By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
One of the underrated sporting events in the country starts today and ends on June 27th.
It is the College World Series. The field looks balanced this year with no clear favorite after Tennessee, the self-proclaimed greatest team of all-time, choked at home in the Super Regionals losing to Notre Dame in grand fashion.
The field includes four SEC teams and two others, Oklahoma and Texas, who will be joining the SEC by 2025.
The SEC is dominant in most sports these days. The College World Series is played annually in Omaha, Nebraska. There should be plenty of SEC chants going on over the next 10 days. The CWS is a double-elimination tournament.
2022 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES Round 1
All Times Eastern
Friday, June 17
Oklahoma vs #5 Texas A&M 2 pm ESPN: A match-up of two SEC teams. One current and one in future in Oklahoma.
This was a huge rivalry when A&M was in the Big 12 so these programs are familiar with each other.
In his first year at Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle has reached the College World Series. He took TCU to Omaha five times in his 18 years at TCU. The Aggies are hot currently, so give me Texas A&M in this contest.
Notre Dame vs #9 Texas 7 pm ESPN: This should be a great contest. Texas lost game one in the Supers at East Carolina. Then come back and walked off with a win in game two and blew ECU out in game three to earn a trip to Omaha.
The Longhorns hit the long-ball frequently and will be a tough out in the CWS. Notre Dame, like I mentioned earlier, is riding high after beating Tennessee in Knoxville to earn a berth.
This is a tough gritty team that is dangerous in an environment like Omaha.
Give me Texas in this contest because the Longhorns have made the CWS field 38 times since the inception of the CWS.
The 2022 tournament marks the 75th playing of the CWS. Texas has been there more than half of the time. No other program has more than 25 appearances. Give me Texas in this match-up.
Saturday, June 18
Arkansas vs #2 Stanford 2 pm ESPN: Stanford always has good pitching, and this year is no exception. Arkansas was the Top overall seed in 2021 and did not make the CWS but went to Chapel Hill and beat a tough North Carolina team in three games to earn a spot in 2022.
Arkansas is peaking at the right time. Watch out for the Hogs. Give me Arkansas in this game.
Ole Miss vs #14 Auburn 7 pm ESPN2: Ole Miss may be the hottest team in college baseball right now. They were Preseason #1 that slumped badly in the middle of the season, only to get hot at tourney time.
The Rebels were the one of the last teams (probably last) selected to the field of 64 and have gone on a run and won a Super in Hattiesburg by sweeping Southern Miss and not giving up a run.
Auburn got sent to Corvallis, Oregon for a Super Regional and beat Oregon State.
Auburn has been a major surprise in 2022. The Tigers have a good power packed line-up. The SEC goes head-to-head in this one. Give me Ole Miss in this contest.
Teams with deep pitching staffs will rise to the top during the tourney. When it is all said and done, here is how I see it playing out:
College WS Final:
Arkansas vs Texas
Arkansas is your 2022 National Baseball Champions.
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Recapping last weekend college football action around the sunshine state, we have the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, to steal a line from the classic 1966 spaghetti western.
UCF traveled to Boca Raton on Saturday and true freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel led the Knights to a 48-14 victory over FAU.
UCF’s rushing attack of McCrae (93 yards), Thompson (91 yards and a touchdown), Anderson (75 yards) and Killins (37) amassed more than 300 yards rushing for the second week in a row.
Gabriel finished the night 7 of 19 passing for 245 yard and 2 touchdowns. UCF’s defense put pressure on Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robinson all night long. UCF tallied 5 sacks with 16 tackles for loss.
Up next for the Knights is Stanford.
Stanford quarterback K.J. Castello is expected to start after missing last week’s loss to USC due to a concussion.
UCF opens as a seven-point favorite over the Cardinals. This is a classic battle of two contrasting styles. UCF wants to play fast, whereas Stanford prefers to play in a phone booth.
UCF’s defense will be challenged against Stanford’s huge offensive line.
Game time is 3:30 at The Bounce House. Stanford melts in the fourth quarter. My take: UCF 34 Stanford 21
Florida Gators took care of business against one of their cupcakes on Saturday by shutting out UT Martin 45-0. Feleipe Franks completed 25-27 for 270 yards, 0 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. The Gators took care of business on both sides of the ball against a less talented UT Martin.
Up next for the Gators is a trip to Lexington, Kentucky to open SEC play against the Wildcats.
Both teams are 2-0 but Kentucky is forced to play without starting quarterback Terry Wilson due to injury. Wilson torched the Gators last season as Kentucky ended a 31-game losing streak vs. Florida.
Sawyer Smith will get the nod for the Wildcats on Saturday night. Kavosiey Smoke leads the Wildcat’s rushing attack 18 carries for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Florida will enter this contest with two major players out due to injury Kadarius Toney (shoulder) and C.J. Henderson (ankle).
The Gators look for revenge in the commonwealth after Kentucky broke the streak. Gators defense too much for Smith and company. My take: Florida 31 Kentucky 16
The Miami Hurricanes have lost their first two games since 1978.
North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Hurricanes 28-25. The Tar Heels were led for the second week in a row by Freshman quarterback Sam Howell. Howell’s touchdown pass to Dazz Newsome with 1:01 left in the game put the Tar Heels up 28-25.
Miami had one last chance but Bubba Baxa shanked the field goal attempt wide left to seal the North Carolina victory.
Jarren Williams 30 for 39 for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns and Deejay Dallas 14 carries for 107 yards paced the Hurricanes.
Miami will rebound this week with a blowout win against an overmatched Bethune Cookman Wildcats. My take: Miami 54 Bethune Cookman 13
Florida State won the game against UL Monroe but collapsed in the 2nd half again.
Leading 24-7 at half, Florida State forgot for the second week that there are four quarters to play.
UL Monroe scored on their first four drive of the second half. UL Monroe outscored the Seminoles 31-14 in the second half, and forced overtime.
Cam Akers carried the Seminoles the entire game with 36 carries for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns while also catching 5 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Akers scored on a third and goal to give the Seminoles lead 45-38.
UL Monroe QB Caleb Evans walked in moments later to bring UL Monroe an extra point from a second overtime.
The Seminoles got lucky when the extra point sailed wide right.
Florida State travels Virginia to open ACC conference play against the Cavaliers. Coach Taggart and company avoid a second straight disaster.
FSU right now is a dumpster fire and the Cavaliers take advantage of the chaos. My take: Virginia 31 FSU 23.