college world series
A College World Series photo by Eric Sorenson:
O-I.... H-O! Wait, what?
Argh, the only place to watch the early games today is on ESPN3 or ESPNU. If I had ESPNU, it'd be great. ESPN3 can't hold up in HD with the current location's internet.
In the early game Clemson beat Arizona State. I'm convince neither will win it all. The ACC hasn't won a CWS since the 50's. The #1 overall seed hardly ever wins this thing. I think that puts Oklahoma in the driver's seat for the second bracket. They'll face Clemson tomorrow. Arizona State will face South Carolina tomorrow.
Right now is an all Florida elimination game. The Gators are playing the Seminoles right now, and the loser goes home. Not sure who I favor after their first games. I might guess the Seminoles, but I don't think there's a favorite. Florida's loss seemed more of a fluky type thing as they had tremendous jitter like errors. Florida State just had a hard luck game facing the best pitcher in the CWS.
Late game is big time. TCU faces UCLA. UCLA has their ace in Garrit Cole going. TCU has yet another guy with 13 or 14 wins and an ERA in the low 3's. Should be a great game.
The College World Series kicks off in about 30 minutes with two games on today's schedule:
1 p.m. (Central), TCU vs. Florida State
6 p.m. (Central), Florida vs. UCLA
While no game is a bad game, the first one definitely has my attention. TCU is starting a true freshman, but don't let that fool you. The kid was drafted as a first rounder out of high school but passed up the money to play for the Horned Frogs. Purke is the real deal. Just be prepared to hear way too many times about his cockeyed hat and fist pumping. Florida State is as hot as they come. They feel as if they were sleighted by the NCAA committee for not getting to host a regional as a #1 seed. They instead were shipped to UCONN. The Seminoles are one of the strongest overall teams in the bracket.
Game two is also really good. I think I favor Florida who has the best pitching and defense in the tournament. UCLA is still somewhat young, but they did come out of the toughest bracket, beating LSU, UC Irvine, and a super regional against Cal State Fullerton.
Should be good games in what is the last CWS Opening day in Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.
I'm killing time until Duke vs Notre Dame. Baseball selection show is on. Michigan has a 0.000000000000000001 in 1 trillion chance of making it. But, technically, as Lloyd Christmas says, "So you're saying there's a chance?"
Sigh, TCU didn't get a national seed. I probably won't see them in the super regionals.
Full Bracket typed out at TheCBB:
Interactive bracket isn't out yet. That only really matters for the Super Regional matchups, almost all of them being the closest one to each other (such as Fullerton vs UCLA or Texas vs TCU).
EDIT II: Interactive Bracket up
This weekend's critical series against Big Ten co-leaders Ohio State has a side story that deserves just as much attention as a battle for the Big Ten title. Michigan's greatest shortstop, Barry Larkin, will have his number 16 jersey retired on Saturday afternoon.
Barry was born in Cincinnati in 1964, a city that he would forever be tied to. He grew up and attended Moeller High School, a great school in Ohio sport history. It produeced not just Larkin, but Ken Griffey, Jr., and someone many Michigan fans hold dear: Gerry Faust. At Moeller, Larkin set the school record for batting average for a career at .482, hitting 12 triples and 11 homers, stealing 26 bases.
He would win the team MVP as a senior in 1982 and was drafted in the 2nd round by the hometown Cincinnati Reds. Larkin chose not to sign with the Reds however, and instead enrolled at the University of Michigan to play football. Yes, football. Following the 1982 season, he informed then coach Bo Schembechler that he would also be trying out for the baseball team. That was the last time Larkin would be part of the football team, as he became a regular immediately on the baseball squad.
On the diamond, Larkin made an immediate impact. The 1983 season would see Larkin named the Big Ten Tournament player of the year and make Baseball America's Freshman First Team. That season was also a College World Series for the Wolverines. In game one against Maine, Larkin had two doubles in a 6-5 win. Michigan would ultimately be eliminated by Texas in the semi-final. Michigan's final record was 50-9, the highest winning percentage by any Wolverine team ever.
That wasn't Larkin's last trip to Omaha. [Ed: continued after the jump.]