Baseball America: ‘Inane School Policy’ Challenges Razorbacks


The Arkansas Razorback baseball team finds itself rounding out the college baseball season with solid wins against top programs and sitting on the bubble in terms of making it to post-season play for a run to Omaha.

This week, Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt analyzed the Razorbacks’ current situation and discovered how difficult it is to schedule midweek games of meaning to improve the team’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).

Fitt wrote, in part:

Ten weeks into the season, the RPI says Arkansas (No. 51) is on the bubble, even though the Hogs have won series against SEC powers Alabama, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, and faced Florida, Mississippi State and LSU on the road without getting swept. Arkansas is 8-7 against the top 25 in the RPI, giving it the third-most top 25 wins of any team (behind only Florida and Kentucky). The Hogs are 10-10 against the top 50.

For Arkansas, scheduling midweek games is particularly challenging because an inane school policy prohibits the Razorbacks from playing other in-state opponents like Central Arkansas and Arkansas State, and Northwest Arkansas is an expensive place to fly into.

“It’s hard for me to schedule midweek games,” Hogs coach Dave Van Horn said. “Nobody calls us to play us—nobody. Grambling says they’ll come in Tuesday-Wednesday, well that’s the Tuesday-Wednesday I can’t get anybody to play me. So I’ll get some freshmen some innings—what are you going to do? You’re killing your RPI.

“People say, ‘The bottom line is win games,’ but if you win them they don’t help you a lick,” Van Horn said.

Fitt points out the Razorbacks have gone so far as to travel to beef up it’s non-conference schedule and has played midweek series against UNLV and Nebraska this season.

“They played a three-game series against a South Alabama team that was a No. 2 seed in a regional last year,” Fitt wrote. “It’s not like the Hogs tried to load up with a soft nonconference schedule.”

However,  50 percent of the RPI formula is made up of an opponents’ winning percentage, so if your opponents have a losing record, your RPI takes a hit.

Fitt continues: “… Arkansas pays a huge price for playing five games against No. 295 Mississippi Valley State (3-29) and No. 300 Grambling State (12-26). As a result, Arkansas ranks 46th in strength of schedule. Remove the three games against MVSU, and its strength of schedule jumps to sixth. Take away the two games against Grambling, and it jumps to No. 1.”

For what it is worth, the Razorbacks weak out-of-conference schedule didn’t do the team any favors last season, either, as Jeff Reed wrote here.

Knowing all of this the question should be: Is it time for the Arkansas Razorbacks to play baseball against in-state schools, if for no other reason than to assist with RPI and avoid playing games against foes who actually hurt the Hogs’ chances at the post season?

baseball america discusses inane school policy


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