Monday, June 29, 2009

Post College World Series Q&A

The College Baseball Blog was kind enough to do a final Q&A wrapping up the College Baseball Season. We talk about LSU's 2009 run, the Tigers' chances next year, and who will step in the ACC and SEC.

Q: What was the difference for LSU in winning the College World Series?
A: The difference between Texas and LSU was the pitching and the power hitting of the Tigers. They were killing the ball in Omaha and only got shutdown out there by Jungmann in Game 2. Jared Mitchell showed why the Chicago White Sox drafted him in the first round.

Q: Does LSU’s win put the SEC as the #1 conference this year?
A: I thought the victory by LSU just solidified what I was saying throughout the year about how strong the SEC is. They play 10 of the most intense three game series in the country. During any weekend, you can't take a game off as the last place team can beat the best team in the conference.

Q: What will it take for LSU to make it back to the CWS next year?
A: Matty Ott needs to step up his game and step into the starting rotation to replace Louis Coleman in the number 2 spot in the rotation. If he can solidify that spot, LSU will be tough to beat in any weekend series.


The biggest question is who will step into the shoes of Blake Dean, Jared Mitchell, Sean Ochinko, and DJ LeMaheiu who might all leave the program for the minor leagues. It is LSU, they are always able to find someone to fill these holes. Austin Nola is one example of a player that was sitting on the bench for the Tigers and stepped right into the shortstop role about mid-way through the season.

Of course, LSU will need a little luck to get back to Omaha as things need to fall right for any team to make it to Omaha.


Q: Teams from the South and West Coast dominate college baseball, why is that?
A: Money. Teams in the South and on the West Coast tend to put the most money into the program which draws the best recruits. The best recruits bring in winning teams therefore getting bigger attendance figures and more donations for the program to make it even better. It is a viscous cycle.

Q: What specific area of the country would you rate as the best for High School talent?
A: I would say it is Texas, California, and Florida year in and year out. I would put California first with the amount of players from out there on college rosters.

Q: Who are your top teams from the SEC next year?
A: Vanderbilt will be pretty good next year but my early favorite is Florida in the SEC. Ole Miss will be good also.

Q: What about the ACC?
A: I have not been sold on the FSU pitching for the last few years so they are out before we even start. I really think Virginia will be the early favorite to win the conference with UNC (Matt Harvey) and Georgia Tech (Deck McGuire) right on their tails.

Q: What team will make the biggest leap forward?
A: I think in the ACC, NC State will make a big jump as they can't have as bad of a season like the past year. In the SEC, I see Vanderbilt making it back to the top tier of the SEC.

Q: What about the teams that will make the biggest drop?
A: I think Duke and BC are going to drop off in the ACC. Duke lost two big players in Hassan and Freiman while losing Manno to the draft. BC loses both Belfiore and Sanchez among others and really has no power in the offense heading into next season.


The biggest drop in the SEC could come from Arkansas as I was less then impressed with their pitching staff in Omaha and after Kuechel they struggled. He is gone now.

Q: Who is your way too early favorite for 2010 National Champion?
A: I really like Virginia from an ACC perspective and Ole Miss should have a decent squad too. UCLA always has some talent but can they ever put it together to make a real run to the CWS?? Arizona State will again be strong as they always get some great talent.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

College World Series: LSU A Win Away From Title

LSU won game 1 of the College World Series Finals beating Texas in extra innings. The Tigers were down 6-4 in the 9th with 2 outs when they ripped a double to left field scoring two runs to tie the game. LSU later scored in extra innings to take a one run lead which they held behind freshman closer Matty Ott to win 7-6.

I am getting this up late, but here is a good
preview of the finale from The College Baseball Blog. They had LSU pegged as their favorite from the beginning.

With their win last night, LSU extended its post season winning streak to 14 games, with just one more win needed for a sixth national championship.


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Monday, June 22, 2009

SEC Football: Ten Questions for 2009

A few days ago, I pondered some questions for the ACC in 2009. Now it is the SEC's turn. Florida comes in as the clear favorite to win the conference, but the West looks like it is wide open. We have some new coaches too that will be looking to turn around once proud programs.

1. The rosters say ‘yes’, history says ‘no’; will the Gators repeat as national champs in 2009?

2. Is Ole Miss for real or will Nutt crack under the expectations?

3. UGA plays 3 BCS non conference games (Okl St, Ariz St, Ga Tech), how many do they win with a new QB and RB?

4. Will Alabama build on a surprising 2008 season and make 2009 even better with an SEC title?

5. Will LSU's defense rebound enough under new DC John Chavis to win the West?


6. Will Steve Spurrier be able to settle on a QB for an entire season?

7. Will Arkansas go bowling with Michigan transfer Ryan Mallet at QB?

8. Which is more likely, Lane Kiffin SEC Coach of the Year or getting beat by 50 at Florida?

9. How many wins will Miss State’s get in year one under new head coach Dan Mullen?

10. Will Gene Chizik look like he did at Iowa State or like he did as the DC at Auburn in 2004?

What are your thoughts?

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ten Questions for ACC Football in 2009

College Gameballs did a “20 Questions for the ACC” recently, so I thought I would do one similar. Answering 20 questions kinda gave me a hand cramp, so I will limit it to 10. Add any of your own if you want.

1. Will Virginia Tech stand up for the ACC and beat a national power from the SEC on opening weekend?

2. Will Paul Johnson’s offense be even more successful in year two or will ACC defenses start to catch up?

3. Will Al Groh be coaching Virginia in 2010?

4. Is FSU ready to return to prominence with a 10 win season and ACC title?

5. Will Dabo Swinney prove to be a good hire at Clemson?

6. Will new OC Mark Whipple turn Miami’s talented, but young offense into a force?

7. Is Butch Davis ready to take North Carolina to an ACC Title?

8. If Russell Wilson plays 12 games, how many does NC State win?

9. BC lost a lot in the off season, but they also did the previous year. What will it take for BC to make it three straight ACC Championship Game appearances?

10. Which is more likely – Wake Forest winning the ACC or not making a bowl game?

What are your thoughts?


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

College World Series Fun Facts & Odds

The College World Series starts today at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, NE where it has been played since 1950.

The first winner of a Division I baseball title was Cal in 1947. Their Pac 10 brother, USC, leads all schools with 12 titles all time including five in a row from 1970-74. But the Trojans have not won since 1998.

The ACC has two teams in the CWS this year, but has not won a title since Wake Forest did in 1955. UNC finished second two years in a row to Oregon State in 2006 and 2007. The Tar Heels are making their 8th CWS appearance all time, but their 4th in a row. ACC neighbor Virginia is making their first appearance ever.

source: SI.com

The SEC has a strong history in the CWS led by LSU who has 5 titles and ranks 9th in CWS wins with 30. The Tigers are making their 15th CWS appearance. The Arkansas Razorbacks enter their 6th CWS, but first since 2004, looking for their first CWS championship.

source: SI.com

Number one overall seed Texas leads all teams with 33 appearances and is second to USC with 6 titles. ACC newcomer Miami is second with 23 appearances, but has not won the crown since 2001.

Arizona State is back in 2009 with their 21 appearance and looking to add to their five titles. Another 2009 participant, Cal State Fullerton, has won four national titles coming out of the Big West Conference. Southern Miss is making their first ever appearance. In fact, their Super Regional appearance was also their first ever.

The most appearances without a title? That "honor" goes to Florida State with 19. The Seminoles lost to Arkansas in the Super Regionals this season.


Updated: CWS Odds to Win
Just found these so I thought I would pass along.

Arizona State +350

Arkansas +1200
Cal State Fullerton +250
LSU +375
North Carolina +350
Southern Mississippi +1400
Texas +300
Virginia +400

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

College World Series Preview

The College World Series starts this Saturday with four of the eight participants coming from the ACC and SEC – two from each. The CWS uses two brackets of four teams with double elimination, like the regionals, to set up a best of three championship series.

Here is the schedule

The ACC takes on the SEC on Saturday with the ACC Champion Virginia Cavaliers meeting the SEC Champion LSU Tigers. The surprising Arkansas Razorbacks square off against national number two seed Cal State Fullerton in the first game Saturday to round out Bracket 1. Back for a fourth straight CWS, North Carolina matches up with the Sun Devils of Arizona State Sunday in Bracket 2.

The
College Baseball Blog has some really good previews up for the two brackets.

Bracket 1 has Arkansas, UVA, and LSU and The College Baseball Blog pegs LSU as their pick to win the bracket beat Cal State Fullerton. Your time may come next year, Cavalier fans, as The CBB likes Virginia a lot in 2010.
Bracket 2 has the Tar Heels as well as number one national seed Texas and the improbable Southern Miss Eagles. The CBB like the Heels to advance and has Texas as the first team out!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Regional Review and Super Regionals Preview

The College Baseball Blog was kind enough to do another Q & A looking back at the Regionals from this past weekend and forward to the Super Regionals this weekend.

We talk about the two ACC vs SEC Super Regional matchups, what went wrong for Georgia and Georgia Tech this year, and if LSU and UNC are still their favorites.

Q: What Regional winner surprised you the most?

A: The obvious answer would be Southern Miss winning the Atlanta Regional but GT had been struggling all season after Deck McGuire and really didn’t have that strong of a staff.

Q: What non-winner surprised you the most in defeat?

A: I thought UC-Irvine would play better at their home stadium but they really couldn’t handle the strong Cavaliers squad.

Q: Who do you like in each of the ACC vs SEC matchups: Florida State vs Arkansas; Ole Miss vs Virginia?

A: I think FSU will be able to take Arkansas this weekend. The Virginia series is going to be interesting as Ole Miss needs to get to the Cavs pitching rotation and get to the middle of the bullpen. If UVA only uses their starter and closer, then Ole Miss is in trouble.

Q: Georgia Tech lost another home regional. Do you think the Yellow Jackets are underachieving under Danny Hall?

A: I think the Yellow Jackets need to get some quality arms in their program instead of always focusing on the offensive side of things. Good pitching will always beat Good hitting.

Q: The Georgia Bulldogs were ranked #1 in the polls early in the season for multiple weeks. What can the downfall be attributed to?

A: I think it can be attributed to a less then stellar out of conference schedule which inflated their record and got everyone drinking the “Kool-Aid.” Georgia went out to Arizona for a three game set and swept the Wildcats but as we all know Arizona was not an NCAA Tourney team this year.

Q: Was it surprising how easily Florida went through their regional with Miami and a strong Bethune-Cookman staff?

A: Cookman gave Florida a run for the money as the Gators needed a three run bottom of the ninth to beat BCU in the opening game of the regional. I was not riding Miami’s coattails this year as they were in the middle of a rebuilding season.

Q: Will Southern Miss continue their run by beating Florida in the Super Regional?

A: Florida is a much better team then Southern Miss right now and should be able to handle them in the Super’s.

Q: How can Clemson upset the Sun Devils in Tempe?

A: Clemson needs to get some quality pitching and some key hits to beat the Sun Devils. Packard Stadium has some poor lighting and it could affect the series a little bit.

Q: We know how important pitching is in tournament baseball, what team left has the staff in your opinion?

A: I would say UNC but Alex White has not been strong in his last three starts for the Heels as this is a major question mark. I think UVA’s staff has looked the best in the ACC and NCAA Tourneys.

Q: Still have LSU and UNC as your favorites?

A: Yep, nothing has really changed there. I think Rice will be a tougher opponent for LSU then UNC has with East Carolina.


Updated 6/5/09
Check out The College Baseball Blog's
Super Regional Previews.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chat With The College Baseball Blog

The College Baseball Blog is hosting a chat at 1PM today to talk about the Regionals just finished and the Super Regionals this weekend.

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