College Baseball Regular Season Winding Down Towards Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska is the dream of every kid who wants to grow up and play college baseball. The College World Series is one of the year’s best sporting events and it has been held in Omaha since anyone can remember. When ESPN became a staple of every cable watching household in the early 1980s, the CWS has been a summertime tradition that seems to get bigger every year. There are many interesting story lines heading toward this season’s NCAA Tournament. For instance, Jameis Winston has a chance to play a large role in winning a national championship in both football and baseball in the same season for the Florida State Seminoles. Florida State is always an interesting story line as they are still looking for their first national championship despite getting to Omaha 21 times.
As is the case in football, the SEC is well represented in the Top 25. The Florida Gators lead the SEC with nine conference games to go by two games over the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ole Miss Rebels, 2.5 over the LSU Tigers and three over the South Carolina Gamecocks. All of those teams are ranked in the Top 25 as are the Vanderbilt Commodores, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Kentucky Wildcats. Also well represented in the rankings, the ACC has the #1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers, the Seminoles, Miami Hurricanes and Clemson Tigers.
Unlike in football and even basketball somewhat, there are several highly ranked “directional schools” in the rankings. The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns are ranked #3. This has put the five time College World Series and #5 ranked LSU Tigers the second highest ranked team in the state. The Cal-Poly Mustangs, who were thrilled to make it to the Round of 64 in the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, are ranked #4 in baseball. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos and the Pepperdine Waves are also in the Top 25 as are the Rice Owls.
Some of the big match-ups this weekend include:
Florida at Alabama– The Gators have a chance to really open up a big lead and make a statement as to why they deserve a coveted Top Eight National Seed. While their SEC record is quite stellar and they do also have a 3-0 mark against FSU, they have 15 losses overall including losses to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, Jacksonville Dolphins, Illinois Illini and FAMU Rattlers at home. With all those SEC teams ranked in the Top 25, if the Gators win the regular season outright, it may be tough not to give them a top seed. For the Tide, they are in a tight three way battle for the lead in the West and the winner of the division would likely also be in line for a national seed.
UCF at Houston- Two ranked teams from the AAC do battle this weekend in Houston as the Knights come in for three. UCF leads the AAC at 15-3 and last year’s College World Series team, the Louisville Cardinals are in second place at 10-3. Houston is fourth at 8-7 in conference play. UCF has won 19 of their last 23 after starting the season 9-12.
Louisville at USF. Not only is the weekend series between these two teams big in the AAC, but the Cards also play the Ohio State Buckeyes tomorrow night and then next Tuesday they play Vanderbilt. They can improve their tournament resume greatly in the next week.