My College World Series Picks – From the Bird’s Nest
We are down to the final eight in the quest for College Baseball's National Champion.
Cinderella need not apply.
Of the eight teams that have advanced to Omaha, seven were in the preseason top 17. Only Auburn was not on that list and they certainly can't be classified as a long shot.
The games begin Saturday, with a double elimination format within each bracket. The survivors play in a best two out of three for the title.
BRACKET ONE: Michigan, Texas Tech, Florida State, Arkansas
THE FAVORITE: Arkansas
THE SLEEPER: Michigan
Arkansas came within one pop foul ball of winning the whole thing last year and the scary thing is, the Razorbacks might be even better this year. They've got five guys with double digit homers and Isaiah Campbell is an elite arm.
Florida State is certainly the sentimental favorite and the parts of America not located in West Texas, Michigan and Arkansas will be rooting for Mike Martin to get to the title round. They've beaten two very good SEC teams to get to this point and the intangibles seem to favor the Seminoles.
Don't fall asleep on Michigan. The Wolverines have an elite arm, they are a very good hitting team and they are perhaps the most athletic team left in the field. They've proven the experts wrong so far and the series win over #1 national seed UCLA speaks volumes.
But my pick here is Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have six starters hitting over .300 and they've got plenty of power. I love the depth of their pitching staff. The concern is, some of these guys in the bullpen give up too many free baserunners. But beware the hungry team that has been making trips to Omaha on a regular basis. Tim Tadlock has done an amazing job on the caprock and I have a feeling they are ready to break out.
BRACKET TWO: Auburn, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Louisville
THE FAVORITE: Vanderbilt
THE SLEEPER: Louisville
Like Texas Tech, the Louisville Cardinals are a team that has been regularly making it to Omaha without the success at TD Ameritrade they've hoped for. I personally wasn't sold on them coming into the tournament, but coming out of the loser's bracket and then hammering East Carolina in the Supers tells me they are ready.
Vandy is the most complete team in the field of eight. Everyone talks about their pitching, but the Commodores can really swing the bat. Kumar Rocker's no hitter in the Supers has been the highlight of the tournament so far. They've got four solid starters to work with, and have hit nearly 100 bombs on the year. Their loss to Duke in the Supers says they aren't invincible.
Auburn is mourning the loss of long time play by play man Rod Bramlett and that gives them something to rally around. The Tigers have flaws, to be sure, but they also have been swinging the bat as well as anyone in the post season.
But, I said before the tournament even began, that I really like Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are as solid as anyone in the country and they have been very, very good since the tournament began. I really like the depth in their lineup. They go 13 deep and can mix and match as the game goes on. And, Ethan Smalls (168K/102 innings) can be super dominant. It should be noted Mississippi State and Vandy did not meet during the regular season. This won't be an easy bracket for the Bulldogs to navigate but I think they'll be the ones standing at the end of bracket play.