I’ve thought a lot the past week or two about what the SEC will look like from a baseball standpoint with Texas and Oklahoma.
Texas obviously adds a tremendous program to the league with more College World Series than any other team. David Pierce has turned that program around after it took a little bit of a dip in the final years under Augie Garrido. You could make an argument that Texas was the second-best team in the country by the end of this season. The Longhorns appear to be a factor for the foreseeable future.
I think Texas will benefit in recruiting from playing in the SEC. A lot of Texas kids go to SEC programs. Whether or not they considered Austin, I’m not sure, but there is an allure to playing SEC baseball. It provides exposure (both on TV and to scouts) and competition against great players — much more so than the Big 12.
Oklahoma’s program has been down for a while. Sunny Golloway had a great run there, but OU has only been to the NCAA postseason twice in the eight seasons since he left. In fairness, the Sooners probably would have been a tournament team in 2020. That was a great pitching staff. I think the impending SEC move will put Skip Johnson on even more of a hot seat going into 2022, which will be his fifth season.
With Texas in the fold, the SEC will have the seven programs that annually have the largest attendances — LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas, South Carolina and Texas A&M. Although it has comparable capacity, I don’t think Disch-Falk is at the level of most of those other ballparks.
Oklahoma has promised renovations at Mitchell Park, but has reportedly had trouble fundraising. That park would be one of the worst in the SEC right now, comparable to Tennessee.
I’m also reminded of the third assistant coach vote a couple of years ago. Oklahoma and Texas were among the five Big 12 teams that voted against it. Texas AD Chris Del Conte said at the time he would have been for the proposal if it didn’t also include a third paid assistant for softball. I have not been able to find whether Joe Castiglione at Oklahoma had any public comments on the matter.