AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Then there’s the continuation of bias in postseason bids, evidenced by the SEC and ACC getting a fleet of bids to the 64-team tournament while West Coast conferences find themselves annually squeezed. Last year, the Big West received two bids and the West Coast Conference and Mountain West Conference one each. “I’m looking forward to 2008,” Fullerton coach George Horton said with a grin. “I have a couple of trips to the Bahamas planned. I’ll get to spend Christmas with the kids, and maybe go see USC play in a bowl game on New Year’s Day. “It’s a disappointment. It will be tougher on the state schools in California because of the limitations on contact and our school schedules. We literally will not be able to do the kind of things in January that we’ve done in the past.” It could be worse. The original proposal had the season starting in March. “I’m glad we at least got the one week back,” Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers said. “What I don’t like is the possibility that we’ll lose games. That’s horrible for everyone, because we’re coaches and the games are what we live for. The 14 college coaches who attended Wednesday’s Southern California Media Day at the Pyramid all agreed that baseball in the Southland is healthy and successful despite the best efforts of most of their rivals east of the Rockies. The powers that be in the college baseball world can’t stop themselves from fussing with parameters of the game that have potentially negative implications for teams in the west. Two years from now, the season’s start date will be pushed back to the last week in February to accommodate schools in the east that view the good weather on the West Coast to be too much of an advantage. In the process, schedules will get crunched and the number of games teams can play in a season may be trimmed by four or five. There’s also growing interest in taking away college baseball’s exemption to transfer rules. Currently, a baseball player may transfer without sitting out a season; legislation being proposed would force athletes to sit out a year if they chose to transfer. “You’ll see a lot of changes if we lose games. Teams will stop making cross-country trips and playing intersectionals. We’ve already canceled our series with Baylor. Teams will stay home more. Schools like LSU and Texas won’t travel at all. “I think the game is good. It’s too bad they’re changing it.” As Horton noted, it’s not like the change is a panacea for schools in the east. “They’re not exactly going to get all their games in just because we’ve started the season later. They’re going to have to travel somewhere.” Transfers have become rampant. The ticking of the eligibility clock and the opportunities to be drafted as a junior leads players to seek the most playing time they can find. Most every team in the west has a few notable transfers. Fullerton added players from LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina. The Dirtbags grabbed Robert Perry from Santa Clara. San Diego State and Loyola each have three transfers expected to contribute this season. “I hope they don’t do it,” Northridge coach Steve Rousey, a one-time Dirtbag assistant, said. The Matadors welcome six transfers in 2006, from as close as UCLA and as far away as Clemson and Villanova. “But I do have mixed feelings about it.” Rousey added. “With all the limitations the NCAA puts on what coaches can do in the summer, it opens the way for a lot of recruiting (for transfers) in summer leagues. At the same time, it can be a good thing if it means a player getting a chance to play.” One player can be the difference, too, in a team getting an at-large bid, especially when they’re so precious in the west. “It’s so tough for us to get an at-large bid,” Tony Gwynn, the Poly High and Padre product who is in his fourth season as San Diego State’s coach, said. “The teams (outside California) have no idea how tough it is for these teams to play each other in the non-conference season and in midweek games. “I call it the BCS-ing of college baseball. The big conferences can get their nine bids like the SEC while the conferences that aren’t big football conferences struggle to get anything but their champion into the tournament.” All that said, the coaches believe this will be a banner season for the west. Fullerton, Long Beach, USC and Pepperdine are ranked in the Top 20, the University of San Diego and several Big West schools look live, and UCLA is bound to rebound from last year’s meltdown. “I think there will be a lot of teams in this room in the Top 25 come June,” said Horton. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!