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Early-Season Home Cooking For Much of Louisiana



By Dexter Courville


College baseball teams located in the South typically benefit from an early start date, and the opening weekend of this season is no different. Nine out of the twelve schools in Louisiana begin the season at home, two (Grambling and Southern) at a neutral site (Minute Maid Park in Houston), and only one (McNeese) has a true road series. 


The start date of college baseball has been a heavily-debated topic, even after the 2008 change to a uniform point for all NCAA teams. The argument is still made that mid-February is too early to get the season started. Teams located in cold weather climates are forced to spend the first few weeks of play on the road. These extended road trips ultimately harm the student athletes’ academic performance with increased absences from classes.


The chance of injury, especially arm injuries with pitchers, is said to increase in colder temperatures. It seemed like there was some momentum on pushing back the start date by a few weeks, but the COVID-19 pandemic tabled those discussions for now. Maybe one day the conversation will resurface, although warmer climate schools, like those in Florida, California, and Arizona (who would've played 10-12 games by this time in the old days), will always have some degree of natural weather advantage. 


Let's take a look at what’s cooking across the Pelican State.


Louisiana

vs. Wright State

Conference: Horizon League

2023 record: 39-23


LSU 

vs. VMI, Central Arkansas, VMI, Central Arkansas

Conference: Southern (VMI), Atlantic Sun (Central Arkansas)

2023 record: 26-29 (VMI), 23-31 (Central Arkansas)


Nicholls 

vs. Sacred Heart

Conference: Northeast

2023 record: 28-30


Tulane 

vs. Northwestern

Conference: Big Ten

2023 record: 10-40


Southeastern 

vs. Tarleton State

Conference: Western Athletic

2023 record: 26-26


New Orleans 

vs. Georgia State

Conference: Sun Belt

2023 record: 30-29


Northwestern State 

vs. Southern Illinois

Conference: Missouri Valley

2023 record: 30-27


Louisiana-Monroe

vs. Missouri State

Conference: Missouri Valley

2023 record: 33-23


Louisiana Tech 

vs. Northern Colorado (x4)

Conference: Big Sky

2023 record: 11-34


McNeese 

at Texas A&M

Conference: Southeastern

2023 record: 38-27


Southern 

vs. Alcorn State, Grambling, Texas Southern (Minute Maid)

Conference: Southwestern Atlantic (all three)

2023 record: 8-40 (Alcorn State), 29-26 (Grambling), 31-22 (Texas Southern)


Grambling

vs. Prairie View A&M, Southern, Jackson State (Minute Maid)

Conference: Southwest Atlantic (all three)

2023 record: 20-37 (Prairie View A&M), 23-28 (Southern), 28-25 (Jackson State)



Whether you agree the mid-February start date is too early, or not, does not change the fact that the 2024 college baseball season is less than a week away. It is going to be an action-packed week down in Louisiana with the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day, and best of all; Opening Day.


Let’s Geaux!


*****


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