The Big 12 once again failed to have a representative at the College World Series, but teams such as Texas A&M, Nebraska and Oklahoma State met expectations.
Missouri and Texas had somewhat satisfactory campaigns, while Baylor failed to meet expectations. Kansas and Texas Tech were the only teams to finish the 2008 season with failing grades.
Kansas State and Oklahoma didn't have great campaigns, but at least had something to smile about. K-State took another step forward in the Big 12 race, while OU reached the Tempe Regional title game.
We grade the Big 12.
2008 SEASON IN REVIEW: GRADING THE BIG 12
Here's how our grading system is divided: A = Exceeded expectations, B = Had a satisfactory season, C = Unsatisfactory, D = Far from meeting expectations, F = Had a season to forget
The Aggies made a statement in 2007 by winning the Big 12 Tournament title and reaching the Super Regional round. Though A&M was unable to get to Omaha in 2008, it did win the Big 12 regular season title and reached yet another Super Regional. The Aggies are in position to take another step in 2009.
Oklahoma State coach Frank Anderson has really done a nice job the past few seasons. The Cowboys finished 2007 third in the Big 12 standings, but took another step forward with a second place finish in 2008. Though OSU was unable to advance to a Super Regional, not having Andy Oliver certainly played into that.
Even with the return of senior pitcher Johnny Dorn and others in 2008, the Huskers were projected to finish in the middle of the Big 12 standings. Fortunately for coach Mike Anderson, his team finished third in the Big 12 and hosted yet another Regional. The Big Red surprised many people with a stronger showing in '08.
Some will disagree with this ranking, but Missouri might've began the season a little overrated. The Tigers finished fourth in what was considered by most to be a very tough Big 12 for much of the regular season. The Tigers notched another Regional berth, and let's face it, Mizzou is not a team yet expected to reach Omaha.
It's incredibly tough to gauge UT's 2008 campaign. The Longhorns began the season as the favorite to win the conference title, but ended the regular season fifth in the Big 12. Though the Longhorns failed to win the Houston Regional, long-time coach Augie Garrido said he thought his team's season was somewhat a success.
Coach Brad Hill has had an interesting coaching tenure at Kansas State. The Wildcats have yet to reach the NCAA Tournament under his tutelage, but showed marked improvement in 2008. After finishing eighth in the Big 12 last season, the Wildcats finished the 2008 campaign tied for sixth with Baylor.
The Sooners had a strange year on the diamond. OU had a dismal conference campaign that ended with an eighth-place finish in the Big 12 and a 9-17 record. Despite a poor showing in conference play, the Sooners still managed to reach the NCAA Tournament. They also played Arizona State for the Tempe Regional title.
The Bears now have something to prove. Baylor entered the 2008 season with a wealth of talent and high hopes. But instead of competing for a spot in the College World Series, the Bears finished the regular season sixth in the Big 12 with a record of 11-16. Will the Bears use 2008 as a motivational tool for 2009?
The Jayhawks recently have fallen on hard times. When they reached the NCAA Tournament a few seasons ago, a corner appeared to be turned. However, KU has finished ninth in the Big 12 standings the past two seasons. Interestingly, it looks like rival K-State has surpassed them in some capacity.
The Red Raiders officially entered a new era when Dan Spencer – who served as associate head coach in 2008 – was named the new head coach a few weeks ago. Spencer has a tough job on his hands, as the Raiders finished dead last in the Big 12 in 2007, and finished 2008 tied with Kansas for ninth place.
Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.