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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer 2024 Schedule Release Reaction

April 15, 2024
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On the heels of an impressive spring exhibition against reigning SEC champs Arkansas in Frisco, the Big 12 announced the conference schedule for the coming fall season.

Baylor was ready and waiting to announce its full slate of games on top of that, so notes from the 2-2 draw against the Razorbacks will have to wait a day. 

The time for a schedule release reaction is now!

 Date

 Opponent 

 Venue 

 Note 

 Aug. 4   UTSA  Away  EXH
 Aug. 15   Mississippi State   Away  NC
 Aug. 18  St. Bonaventure   Home

 NC

 Aug. 22  Bowling Green  Hawaii  NC
 Aug. 25   Portland   Hawaii  NC
 Aug. 30   Texas A&M  Home  NC
 Sep. 5  SMU  Away  NC
 Sep. 8  Iowa  Away  NC
 Sep. 12  Oklahoma State  Home  Big 12
 Sep. 15  Texas State  Home  NC
 Sep. 19  Arizona  Home  Big 12
 Sep. 22   Houston  Home  Big 12
 Sep. 26  Colorado  Away  Big 12
 Sep. 29  TCU  Home  Big 12
 Oct. 4  Texas Tech  Away  Big 12
 Oct. 10  Arizona State  Home  Big 12
 Oct. 13  West Virginia   Home  Big 12
 Oct. 17  BYU  Away  Big 12
 Oct. 20  Utah  Away  Big 12
 Oct. 25  Iowa State  Away  Big 12
 Oct. 30  Big 12 Championships   Kansas City   Nov. 9

The opener in StarkVegas is an absolute tone-setter. Mississippi State finished last season ranked No. 14 after falling 1-0 to national runner-up Stanford.

The Bears should be expected to be competitive, and the result could push expectations higher than they are right now.

Speaking of, expectations in my mind are pushing for an NCAA tournament spot. To get a spot in the field of 64, Baylor would likely need a top 4 finish in the conference barring a conference tournament title.

That would be a real jump for Michelle Lenard’s program, but definitely possible.

To get other sidetracks out of the way quickly: 

  • The Big 12 was a 3-bid league last year (BYU, Texas Tech, Texas)
  • Arizona State and Colorado both earned bids last year
  • All 16 Big 12 members field Women’s Soccer Teams
  • The top 12 teams in the standings will make the 2024 Big 12 Tournament
  • 7 Opponents were in the field of 64 last year (Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Iowa, Colorado, Texas Tech, Arizona State, BYU)
  • Any records mentioned are W-L-D

Now that we have that out of the way … the Bears follow up the marquee opener with a weaker opponent for the home opener.

Games against Bowling Green and Portland in Hawaii will show how the team can deal with tough travel and probably some distractions being in “paradise”. BGSU should likely be a win, but Portland is a solid WCC team. If Baylor has truly taken a big step forward, they should return with two wins.

The Aggies then make their return trip to Waco after last year’s 1-1 draw in College Station. Baylor should have won last year, but this will be another good benchmark game.

A road trip to SMU and Iowa will likely produce a loss with Iowa being a physical Big Ten team that got NCAA tournament experience last year and SMU being a consistently good program.

At the end of non-conference, I would expect Baylor to beat at least one of the three 2023 tournament teams they play. A record around 4-2-1 or 3-3-1 is where I’d place expectations. 

Jack Mackenzie - SicEm365

Then Big 12 play starts with Oklahoma State. The Bears and Cowgirls did not meet last season. Should be a good ol’ Big 12 dogfight. Extra important to start the homestand and conference play on a good note.

The last non-conference game, Texas State, slots in next before new member Arizona comes to Waco. 

The Wildcats will be a need-to-win game to reach the tournament. They were nothing special last season.

Houston is in the same boat.

Then the truly brutal stretch of the season starts. In 22 days, Baylor will play six games — four against 2023 tournament teams, three of those on the road. 

At Colorado, vs. TCU is a tough trip turnaround for a Thursday-Sunday.

At Texas Tech in a single-game week is a nice break in the middle as much as a sweet 16 team can be a break.

Jack Mackenzie - SicEm365

The following Thursday-Sunday vs ASU and WVU is the key to this stretch in my mind. The bears should be good enough to pick up at least one win in the first three games, but in this pair of home games both look winnable. Neither will be easy, but a six-point weekend could be massive.

A trip to Big 12 big-dog BYU plus Utah the Next weekend should return 1-1-0. 

One last opportunity for three points and Big 12 tournament seeding rests in Ames, Iowa against the Cyclones. Baylor should expect to win.

All in all, I see the Bears finishing around 11-6-2 (6-4-1)

Turning one of those Big 12 losses into a win would probably be necessary to finish top four and make the NCAAs if not a second. However, 19 points would definitely be a top-half finish and a decent spot in the Big 12 tournament.

If I am erring one way in my expectations, it is on the side of caution. The Bears need to take a step in earning results against tournament-quality teams. They have plenty of opportunities this year, but they had five such opportunities last year and went 0-4-1 with some very poor showings mixed in.

If their spring match on Sunday against Arkansas is anything to go by, the team can take that step. They will just need to go out there and do it when it matters most.

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Baylor Soccer 2024 Schedule Release Reaction

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