steal the B1G's 3rd bid.
 

Alum-Ni

HR Legend
Aug 29, 2004
42,662
1,638
113
Yeah, that is a pretty good idea for a Tuesday night. Would like @Alum-Ni opinion.
Not a terrible idea, but does it really help either program? Maybe in the years where they aren't scheduled to play a conference series.

I'd rather see Nebraska play some more of their old Big 12 brethren in the non-con. No reason Iowa can't do the same.
 
  • Like
Reactions: whatsup13579er

Alum-Ni

HR Legend
Aug 29, 2004
42,662
1,638
113
This will never happen, but here's an interesting piece about "realignment" in college baseball.


Shatel: Time for college baseball to pave a new path with realignment
by Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald

College realignment was never about baseball. It was about football. And, in the case of the Big East, basketball.

Now it's time for college baseball to realign.

For starters, how about a conference with Nebraska, Creighton, Iowa and any Big 12, Big Ten, Missouri Valley (and UNO) teams that can load up a bus?

Buses. Remember them?

The Jays could have used one on Saturday. What happened to them was heartbreaking and totally ridiculous.

Creighton finished a half-game out of a share for the Big East championship -- when its last game at Villanova was canceled.

Not by weather. Because the Jays had to book to the Philly airport to catch a flight.

CU coach Ed Servais told me the story. It's unbelievable.

The Creighton-Villanova series went from Thursday through Saturday, like most conferences' final series, to give schools time to go home on Sunday and get ready for league tournaments.

The Jays won Thursday night's game. Then came Friday's game, at 3 p.m.

The game was delayed by lightning in the area. Then another bolt. And another bolt. Each time, a 30-minute delay.

Around 5 p.m., the game was called on account of darkness.

Villanova plays at a field that holds 750 fans -- and doesn't have lights.

Is this really Division I baseball in 2022?

So the two teams decided on a Saturday doubleheader, a seven-inning game starting at 10 a.m., followed by a six-inning game.

The Jays had a 6 p.m. flight back to Omaha.

Well, the first game took 10 innings. By then, it was 2 p.m. There would be 30 minutes between games.

"We were 45 minutes from the airport," Servais said. "Plus, we had to change. It was 94 degrees in Philadelphia. Plus, this was a city park. They didn't have shower facilities.

"It took 20 minutes to go back to Villanova's campus to shower and then another half hour to go back to the airport."

With all that, Servais had a "drop dead deadline" of leaving at 3:10 p.m.

So they were off to the airport, leaving behind a chance at a Big East title.

Yes, the Big East tournament is arguably more important, since it will decide the league's NCAA team.

Still, unbelievable.

An honest question: Couldn't Creighton have flown back on Sunday?

It's expensive, sure. Servais said a typical travel party is 33. But would you have to buy 33 new tickets? Or would the purchased tickets count toward a new one?

That's assuming there are 33 seats available on any flights headed back to Omaha on Sunday.

"I don't know how expensive that whole situation is when you cancel flights and try to get another one," Servais said.

"I got to be honest with you, we're having a heck of a time getting to Cincinnati (for this week's Big East Tournament). We have to take two different flights. We're not even going as a team.

"Part of the problem is there are fewer flights now, ever since COVID. And you should see the routes we take. Going to Connecticut, we went to Atlanta and then to Hartford. Does that make any sense to you?

"Going to Cincinnati, we have one plane going to Denver first. Another to Chicago. That one at least makes sense."

Here's what makes the most sense: take the airplanes out of college baseball. Put the boys on a bus.

Let college football and basketball have their conference affiliations. Let the other sports stay in geographic regions with similar Division I programs who can all travel to games by bus.

If the SEC wants to stay together, so be it. But the Midwest, North and East need to be reconfigured.

College baseball should never be an airplane sport. Football flies but football pays the bills.

Football and basketball also have a clock. Baseball does not.

This very thing came back to bite the Huskers on Saturday. Sure, Purdue looked lame for not starting a game with no raindrops. We all know the score there.

But Maryland couldn't wait it out because the Terps had a flight to catch at Chicago, some two hours or more from the Purdue campus.

"That's where we miss the Missouri Valley," Servais said. "I always tell our coaches how good it was to have control. If we had a tie game on Sunday, you play and play and play.

"I think we'll have a conversation about it. Now that we saw what happened in the Big Ten, and in our league, we'll have a long discussion."

The Big East needs to have serious conversations about baseball. For starters, how serious are they?

Three Big East schools -- Villanova, Xavier and Butler -- don't have lights at their fields. In 2022, that's unacceptable.

Thins will sort out soon. The NCAA is about to find out who wants to play ball and who doesn't.

In a few months, the NCAA is expected to lift the cap on baseball scholarships and coaching staffs. Schools will be able to have as many full baseball scholarships and full-time coaches as they can afford.

There are going to be a lot of inequities in the game, and the distance between top and bottom will be greater.

Something that might keep more schools in the game is if travel costs were cut in half.

Go with regional divisions and pick the NCAA Tournament bracket off those. That's more rivalry games, more crowds, more fun.

"I think someday you're going to see that," Servais said. "I think it's going to solve a lot of problems."

Too bad it wasn't around last weekend.
 

whatsup13579er

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2015
15,701
28,428
113
Villanova plays at a field that holds 750 fans -- and doesn't have lights.

Is this really Division I baseball in 2022?


This is incredible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ssckelley

Franisdaman

HR King
Nov 3, 2012
57,684
66,003
113
Heaven, Iowa
Baseball is already very expensive to field a team. The amount of travel for a 50-ish person traveling party that many times a year is already very cost-prohibitive. I'm not saying it's a bad idea (it's not). But would add significant cost to an already strained budget to add in hotel and charter flight for a mid-week game.


Thanks for the discussion. Just brainstorming.

From my count, we had 10 midweek opportunities this season (4 on the road, 6 at home).

I just think with all that money coming in (especially with the new TV contract coming in 2023), the athletic dept should consider budgeting more & investing more in Iowa baseball.

Heller has brought this program very far. Iowa has not been in a College World Series in 50 years. Year in and year out we seem to always be a bubble NCAA Tournament team. And doesn't it seem like our RPI is always battered because of our nonconference opponents? So, what does Iowa need to do to take the proverbial next step?

IMO, with Iowa owning the state of Iowa and with Wisconsin not having a program, Iowa could become more of a force in the Midwest if we wanted to. Maybe we could increase the travel budget and for a couple (or a few) of those away midweek games we could fly to a better opponent.

The Midweek Opportunities this season:

Tues March 1: Loras
Wed March 2: Cornell

Wed March 9: St Thomas cancelled & rescheduled

Wed March 23: Grand View

Tues March 29: at Illinois State

Wed Apr 6: at Bradley

Tues Apr 12: at Milwaukee


Tues Apr 19: Bradley

Tues Apr 26: Western Illinois

Tues May 3: Illinois State

Tues May 17: at Illinois Chicago (cancelled)
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
From a conversation that I recently had with Coach Heller … there is pressure placed on the baseball program to avoid missing mid-week classes. If the team flies somewhere for a mid-week game, they are likely losing two days of classes. Taking a bus to/from can limit missing classes to one day.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ssckelley

KyleHuesmann

HR All-American
Gold Member
Apr 14, 2021
4,193
7,024
113

NC State likely just locked up a bid with that win. Root for UNC against Clemson tonight.
 

DodgerHawki

HR Heisman
Nov 19, 2002
9,690
11,559
113
From a conversation that I recently had with Coach Heller … there is pressure placed on the baseball program to avoid missing mid-week classes. If the team flies somewhere for a mid-week game, they are likely losing two days of classes. Taking a bus to/from can limit missing classes to one day.
That is definitely a factor Aurora. They already have to miss a number of Friday classes to travel for weekend series. I'm sure there is pressure to not miss two additional days on mid-week games.
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,272
8,301
113
p
Clemson has VT tomorrow. Loss and I think they are out.
Alabama (#67 in BA projection; RPI #43) knocked off Georgia (RPI #18) yesterday.

Ole Miss (#61 in BA projection; RPI #39) beaten by Vanderbilt (RPI #4) Their season is over.

Does that move Alabama into a projected at-large? Does Ole Miss fall out?
 

ssckelley

HR All-State
Oct 11, 2021
989
1,270
93
p

Alabama (#67 in BA projection; RPI #43) knocked off Georgia (RPI #18) yesterday.

Ole Miss (#61 in BA projection; RPI #39) beaten by Vanderbilt (RPI #4) Their season is over.

Does that move Alabama into a projected at-large? Does Ole Miss fall out?
Alabama has been terrible, they’ve won 6 of their last 20 games and that includes their recent 3 game winning streak. I would think they’ve got more work to do in the SEC tournament. If they beat Arkansas today it would move them up.

Ole Miss is probably out now. Kentucky can still steal a bud as well, their resume has bad losses on it but they’ve also have impressive series wins over Tennessee and Auburn down the stretch. But they need to beat Auburn this morning.
 

KyleHuesmann

HR All-American
Gold Member
Apr 14, 2021
4,193
7,024
113
Iowa is +13/-40 whenever they play Penn State. Good news is Purdue gets 51 points if they beat Rutgers, so that could be a big shot in round 2.

Win the first two and the RPI probably jumps to 51-53 depending on other games.
 
  • Like
Reactions: whatsup13579er

whatsup13579er

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2015
15,701
28,428
113
If Ole Miss is out, then so is Bama and Kentucky unless they go on a heck of a run in the tourney. Bama played 28 Q1 games and is only 43 in RPI. Kentucky is still in the 50s. I'm not convinced that Ole Miss is out just yet but they certainly didn't help themselves. They were safely in prior to their game yesterday.
 

whatsup13579er

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2015
15,701
28,428
113
If Ole Miss is out, then so is Bama and Kentucky unless they go on a heck of a run in the tourney. Bama played 28 Q1 games and is only 43 in RPI. Kentucky is still in the 50s.