The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

CWS Picks

The College World Series starts tomorrow, so it's about time that I came clean about my horrible predictions. In the early going last weekend, my picks looked flat out horrific. Miami, Georgia Tech, and Florida State (each from the ACC) were all swept; I had them picked for Omaha.

Later in the weekend, Tulane, Oregon State, Texas, and Baylor all came through. That made me four for eight on picks (I was also off on the Arizona State - Fullerton series). That's not too sparkling of a record. I will say though that I called Oregon State a few months back. So that should count for something (I also picked Miami and FSU with my heart and not with my head).

Excuses over. Now on to Omaha talk.

The opening round features some interesting matchups. Texas and Baylor are very familiar with each other. So are Tennessee and Florida.

I'm still getting used to the new CWS format - where there are effectively two four-team regionals, followed by one two-team super regional to decide the national champion. This year the brackets are: 1) Tulane - OSU, Texas - Baylor and 2) Tennessee - Florida, Arizona State - Nebraska.

My personal favorite for the rest of the tournament is Arizona State. I grew up following Arizona State baseball and they're the closest thing I have left to a school that I have any allegiance to. The Marlins Paul LoDuca is also a Sun Devil. Plus, ASU's come-from-behind series victory is also a good story, particularly after they lost the opening game against Fullerton last weekend on a phantom balk call. Arizona State is the Cinderella of this tournament, along with Tennessee, so I'm happy to cheer for them.

Unfortunately, they face Nebraska in the opening game and the Huskers are loaded with pitching. Even if the Sun Devils survive the opening game, they're likely to have to face the Huskers later in the week (keep in mind that the CWS is double elimination).

There are a lot of great players (as always) to watch in this year's CWS. Many of the players you'll see in the next week and a half will be major league stars in the coming years. Nebraska features Jeff Gordon. Tennessee features Luke Hochevar. Tulane features Micah Owings and Brian Bougesvic. Texas has Taylor Teagarden, who has a name that's as cool as he is a good player. Florida features, well... who cares.

I like Tulane to knock out Texas in the "left" bracket (based on how the form is printed, I'm not trying to get political). On the right side, I'll take Arizona State to knock off Nebraska (although that's another heart and not a head pick). In the championship round (best of three), I like Tulane over Arizona State. That Tulane was able to come back against Rice last weekend was very impressive. They have a team loaded with future pros (maybe not major leaguers, but pros). There is depth at Tulane, plus a number of special players. That's a winning formula at the CWS.


  • At 12:06 PM, June 17, 2005, Anonymous Sparky K. said…

    It's good to see that you are cheering for Arizona State, they are truly a group of good guys and definitely a Cinderella story. It's also nice to see your Arizona roots come out once in a while. I was impressed that Tuffy recognized the trick play during their Fullerton game and I think that they actually have a legitimate shot in Omaha this year.

    P.S.- The Rally Monkey is awesome.

  • At 12:50 PM, June 17, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    A - It may be time to turn of the "anonymous" functionality in the comments. We're big on accountability.

    2 - ASU is definitely a good club, and other than Pat Murphy, seems to be made up of good people. But that's the case for just about all of these teams.

    I particularly liked what the Nebraska coach said last week at the post super-regional press conference: "It is a pretty fun day in Husker baseball. I'm having a tough time sitting up here with these guys with their hats backwards. We've got a rule that says you can only wear your hat backwards on certain days and that's when you win a championship. Usually I get to take them but not today. I'm happy they get to wear their hats backwards."

    The allowable occassions for the Huskers to wear their hats backwards are: to celebrate a championship, to kiss a girl, to watch 4th of July fireworks, and one other time (possibly to play catcher).

    I suppose I shouldn't enjoy that rule so much, as I'm prone to wear a hat backwards.

  • At 1:02 PM, June 17, 2005, Anonymous S. K. Manatee said…

    That's an interesting rule...I had no idea that wearing a hat backwards can be so purposeful.

    I really hope that the Sun Devils can keep the Huskers' hats facing forwards.

    Accountability is a good thing. :)

  • At 4:03 PM, June 17, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    Future anonymous comments will be deleted.

  • At 10:03 PM, June 17, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    Unfortunately, my newfound kiss of death with college baseball picks seems to be in effect. Hopefully the Devils won't go 0-2 and a BBQ. Pat Murphy doesn't seem like a guy who would enjoy such a barbecue.


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