By Ron Baliki
STILLWATER, Okla.(May 30, 2011) - For a number of years, many have talked about the parity in men’s Div. I golf. No longer is it 6 or 7 teams that “have a chance” to win a national title. That number can now range into the 20s.
And, because of this, the landscape for the NCAA Championship Finals seems to be ever changing.
That is certainly evident this year on the eve of the 2011 NCAA Championship here at Karsten Creek Golf Club, home of the top-ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Thanks to my friend Doug Tammaro of the Arizona State media relations department who enlightened me on some interesting notes about this year’s starting field.
Of the 30 teams that qualified for the NCAA finals last year at The Honors Course, only 16 of them are here this week at Karsten Creek with five of last year’s top 10 seeds (1. Oregon; 2, Stanford; 4, Washington; 6, Texas Tech; and 10, Florida State) sitting at home right now.
The seeded teams from the 2010 national championship who are also in this year’s field:
• 3. Oklahoma State. 5. Texas. 7. Texas A&M. 8. USC. 9. Augusta State. 12. UCLA. 13. Florida. 14. Georgia Tech. 18. San Diego. 19. California. 20. Arizona State. 23. Duke. 24. Tennessee. 27. Illinois. 28. LSU.
Now for the teams and their seeding from last year who failed to advance to the 2011 finals:
• 1. Oregon. 2. Stanford. 4. Washington. 6. Texas Tech. 10. Florida State. 11. Clemson. 15. UNLV. 17. TCU. 21. Oregon State. 22. North Florida. 25. Penn State. 26. Virginia. 29. Baylor. 30. Georgia Southern.
And the new kids in the 2011 championship who were on the outside looking in a year ago:
• Michigan, Alabama, Iowa, Oklahoma, Colorado State, Northwestern, Georgia, Kennesaw State, N.C. State, Arkansas, San Diego State, Pepperdine, Arizona and Ohio State.
Bottom line is there are a lot of quality golf programs out there all over the country. And at any given time, some of those just might be competing for a national championship.