The End of The Road
So I'm not the best prognosticator in the world, going 8-8 in my regional picks last week. Still, plenty of time for me to regain respect as the baseball savant I am.
Thanks to the growing popularity and the great ESPN contract, every single super regional game is on one of the ESPNs and on ESPN3.com. It'll be a great weekend to catch some of the best college baseball has to offer.
Santa Clara Super Regional
Dallas Baptist vs Cal (Hosted by Santa Clara University)
GM1: Sat. 7pm ESPNU
GM2: Sun. 9pm ESPNU
GM3(if ness.): Mon. TBD
We start with the only regional where I won't pick a rooting favorite. On the one hand is plucky little independent Dallas Baptist, the team who's specialty was stealing mid weeks from the big names in Texas and the Big XII, managed to squeak by the weekend arms of TCU and Oklahoma and used 2 games to put away Oral Roberts.
Cal was the preseason rooting favorite of every college baseball fan not on the west coast due to the narrowly avoided cancellation of their program. To go from no longer existing to a Super Regional means the baseball gods are looking out for you. And Cal would need the help in their regional, fighting all the way back from the loser's bracket. Facing down a 3rd loss to Baylor, Cal found the magic at the very last moment for a win that produced the best call I've heard by someone not named Gus Johnson this year.
Neither team is hosting (DBU's stadium is minuscule and Cal doesn't have lights) so it was moved to Santa Clara, one of the better funded West Coast Conference programs, and will most certainly be a Cal favoring crowd. Either of these teams will be one I root for in Omaha, and both could become the local favorite in the land of the whiskey steaks.
Rooting Favorite: Disqualify whoever wins the Austin Regional and send both of these teams to the CWS
PodKATT's Pick: Cal's got better pitching overall and that plus the home away from home crowd should give them the edge. Bears in 3 games.
Austin Super Regional
Texas vs. Arizona St.
GM1: Fri. 6pm ESPN
GM2: Sat. 6pm ESPN
GM3(if ness.): Sun. 7pm ESPN2
Could there be a regional more foul than this one? (You bet, we'll get to them next) Texas, now with 16 runs and still led by Augie F'ing Garrido, dropped a surprise loss to Kent St., but came back to beat the Flashes twice to advance. Meanwhile Arizona St., the dirtiest program in the history of collegiate baseball, continues to survive like Sam Rothstein in Casino while their appeal of some very heavy sanctions continues to move at a snail's pace through the NCAA court. The Sun Devils blasted through their regional, winning the final 2 games with a combined score of 29-5.
Rooting Favorite: Meteor
PodKATT's Pick: My own bias aside, this should be a great Super. Texas still has great pitching, but ASU's powerful offense should get them leads the Longhorns just wont catch up to. The Fightin' Violations punch the Omaha ticket in 3 games, only to have it [REDACTED] later.
Charlottesville Super Regional
Virginia vs. UC-Irvine
GM1: Sat. Noon ESPNU
GM2: Sun. Noon ESPNU
GM3(if ness.): Mon. TBD
It seems my pleas to the State Dept. to have Mike Gillespie shot into the sun for crimes against baseball were ignored. DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THIS MONSTER IS A FREE MAN!? The Eaters cruised through the UCLA regional to face the host in the final game and won by a single run, which was of course scored by bunting the winning run to 3rd before ground-balling him home. You know what, I take it back. Death is too good for them. Virginia meanwhile cruised through their regional with very good offensive numbers to back up their stellar pitching.
Rooting Favorite: I'm not so much rooting for Virginia here as I am rooting against UC-Irvine. There's nothing wrong with UVA, I just have too much hate to deal with here.
PodKATT's Pick: I have no reason whatsoever to believe that UC-I can win even a single game here. But it's UC-I, so it's going to go 3 games and the Eaters will win on a freakin' suicide squeeze.
Gainesville Super Regional
Florida vs. Mississippi State
GM1: Fri. 11am ESPN2
GM2: Sat. 11am ESPN
GM3(if ness.): Sun. Noon ESPN
Guaranteeing that the SEC will send a team to Omaha for the 26th straight year, Florida faces the last remaining SEC-W team, in a rematch of a season series that UF won 2-1, including a 18-0 beating. Both teams swept their regionals, UF at home and Miss St. easily handling yet another disappointing Georgia Tech team. You may also notice that this regional has followed SEC tradition and will be played in the Jefferson Pilot time slot all weekend.
Rooting Favorite: Cowbells, because wouldn't it be funny if a team we took 2 of 3 from in the final weekend made it to Omaha!? /curses the selection committee again
PodKATT's Pick: Florida in 3 games
Tallahassee Super Regional
Florida St. vs. Texas A&M
GM1: Sat. 3:30pm ESPNU
GM2: Sun. 3pm ESPNU
GM3(if ness.): Mon. TBD
The 'Noles swept at home with an 11-1 dismantling of Bama in the final that stretched over 2 days due to rain while the Aggies needed 2 games to put away Arizona.
Rooting Favorite: A tough choice of who I hate less at the moment, and A&M's recent recruiting failures have been good for a laugh, so I'll root for the Aggies.
PodKATT's Pick: Probably the most difficult Super to pick. I'll take the 'Noles in 3 because they are home, but its going to be close.
Columbia Super Regional
South Carolina vs. Connecticut
GM1: Sat. 5pm ESPN2
GM2: Sun. 6pm ESPNU
GM3(if ness.): Mon. TBD
UConn surprised doubters of the Big East by fighting back from the losers bracket to beat Clemson at home in 2 elimination games, while S Car swept their home regional.
Rooting Favorite: S Car. Not just because they're SEC, but because the Big East stole our at-large spot
PodKATT's Pick: UConn's got a good offense, but South Carolina's is better. Gamecocks in 2.
Nashville Super Regional
Vanderbilt vs. Oregon St.
GM1: Fri. 7pm ESPNU
GM2: Sat. 8pm ESPN2
GM3(if ness.): Sun. TBD
Oregon St. didn't get a lot of love last week, but they proved worthy of their regional hosting selection by sweeping in convincing wins that fell short of being blowouts. Too bad they head into the black hole that is the Vandy pitching staff which only allowed 3 runs last weekend.
Rooting Favorite: Vandy. Here's hoping the NCAA doesn't seed all the SEC teams against each other in Omaha
PodKATT's Pick: Vandy in 2
Chapel Hill Super Regional
North Carolina vs. Stanford
GM1: Fri. 2pm ESPN2
GM2: Sat. 2pm ESPN
GM3(if ness.): Sun. 3pm ESPN
Both teams are traditional powerhouse programs who swept their regionals with ease, the lone exception being a 1-0 win for Stanford over their regional's host, CS-Fullerton. It's another one of those made for TV matchups that should be great to watch.
Rooting Favorite: No grudges or connections with either of these schools makes it hard to pick one. If you like the idea of ACC baseball being called overrated, take Stanford. If you're harboring some hate for a past CWS where the Cardinal beat us, take UNC.
PodKATT's Pick: Stanford should win if they don't have to rely on their bullpen, but in the Supers that's not likely to happen. UNC in 3