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The College World Series

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We finally have our field of eight, and they begin playing tomorrow. A few surprises arose along the way, but we have a field that is largely chalk. Six nationals seeds, along with another that served as a Regional host, prevailed. California is the only odd ball as a #3 seed entering Regionals, but despite lacking the facilities to even host their Super Regional and having their program cut - ultimately resurrected in the 11th hour - it's hard to call them a surprise team.

Bracket One Bracket Two
#2 Florida #1 Virginia
#3 North Carloina #4 South Carolina
#6 Vanderbilt Texas A&M
#7 Texas California

Scattered Thoughts:

  • I still think this is largely a three horse race between Virginia, Florida & Vanderbilt. Virginia is a team without a hole, but I also think it's the most vulnerable of the three. The offense can go quiet at times and they'll have to grind out some close games (see: the UC Irvine Super Regional). Vanderbilt & Florida has the fire power to just overwhelm an opponent.
  • Florida received some good news as Sophomore Brian Johnson has been cleared to play this weekend and Austin Maddox looks to be heading in that same direction. They're just loaded with pitching and it's hard to give the necessary superlatives. 
  • Mike Zunino is a beast. For those that have not caught on yet, this very well could be his coming out party (similar to Jackie Bradley Jr a year ago).
  • Vanderbilt isn't too far behind Florida on the mound or at the plate. I'm anxious to watch these two teams square off.
  • South Carolina isn't the best team on paper, but they know how to win. We may even get a Jackie Bradley Jr sighting sometime in the next two weeks. Don't be surprised if they end up playing for National Championship again. 
  • Texas A&M has done a fine job getting this far without John Stilson. The lack of starting pitching depth will likely be exposed at this stage though. Michael Wacha & Ross Stripling can only do so much.
  • California desperately needs Justin Jones to get cleared.
  • North Carolina Freshman Kent Emanuel is absolutely fun to watch pitch. He has a tremendous feel for pitching this early in his career. While he currently doesn't have knock out stuff, it's solid enough and should tick up by the time he's draft eligible in 2013.
  • Texas's lack of offense is going to be tough to overcome in that side of the bracket. I'd like their shot a lot more if they could play UVa rather than Florida.

Prediction: Vanderbilt over South Carolina

Use this thread to discuss this weekend's action.