College baseball heads to Omaha, Nebraska, and Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium for the 64th College World Series. For a brief time, people will focus on Omaha for baseball rather than for Warren Buffett.
Eight teams remain from the 64 teams chosen for the multi-tiered playoff system. Representatives from the Pac-10, ACC, SEC, and Big 12 conferences will compete for the national title. However, Baseball America’s top-ranked team, Virginia, won’t be there. Oklahoma beat them earlier in the playoffs.
In order to get to Omaha the teams competed in two previous tournaments. Sixty-four teams participated in sixteen double elimination regionals. Those regional winners played in eight double elimination super regionals. The remaining eight teams advance to the NCAA College World Series, which is also a double elimination tournament. The World Series begins on June 19th.
Arizona State enters the championship ranked number two in the nation and the top seed in the tournament. They play unranked Clemson in the first game, and Arizona State should win.
University of Florida is ranked number four in the nation. They play UCLA in their first game. UCLA’s Rahmatulla broke his wrist during the super regional celebration, and they will miss his bat. Look for the Gators to win this one.
TCU got into the series by knocking off one of the favorites, Texas. TCU has never been to the tournament before, and fans should expect first game jitters. They play Florida State University in their first game. The Seminoles have been to Omaha twenty times and will be ready to play.
UCLA comes in ranked eighth in the nation. Without Rahmatulla, they will have hard time. The Bruins have been to the series three times and have always finished in the bottom. Expect them to fair better this time but not to win the series.
Florida State University has a young team with spotty pitching. They share a bracket with in-state rival the Florida Gators. Expect this bracket winner to be from the State of Florida. The Seminoles played the Gators four times this season and won three of the games. They should win their opening game against TCU.
Oklahoma Sooners beat the top ranked team, Virginia, in the super regional with good pitching and good hitting. They play South Carolina Gamecocks in their first game. Both teams have good pitching and hitting. Their game will be close, but give a slight edge to Oklahoma coming off their victory over Virginia.
Baseball America ranks South Carolina twelfth in the nation. They lost two of three games to the Gators. With Blake Cooper on the mound for the Gamecocks, expect this game to stay close, but Oklahoma has a slight edge over them in their first game.
The Clemson Tigers won their super regional to qualify for the tournament. They are not nationally ranked, and will be the underdog throughout the tournament. They play Arizona State in their first game, and will have a tough time.
The College World Series always brings out the exuberance of the players and fans. After sixty years, Rosenblatt Stadium will cease to host the College World Series, and that gives even more meaning to the games this year. Baseball is about traditions, and this is an end to a major tradition in college baseball. Statistics and records loose meaning in such circumstances, and winning depends on how hard they play, and which team makes the fewest mistakes.