PROVO, Utah – BYU head coach Gordon Eakin announced the 2016 softball schedule on Thursday, which features 16 games against teams that were nationally ranked in the 2015 season, including top-10 finishes for UCLA, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
“We are excited about this year's aggressive schedule." Eakin said. "We play many top programs and many perennial powerhouses. We are excited for the challenge and feel that our team and our program is ready to compete at this level."
BYU will face nine Mountain West Conference teams, four Pac-12 teams and teams from the SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Western Athletic Conference.
Seven of the Cougars’ opponents finished the season ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll. UCLA and Tennessee both made it to the Women's College World Series, finishing the season ranked No. 5 and 8, respectively. Ranked No. 9 was Oklahoma, who won the WCWS in 2013. The Arizona Wildcats ended at No. 13, while Missouri was No. 14. James Madison and Notre Dame finished at No. 22 and tied for No. 25, respectively.
Eleven teams on the 2016 schedule made it to the NCAA Tournament, with five advancing to Super Regionals and two qualifying for the WCWS. BYU has made the NCAA Tournament 11 years in a row. In 2010, BYU defeated Texas to advance to Super Regionals, which is the only time the Cougars have moved on. They will play the Longhorns in three-game series at Texas April 1-2.
The season will start with the Kajikawa Classic, the DeMarini Classic, the Mary Nutter Classic and the Wildcat Invitational. The Cougars will then play four games in Oklahoma, including two against the Sooners. The rivalry game at Utah, who made it to the NCAA tournament last season, will prep BYU for its last tournament at the San Diego Classic II.
The first tournament, the Kajikawa Classic, will start on Feb. 11, with BYU facing San Jose State in Tempe, Arizona.
West Coast Conference play will kick off on April 5 with a home series against Loyola Marymount. The two-time WCC champions look to defend the title. The Cougars have won five conference titles in a row from four different conferences (MWC, WAC, Pacific Coast Conferece and WCC).
For more information about the 2015 Cougar softball schedule, visit the BYU softball schedule page.