(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – BYU softball head coach Gordon Eakin announced the 2017 schedule on Tuesday, which features 2016 National Champion Oklahoma and eight NCAA Super Regional teams.
“We are very excited about our schedule,” Eakin said. “This year we will compete against many storied programs and multiple teams that are playing at the top level of college softball today. This could be the most aggressive schedule in BYU softball history. I feel like we have built a top program here, and we expect this year’s team to compete against these strong schools.”
The Cougars will play a challenging 56-game schedule in 2017. The schedule includes 17 2016 NCAA Regional teams, eight Super Regional teams and four Women’s College World Series teams. Auburn and Oklahoma played for the national title last year, which went to Oklahoma.
Oregon, Oklahoma and Auburn all finished in the top 10 of the final 2016 rankings of the ESPN.com/USA Softball and the USA Today/NFCA Coaches polls. Seven other teams on the schedule were also in the top 25 in both polls.
In the RPI ranking, four BYU opponents finished in the top 10 in 2016, with Oklahoma finishing at No. 1, Auburn at No. 3, Washington at No. 9 and Oregon rounding out the top 10 at No. 10. Six more teams rounded out the top 25.
In 2017, BYU will face teams from every Power Five conference: one from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), one from the Big 10, one from the Big 12, six from the Pac-12 and three from the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Additionally, the Cougars play six Mountain West teams.
As in years past, BYU stocked the front end of the schedule with tough tournaments in warmer climates, not returning home to play until March 15. The Cougars open with five tournaments in a row. The first, the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, takes place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, starting on Feb. 9, 2017. BYU will go up against top-25 caliber teams Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington and Auburn.
The DeMarini Desert Classic, the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, the San Diego Classic I and the Fresno State Invitational wrap up the five-week road trip.
For the home opener, the Cougars will host a doubleheader with Maine on March 15. Following three more home games, the team heads out to the UCLA Invitational. A trip up to the northwest the following week will challenge BYU with games against Oregon and Oregon State.
West Coast Conference play begins April 7, with a series at Loyola Marymount. During conference play, the Cougars mix in games with in-state foes Utah State, Southern Utah and Utah Valley, along with a game at home against Grand Canyon on May 2.
The home finale is on May 9, against Utah State. BYU wraps up the regular season on May 13 at Saint Mary’s. NCAA Regionals begin on May 18.
For more information about the 2017 Cougar softball schedule, visit the BYU softball schedule page.