I have a friend. He is from Montana. He played football at Montana. He is the only person who engages in conversation with me about mid-major athletics. These are a few of our text messages.
Me: Hey, Omaha and Montana are playing in something finally, so we can yell at each other. Finally!
No broadcast from what I can tell, so we just banter back and forth about a game cast. The game cast is in Iowa…so 25% chance it will not work.
Montana Friend: It’s just softball. Who cares?
Me: It’s UNO, and I weirdly like to support my Alma-mater, so I care. Unlike you, you jerk.
Montana Friend: Montana just started their softball program a few years ago. So UNO will get an easy win.
Me: They play twice this season, by the way.
After suffering through a transition of a sports team I follow, I think it can be shown that it’s easier to start a D1 program from scratch as opposed to moving it on from D2. Our men’s soccer team is pretty bad ass, and soccer started with transition. Duke just started softball, they can probably be scary good in a few years.
Weber State just started their softball program from scratch in 2010-ish and they won the conference and made the NCAA tournament last year. How hard is it to win the Big Sky?
Montana Friend: Probably as hard as winning the Summit League.
Me: Fair. NDSU is really good though.
Montana Friend: I hate NDSU.
Montana Friend: Is UNO softball any good?
Me: See, you do care!
Pretty good. Cant get past NDSU though. NDSU had co-head coaches last year, and one of them left for Iowa State. UNO hired a new coach, so we’ll see.
Great hitting. Decent defense. Pitching was hit or miss last year.
Probably the most successful non-hockey UNO program in D1 life.
Montana Friend: New coach good?
Me: Her interviews have been pretty great so far. First D1 job, but did great at (I think) it was the NAIA level. The AD (a dreamy man) has done a pretty solid job at hiring coaches.
She pitched at Oklahoma, and was pretty great there. She pitched against (our mutual friend) while there. Omaha’s pitching kind of lacked depth last year, so hopefully she can fix that. Omaha can hit the crap out of the ball. Omaha knows offense.
Never know how things will go with a 1st year coach though. We’ll see. I don’t think they’ll drop or be horrible or anything, but still wonder if they can get past Bison.
I’m feelin good about it. Have to wait and see. Unfortunately, since it is softball in Nebraska, I pretty much have to wait until late March to actually see.
Montana Friend: Why not travel to Iowa and see?
Me: I’ll pretend I didn’t see that.
Montana Friend: It cannot be that far away, right?
Me: I go to Iowa for gambling, wine, and lakes. That’s all.
Montana Friend: What’s up with UNO basketball?
Me: Turnovers, rebounding, and mental mistakes 😦
Summit League is very balanced and tough this season though.
Montana Friend: And they’re adding North Dakota?
Me: It makes sense for geography. Can add travel partners, possibly open up the conference tournament to a 10 team bracket. Adds another baseball school. So, not bad really. But obviously…F North Dakota