For most people, interest in college athletics usually stops at basketball and football. That's quite understandable, given that those are really the only two college sports on TV, but we have this cool thing now called "the Internet."
Using this Internet, Smitty has uncovered a startling revelation.
More than halfway through the 2010 regular season, the University of Connecticut Huskies baseball team is 34-7 (13-2 in Big East play), on a 22-game winning streak that has included sweeps of four division foes (West Virginia, Georgetown, Villanova, and Rutgers), and is currently ranked 21st in the latest USA Today/ESPN poll .
Why is this so startling?
Take a look at that poll. See any other northern schools? Of course you don't. College baseball has long been dominated by warm-weather schools—Texas, UCLA, Florida, Arizona, etc...
Already at 34 wins, it seems safe to predict that the school record for victories in a season (39, set by the 2006 team) will fall this year. This is the fifth season the Huskies have topped 30 wins in the last six years.
If they maintain even 75 percent of their current pace, you'd have to think that the Huskies have an excellent shot at reaching the NCAA tournament, a feat last accomplished in 1994. The school's last appearance in the College World Series was 1979.
Before we get too excited, it must be noted that the Huskies haven't exactly played a killer schedule to this point. Those Big East sweeps mentioned above were all against teams with at least 16 losses. The last UConn loss was a pair of games against No. 13 ranked Louisville.
Still to come is a pivotal three-game series against second-place Pitt (5/1-5/2). The rest of the schedule should be quite manageable.
Okay, I can't help it—I'm getting excited. Check out this meaningless connection: Head coach Jim Penders is the son of James Penders and the nephew of Tom Penders, both leaders of the 1965 team that reached the College World Series.
Oh, and who captained those NCAA tournament teams for UConn in 1993 and 1994? Yep, it was Jim Penders.
Admit it, you're pumped now, too.
I'll check back in on the Huskies baseball team for you after the Pitt series.