We are ready here in Omaha to welcome the 8 teams that will be playing for the NCAA National Championship next week. (read… drinking, puking and public urination along 13th Street and at Pauli’s… not me, the college kids…) There are two new teams to the group, along with some traditional favorites.
Here is a brief preview of each of the teams.
Arkansas – One of the two teams that will probably be “fan-favorites”, the Hogs have been up a few times recently. Their head coach, Dave Van Horn, revived the Husker baseball program back in the late 90’s and he will be getting a lot of the love from the locals. However, DVH has brought 3 teams to the CWS and is 0-fer the tourney. I don’t look for much from them this year, since they are the only team in the field that NU has a win over. However, their 2B has the best name in the tourney, Ben Tschepikow. Keep an eye on him...
Cal State Fullerton – My favorite to win this side of the bracket, the Titans (oddly, their mascot is an elephant) always bring a lot of fans up to Omaha, most famously, Kevin Costner. So I always hope they go far. Mostly, because they spend their money here, and, if they are around for the Championship series, Costner shows up!
LSU – A traditional power, the Tiger fans always show up in droves and paint the town purple and yellow. You can wander the parking lot and they will invite you to random tailgates. And those folks can cook. Their team is ok, too. Geaux Tigers!
Virginia – One of those first time teams, they will get a lot of local attention since their head coach is a local boy who played on Creighton’s 1991 CWS team. Don’t know much about them, but would expect a quick exit. Don’t have a reason, since a lot of first time teams have done well in the past couple years. But they are the Cavaliers. Don't know if that is good or bad, just ask LeBron.
North Carolina – Remarkably, this team is making its 4th trip in 4 years to Omaha. I hope they get kicked out early since they have basketball, they don’t need baseball, too. Sour grapes, perhaps. But that’s all I’ve got on the Tar Heels.
Southern Mississippi – The other new team to the field, I don’t know much about them except that they kept Florida from making it. Yea. No Florida, FSU or Miami this year. And only one from CA. Loaded up on the Deep South, however. Might be a scary crowd.
Arizona State – Another perennial visitor to the CWS. Funny coach. Really like Pat Murphy, and Dirtman has chosen them as his “adopted” college team. That is a concept I do not buy into. I cheer for only one team… forget about the rest…
Texas – Saved the worst for last. Really struggled to cheer for the hated Longhorns, but needed at least one Big XII team to make it. Can’t stand the team, the school, the coach or the nasty big white Spaceballs batting helmets. But that is neither here nor there. They came into the tourney as the #1 overall seed, but struggled throughout. So that means they will probably do well here in Omaha. Blech, burnt orange.
Dirtman will probably try to make it to all the games, so I’m sure I will get some brilliant insights from him. Not. He will watch the games, but will be unwilling to make any observations about physical characteristics of the players. What fun is that….