Tall task awaits teams with tough spring slates
__By Ryan Herrington
Indulge me for a moment. I might have a few of the words in a different order than the preferred mantra spoke by today's top college golf coaches. However, I think I've got the gist of the message down.
"We try to playing the toughest competition we can find so that come the postseason we're ready to face anybody."
What programs, however, really are facing the toughest competition this spring?
Once again I looked at the schedules from all the teams that received votes in the final fall Golf World/Nike men's Division I coaches' poll and the Golf World/WGCA women's Division I coaches' poll. I calculated how many top-10 and top-25 teams each school will face throughout the spring, as well as how many schools they will compete against that received at least one vote in the final fall poll.
You'll find the results below. Schools are listed in the order based on who will be facing the most schools that received at least one vote. For instance, with the Oklahoma State men, the Cowboys will play in seven tournaments this spring, and will be facing a school that received a vote in the final Golf World men's poll 48 times over the course of those seven starts. The Cowboys will face top-25 programs 40 times and top-10 competition 26 times.
I broke things down in two ways: by top 25 alone and by all teams receiving votes. You'll see that some unranked schools are facing the stiffest competition of any program in the country.
A couple of observations:
While Oklahoma State in the aggregate faces the most top-10, top-25 and opponents receiving votes this fall, Stanford and UCLA will see more on a per-tournament basis. The Cardinal 4.4 top-10 foes at each of their five spring starts while the Bruins will average 6.6 top-25 opponents and 8.6 schools that received a vote at their five spring starts.
California won or shared the team title in all five fall starts. On paper, the Golden Bears quest for a perfect season has a better chance of happening than if they had the schedules of several of their rival top-25 programs. Cal faces only 27 teams this spring that received a vote in the final fall poll, which would rank the squad T-15 among the top-25 teams in the country. They do, however, play 14 top-10 opponents, T-5 among college golf's top programs.
A couple of observations:
After a disappointing fall campaign that saw the program fall out of the top 25 for the first time since November 2001, the UCLA women wind up facing more top-10 programs this fall (20) than any other top women's program.
Another unranked Pac-12 program will square off against the most top-25 competitors: Oregon with 34.