The field for the Intercollegiate Bunting Championships is set, and LSU is not making the trip to Omaha. There's really no excuse for this team to have lost to Houston, but that's how the story goes. We get to sit at home and watch the tournament from our couches.
Thanks to the BBCOR bats and a stadium straight from the Polo Grounds school of design, runs will again be at a premium in Omaha. This will mean some pretty unwatchable baseball as teams try and scratch out a 2-1 win not due to their superior pitching and defense, but because all of the external factors are rigged against fielding a competent offense.
Now, I hear there is going to be a soccer tournament going on, and we could watch that instead. Or, by sheer force of habit, we will force ourselves to go through the pain of watching other teams play in Omaha. Unfortunately, this year's field of eight is nearly the perfect storm of teams designed to irritate LSU fans. Here are our rooting options, from most to least loathsome.
Augie Garrido has made 15 College World Series, eight of them at Texas. He is the winningest coach in college baseball history, and he's won five national titles. He's neck and neck with Skip Bertman for greatest coach ever, though Skip currently trails Augie in DWI convictions one to nothing. Texas has also won six total national titles, so another win here would push them ahead of LSU all-time. Look, Augie is the sort of guy who had to publicly apologize for being a poor sport by showing up a Fullerton team he used to coach. The man is one of the easiest human beings on earth to root against, and that's before we get into the way he has made it his personal mission to slag as many young pitcher's arms as humanly possible.
PODKATT: Garrdio's also a master motivator. You should hope for a loss, just so we can get another amazingly inspirational speech (NSFW, And I mean it)
Nothing personal, Hoos. OK, maybe it's a little personal, considering y'all are the Ole Miss of the ACC, a bunch of seersucker-wearing goofballs who haven't gotten the memo that they are a public school not some elite prep school. But one of the most enjoyable things in college baseball is making fun of the ACC for not having won a title since 1955. We've already lost Ole Miss At Home Again, it would be a shame to lose "1955" in the same season. Besides, Baseball America has picked them to win it, in one of the most predictable things that has happened since the sun rose in the east.
Mike Gillispie. If you need further explanation, you are not an LSU baseball fan.
5. OLE MISS
Yes, it's a field so full of LSU's hate list that Ole Miss only ranks as the fourth most loathsome team to an LSU fan. This is the biggest upset in a postseason that's been full of them. One of the best things about rooting against Ole Miss has been their uncanny ability to fall flat on their faces. Never ask Ole Miss how to get to Atlanta or Omaha, right? Well, now they are here. They've already ruined that particular bit of mockery, so unless they go out and win the title, it can't get worse. The Rebels making it to Omaha was the disaster for LSU fans, this is just the denouement. Besides, Mike Bianco is a former LSU player and a Skip disciple. So, for Ole Miss to win something, they needed an LSU alum to show them how. I know, small comfort, but Bianco winning it all is not as horrible to contemplate as Mike Gillespie or Augie Garrido lifting the trophy. Again.
Ugh, I threw up in my mouth just thinking about it.
4. TEXAS TECH
Usually, I can pull for the underdog, but not in a year that LSU took the gas pipe. Besides, a school with over 30,000 students never gets to call itself the little guy. The biggest problem in college baseball right now is a postseason that destroys offense, and Tech advanced to Omaha by winning two "scintillating" 1-0 games over College of Charleston. This team is this year's poster child for dull, spirit-killing baseball.
Jim Schlossnagle took over a directionless program over a decade ago that had only been to the NCAA tournament once in half a century. He's built TCU into a legitimate program during a tumultuous time for Horned Frogs sports, as evidence by the fact he's won the conference tournament for three different conferences without changing jobs (C-USA, MWC, Big 12). OK, they make Texas Tech look like offensive juggernauts and they are the beneficiaries of a draw so soft that you'd think it was the result of a bribery scandal, but I do admire the way they've built the program in Fort Worth. Seeing TCU in Omaha is frustrating for LSU fans, but it shouldn't enrage us either.
Actually, Louisville winning would be pretty funny, given that the ACC has aggressively expanded but not aggressively enough. The Cardinals continued success in football, basketball, and now baseball shows the kind of good athletic decisions the ACC is famous for, and I'd love for them to win a title as an AAC member before they join the ACC in 2015 and the drought begins. Rooting for Louisville to win the title is like rooting for the ultimate ACC schadenfreude, which is something I fully support.
SEC! SEC! SEC! Rooting for the ‘Dores shouldn't be too difficult for LSU fans. Yes, we're conference rivals, but not fanatically so. It's hard to dig up much bad blood between the two programs in any sport. Vanderbilt is every SEC fan's second favorite SEC team, and let's be honest, they were the best team in the SEC this year. The conference took a major hit in the postseason, partially thanks to our own choke job, so it would be nice for the SEC to re-assert its baseball dominance by a team (that's not from Mississippi) winning the title. Vanderbilt winning the title is a just result. This is a really good baseball team, and one that kicked the holy hell out of us in games that Aaron Nola didn't pitch. Vandy winning wouldn't be a gut punch because I think LSU fans can admit that Vanderbilt was a better team this year. OK, maybe not out loud, but we can silently admit it to ourselves.
So bring in the College World Series. Now is the time to be bitter. Let's go root against some teams.