Updated: Feb 24
College softball has seen seven Top 10 teams fall within the first two weeks. Oklahoma has fallen to Baylor, Oklahoma state to an now ranked Maryland, and Alabama and Florida St have already taken multiple loses early in the season. It's okay though, softball is growing and changing and we have to accept it.
College softball is a rapidly evolving sport that is growing in popularity each year. In 2021, the Women's College World Series (WCWS) drew 60% more viewership than the Men's College World Series (MCWS). With a growing sport comes a growing talent pool and growing in talent programs, new programs whose schools reputation proceeds them.
Just in this decade (2020-present), we have seen two programs born and have success in Duke and Clemson. As the sport grows, we will see other established athletic programs form their own softball teams (e.g. Wofford in 2024).
With these rising programs and a growing talent pool, we are going to start to see more losses throughout the seasons from historically dominant programs. This isn't to suggest that you should not expect your historically great teams to keep winning, it is only to suggest that with the growing talent there will be tougher battles and more losses than you might expect. Similar to baseball, it is becoming more likely that a perceived less talented team can win on any given day with enough momentum.
This happens to be a great thing for college softball and those of us that have become die hard softball fans. With more competition comes better games, better tournaments, and bigger viewership numbers that will grow the game more and make watching games easier as bigger networks will start picking up broadcast deals.
If you root for historically great programs in college softball, don't stop expecting dominance. Just expect that each season there might be more losses than you and your fan base might have expected. The parody should be welcomed and accepted. It is only going to help our beloved sport grow and make it better.