What one change would you make to college baseball if you could?
Name at least three teams that you think will be part of the Omaha 8 In 2014.
About two weeks ago I predicted that UCLA and Mississippi State would meet in the finals. Last week I predicted that UCLA would win. I guess I am lucky, but in this era of “dead bats” a premium will be placed on pitching and defense. UCLA pitching gave up 4 runs in five games. It is hard to beat such dominating pitching.
Congrats to the Bruins and also a big tip of the hat to Mississippi State and their fan base. You represented your state and the SEC well.
College football in the SEC kicks off in 1549 hours. I can hardly wait.
One month ago you could not have found 2 people in 100 who would have predicted these two teams in the final.
The top 8 seeds have all fallen by the wayside. Five of them didn’t make it to Omaha at all and only one made it to the final four.
Teams like Oregon State, LSU, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Cal State Fullerton and others would have been safe bets to be in the finals this coming week. None of them played well enough to make the grade.
MSU and UCLA are both teams of destiny who are playing well.
The Bulldogs of State have a very balanced lineup led by Hunter Renfroe and Adam Frazier. They have these two stars, but they have a deep cast of solid performers like Wes Rea and others who just get the job done. Their pitching staff is like no other I have seen, and I have seen them in person four times when they played Vanderbilt both in Nashville and at the SEC tournament. State is the classic example that the sum of the parts is much, much greater than the individual parts. No offense intended, but this group functions well together, led by Ross Mitchell with 12 wins out of the bullpen. Fifty two percent of innings pitched are bullpen innings.
UCLA has an anemic offense that does just enough to score runs. With their pitching staff they have not needed many runs. They have tied a CWS record by scoring 8 runs total in three wins with no defeats to this point. Hard to believe they can win that way, but their pitching is that good. Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig are a tough one-two punch as starters and David Berg has 23 saves this season and was named the stopper of the year in College Baseball.
This collision course starts on Monday night and will continue on Tuesday night. Wednesday night will be game three if the first two games are a split.
I am picking UCLA. I can make a case for either team, but the Bruins have been to the CWS three of the past four years and they have more experience at this level than State. My heart is with the Bulldogs, but they are going to have some tough sledding against Plutko and Vander Tuig.
I see three games maybe, but don’t be surprised if the Bruins sweep in two.
Enjoy the games.
We have finished the first set of games in Omaha and the biggest surprise is that there should be no surprise at this time of year.
Here is where we are going into the second round:
Oregon State plays Louisville this afternoon with the winner going home.
The winner stays on to play the loser of the Indiana vs Mississippi State game this evening on Wednesday.
Tomorrow we will have North Carolina playing LSU with that loser going home.
The winner stays on to play the loser of NC State and UCLA on Thursday.
Louisville will be the first team to pack their bags after they lose today.
North Carolina will be next after they lose to LSU tomorrow.
Mississippi State will hold off the Hoosiers this evening and UCLA will find some way to defeat NC State tomorrow.
I’ll be back in a few days to talk more about this topsy-turvy College World Series of 2013.
Stay tuned on ESPN or ESPN2.
I am just about over the depression that set in last sunday afternoon when Vandy lost to Louisville.
As a fan of the college game I am putting in my 2 cents worth as the annual classic gets ready to kick off in Omaha this weekend.
Here is my impression of what to expect:
North Carolina seems to be a team of destiny, but UCLA has solid pitching and I think they will surprise everyone and win that pool, even over LSU.
Indiana is the darling of the other bracket, but Louisville is playing well and Mississippi State is a gritty bunch.
I see UCLA and Mississippi State in the finals with the Bruins winning it all.
What do you think?
I’ll try to post daily going over the Heroes and Zeroes of the previous day in the current field of 64. After today, if all games are played, we will lose 1/4 of the field through their second loss in the losers bracket. Here are my thoughts after day 1:
The Governors are for real and the Hoosiers better be prepared. The Govs didn’t lose in May and will not lose in June until they get to the super regional next week.
The Trojans are a solid ballclub and Bama was not ready for them on Friday.
The Huskies helped raise the prestige of the Big East with their win on Friday
Great win over a highly regarded UL Lafayette team-they broke up the proposed “Cajun Bowl” game slated with LSU
Defeated a good, but not great, Arkansas team. Only Arky run came on a walk with bases loaded.
Hokies choked on their hosting opportunity
SEC road teams
Bama, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Florida all lost games on Friday. Not a stellar performance.
Even though they won, they did so on a late home run. Reality will set in today versus APSU.
Had been playing well, but may be tired of playing in the Gamecocks’ territory
Enough bashing for today.
Tip of the hat to ESPN for their stellar coverage of the games. Their new coverage system, Bases Loaded, allowed baseball junkies like yours truly to see action at EVERY ballpark. Congrats to ESPN.
Games start at noon EST today, so enjoy the view.
Welcome to the Road to Omaha-2013.
I have chosen to rebrand the Southern Sports View blog to more fully represent my interest in college sports and especially college baseball.
Stay tuned for more up to date information about the Road to Omaha and the College Baseball National Championship.
Nashville has been fortunate to host the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament on a number of occasions and fans from across the southeast generally enjoy coming to the Music City. The Nashville Sports Council and the Nashville CVB play a very large role in this event and it is done well, just like everything they do.
2013 presents a unique situation for this group as we approach the 2013 tournament. With the new 14 team bracket the bottom four teams play on Wednesday and the top four teams play on Friday with the middle teams playing on Thursday against the winners on Wednesday.
Here is the nightmare: Kentucky and the fans of the Big Blue dictate the size of the crowds at any SEC basketball event. If Kentucky wins, people attend.
Kentucky is a little under the level of their 2012 level and they have proven vulnerable thus far, especially on the road.
Kentucky is in the top four right now, so they are schedule to play on Friday.
If they lose on Friday, the weekend will be dead in Music City and the lost revenues will be large.
Here is the “perfect storm” analogy, the worst case scenario.
Let’s say that they Wildcats lose 2 or more of their final four games against Mississippi State, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida. The possibility is not that hard to fathom.
If Kentucky ends up playing on Thursday first and loses then, the 2013 SEC Tournament will be an utter disaster from a financial view.
For those of you who have never attended a tournament, this may not make any sense.
For those like me who have seen the tournament in many cities, this is reality and the last thing the SEC office and Nashville leaders want to see is a Kentucky loss anytime soon.
We will see how this plays out.
I will say this, John Calipari is starting to resemble George Clooney more and more every day.
Many a Golden Domer has wished for this moment for years. They have seen their program struggle over two decades and have prayed and hoped for a return to significance in the college football world. Many now think that day has come.
As a former Domer, and I might add that I was a caustic one, the upcoming game between the Irish and Alabama will be a rude awakening for most Irish fans, but not for any fan of Bama or the Southeastern Conference. While Notre Dame has certainly advanced through their schedule this year without a loss, they have had many a close scrape and the level of competition they have faced really pales in comparison to their foes from the Eastern half of Alabama.
I’ll certainly write more about this in the coming weeks, but we will start the discussion this way:
Alabama will defeat Notre Dame by two touchdowns or more when they play in Miami in January-Period.
Have a great day.