Since moving to Hi Corbett in 2012, the Arizona Wildcats have been unwilling, at best, to play non-conference road games.
That appears to be changing this year, as the team has released their 2016 schedule.
Right from the start, the Wildcats will repay Rice's trip to Tucson last year by heading out to Houston to start the season on February 19th for a three-game series at Reckling Park. Arizona will also stick around out there to play an additional game at Lamar that Monday.
From there, the team will go to San Diego for the inaugural Tony Gwynn Classic.
Arizona's first home game doesn't even come until March 2nd, when Cal State Fullerton comes to Tucson. Fullerton was the only team west of Texas to make the College World Series last year.
That weekend, the Wildcat Invitational goes down, when Northwestern State, St. Mary's and Cal State Bakersfield travel to Hi Corbett for the round robin-style tournament from March 4-6.
The Wildcats will open Pac-12 play March 18th at Washington. UCLA is the first home conference series, starting on Thursday March 24th. The Arizona State series is May 13-15 in Tucson.
The team still gets the short end of the straw when it comes to the end of the year in the conference. For the last weekend of the season, the Wildcats host Abilene Christian and travel to Hawaii. It's not the best of ways to close out the year, especially if they are a bubble team. But at least they are playing road games that weekend instead of hosting non-power teams.
I like how this schedule is set up, and puts Arizona in a better position to actually make a run at a tournament bid this year than the schedules of the past. Road wins have more weight in the RPI, so as long as the Wildcats can pick up some wins away from Tucson, they should be in a pretty good spot.