Tomorrow is the day it all starts, the Road to Grand Junction. Teams have been working out all off season for this time of the year. But not every team will take the same path to get there. Some will get hot at the right time, other have a clear cut path to the promise land. Who has the easiest path? Who has the hardest? Well, thats what this is about.
A few days ago Perfect Game released their top 50 teams for this up coming season. There is two different ways to look at it. There is the ones that have an easy schedule/path. Then there is the others who have to scratch and fight to make it to the World Series. Here is a look at the 5 Teams that have the Toughest route at getting to Grand Junction and taking of a World Series Trophy.
Top 5 Toughest Schedules-
#2 Chipola College-
The defending National Champs have the toughest schedule in the country. What a better way to Repeat by having to play the best teams day in and day out. Half of their games are against teams that are in the top 50 according to Perfect Game. It starts right out of the gates. Going to the Tournament of Champions that is hosted by San Jac and playing San Jac who is the Number 1 team in the country, who they also came back and beat in last years National Title Game. Whats a better way to start off the season? On top of that at the Tournament of Champions they play #5 McLennan, #9 Howard, and #19 Grayson. They play 11 other games against teams in the Top 25.
Grayson is a team that always comes to play regardless of where or when. 16 of their games are against teams in the Top 50, 12 against the Top 10. A big chunk of that coming from playing in the Tournament of Champions. They play #2 Chipola, #8 NW Florida State, and #9 Howard. Later in the Season they play #9 Howard three more times. Then having #5 McLennan in your conference means you play them 4 times. This doesn’t even take into account they have to play in the Region 5 Tournament at the end of the season who will likely have #5 McLennan, #9 Howard, #24 Weatherford, and #48 Cisco in it.
Thats right the last team on their rankings has the third toughest schedule. Playing baseball in Florida is no joke. They play 16 games against teams in the Top 25, 12 against the top ten alone (6 against both #2 Chipola and #8 NW Florida State). Just in Conference play alone Tallahassee could upset the rest of the country if things go their way.
Keeping with the pattern of Florida-Texas-Florida we come back to Texas for number 4. Another Team that is playing Tournament of Champions. While there they will play #2 Chipola, #8 NW Florida State, and #9 Howard. Including those games they play 20 games against the Top 50, 15 against the Top 25 and 8 against the Top 10 (2 against #1 San Jac). Then when you start the post season play you will have to go through Region 5 again likely playing #9 Howard, #19 Grayson, #24 Weatherford and #48 Cisco. Having to play three of them in Conference play.
#43 Seminole State-
Breaking the chain but still in the midwest. Seminole play 18 games against teams in the Top 50, 15 against the Top 25, but only 2 against teams in the top 10 (both against #6 Crowder). The teams they play though are no laughing matter. #24 Weatherford, #14 Crowley, and #13 Connors St (6 times!!). Being in Oklahoma does not leave you with many teams in your back yard to play against.
To round out the top 10 toughest schedules
#8 NW Florida State-18 Top 50 Match ups, 8 Top 10 Match ups
#38 Arizona Western-12 Top 50 Match ups, 5 Top 10 Match ups
#9 Howard College-10 Top 50 Match ups, 6 Top 10 Match ups
#41 St. Johns River-12 Top 50 Match ups, 3 Top 10 Match ups
#48 Cisco-8 Top 50 Matchups, 4 Top 10 Match ups