Amongst the notable items, they stepped up the non-conference competition this year, after a lackluster schedule last year could have caused problems with their RPI (although it ended up not mattering in the slightest). Four Big 10 schools litter the schedule, and two road games against the Ducks will likely be the toughest non-conference games.
The Beavers open the season on Valentine's Day in the Goodyear tournament in Tempe, Arizona against Gonzaga. They play Nebraska, and Pacific twice before moving to the Surprise Baseball Classic in Surprise, Arizona, the following weekend. The Surprise appears to be that every opponent is from the Big 10 -- Nebraska again, then fellow 2013 CWS participant Indiana, then Michigan State to finish the tournament. The Beavers play the Washington Huskies on Monday, February 24th before flying back home.
The home schedule starts with a four game weekend set against Wright State (who played in a regional in Corvallis in 2006), then a mid-week game against Portland, then another four game set against Northern Illinois, who is presumably not nearly as dangerous as their football brethren. A Tuesday game at Goss against Ohio State (who likely will have just finished a weekend series with the Ducks) is the last game before conference play begins.
Like every year, the Beavers have ten conference series, with the home opponents from last year flipped now on the road, and vice versa. There's one exception to this -- the Arizona schools did not flip for some reason, so Arizona State is still coming to Corvallis and the Beavers will head back to Tucson again.
Curiously, of the five pairs of teams, the more difficult of the two (at least, the better from 2013) comes to Corvallis. In order: Arizona State, Standford, Oregon, UCLA and Washington visit Goss. The road trips (in order: Utah, Arizona, WSU, Berkeley, and USC) seem far less daunting than the home games. The Utah series is in mid-March; the Beavers had best pack warmly for that one.
The Beavers' conference bye week
appears to be the first week of the schedule, so they'll be 3 games behind everyone (in terms of games played) to start the season is exactly in the middle of the Pac-12 schedule, five series before and five series after. The Oregon series is in the middle of the year, immediately following the bye week (April 25-27), so while that may allow for a more rested Civil War series for the Beavers, there will be no clinching of titles for either school that weekend.
Also scattered amongst the conference games are a couple more games against Portland (one at UP, one in Keizer), two road games at Sacramento State (grrrr), a home game against Seattle, and a couple of weekday road games in Eugene that won't count as conference games.
All in all, the schedule sets up nicely for another Pac-12 title, particularly with the Arizona-Arizona State lack of switch. And another national seed certainly seems within reach with a little room for error.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts below.
111 days until first pitch.