May 27, 2013

Groan star: Texas schools struggled mightily in major sports this academic year

This was not a year to remember for the Texas college sports scene.

The college sports year of 2012-2013 is finally winding down and most coaches in the state of Texas are probably breathing a sigh of relief.

For much of the state and most of the athletic programs, the last year has been a big bust, especially those Texas teams in the Big 12 Conference.

No Big 12 Texas teams earned a berth to the NCAA baseball tournament announced Monday and for only the second time since 1965 no team from the state is hosting a postseason series. In 1995, No. 1 seed Texas Tech played at the Wichita State Regional.

Four Texas teams — Rice, Texas A&M, Sam Houston State and UT San Antonio — did earn postseason berths this year. Rice and A&M are two seeds, while Sam Houston State and UTSA earned 3s and 4s.

Three Big 12 teams, as expected, earned trips to the tournament. Oklahoma State is the three seed at the Louisville Regional. Oklahoma, fresh off its Big 12 tournament title, is the No. 2 seed at Virginia. Kansas State (41-17), the regular-season title winner, is hosting a regional for the first time. A year ago, five Big 12 teams (not including TCU, which was in the Mountain West), were in the tournament. Also in 2012, three Texas teams hosted regionals and a record eight Texas teams played in the tournament. In 2011, a record four Texas teams hosted. Since 2002, at least two Texas teams hosted regionals until this year.

“It really amazed me,” said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, who is not coaching in June for the first time since 2002. “I never thought I’d see the day that the state wouldn’t host a regional, or even [nearby perennial hosts] Oklahoma and Arkansas. You have one of the best states in the country, or supposedly, one of the best. I guess is speaks to parity across the country and a down year in the state of Texas.”

The Texas Longhorns missed the postseason for the second consecutive year after hosting nine times from 2002 to 2011. TCU isn’t in the NCAA tournament for the first time in Schlossnagle’s tenure, a string of nine consecutive seasons.

But that’s the kind of year it has been for most of the state’s teams in all sports in 2012-13. A few months ago, Texas basketball teams were shut out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 36 years. Baylor, which probably deserved a place, won the National Invitational Tournament to prove it.

But no other Texas basketball team made any noise.

And except for Texas A&M, the state’s football teams had little to brag about.

The Aggies and Longhorns both finished in the Associated Press Top 25 — A&M at No. 5 after a convincing win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and Texas at No. 19 after an Alamo Bowl victory and underwhelming 9-4 finish. A year ago three Texas teams finished in the top 18. In 2008 and 2009, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech finished ranked in the Top 25. Both years the Longhorns and Horned Frogs finished in the top 7, and were in the hunt for the national title.

Most coaches and fans across the state are glad to be saying good riddance to this school year and hello to 2013-14. And things are already looking up.

A&M, Texas and TCU are ranked in most early preseason Top 25 rankings, including and CBS College Sports. Sports Illustrated includes Baylor along with the trio in its preseason Top 25.

The baseball postseason is just beginning, but for the state of Texas, a new school year — and specifically a new football season — can’t get here soon enough.

Major downer

How the big Texas schools did in the regular season of major sports this season:

School Football Basketball Baseball Overall
TCU 7-5 11-21 28-26 46-52
Texas 8-4 16-17 27-24 51-45
Texas A&M 10-2 18-15 30-25 58-42
Texas Tech 7-5 11-20 25-28 43-53
Baylor 7-5 18-13 27-25 52-43
SMU 6-6 15-16 No team 21-22
North Texas 4-8 12-19 No team 16-27
Houston 5-7 18-11 30-25 53-43
Rice 6-6 5-25 37-17 48-48
UTEP 3-9 17-13 No team 20-22
UT San Antonio 8-4 8-21 31-23 47-48
Texas State 4-8 10-21 27-28 41-57

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