(CTN NEWS) – It’s Men’s College World Series time, but the team everyone expected to see didn’t make the trip to Omaha Despite being collage world’s top-ranked team, Tennessee was upset in the super regionals at Knoxville by Notre Dame, leaving the field wide open for the national championship.
This college world series features eight teams competing in two double-elimination brackets of four teams each, with winners advancing to the best-of-three championship game on June 25. Sports Center will not be airing the games, but there will be ESPN2 and ESPN App coverage.
Oklahoma takes on No. 5 Texas A&M on ESPN at 2 ET in the first game of the first bracket, while Notre Dame faces No. 9 Texas on ESPN at 7 ET in the second game. The other bracket will feature Arkansas playing second-seeded Stanford (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET) and Ole Miss playing 14th-seeded Auburn (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET).
To get you ready for all the action, we asked our college baseball experts Ryan McGee, Mike Rooney, Chris Burke and Kiley McDaniel to break down the contenders, top storylines and make their picks for the last two teams standing.
Before we dig in on the Omaha field, what is your biggest takeaway on No. 1 Tennessee losing in the super regionals?
You mean, other than my college friends and in-laws — heck, my wife! — calling and yelling at me because they’ve run out of people to yell at? Honestly, this is just how it is for the No. 1 national seed. The looks on the faces of the Vols were the same stunned expression that Arkansas had one year ago and UCLA had in 2019. That’s three in a row the top team has lost in the supers, and the No. 1 seed hasn’t won the CWS since Miami in 1999! Maybe Tennessee can take consolation knowing they are in great company. Oh, who am I kidding?
This was an enormous upset with two caveats: 1) This is the third year in a row that the No. 1 overall seed has been upset in the supers. 2) Notre Dame has been one of the best teams in the country over the last three seasons. That said, it was shocking to see a historic Vols team lose twice in Knoxville. Notre Dame felt slighted by the committee with its seeding, but in hindsight, maybe it was Tennessee that drew the short straw.
Tennessee losing in the supers is just more proof that carrying the weight of being No. 1 all year is the hardest thing to do in college baseball. The fact no team has been able to win it all as the No. 1 seed this century is a trend that is impossible to ignore.
Baseball is a little too random to ever feel secure about predicting how a few games will go. That, and Notre Dame has a lot of solid pitching.
Who do you think in College World Series is the team to beat in Omaha?
Currently, so many teams have momentum, but I have never given up on Texas midseason like a lot of others did. Texas is back on track after their preseason No. 1 ranking. Their play at East Carolina never faltered, which is why they should have won that College World Series. The same team looked good in Omaha a year ago. Today they are seasoned Omaha veterans.
Texas would seem to be the favorite based on their position as the No. 1 team preseason. Among them is Pete Hansen, who may well be the most accomplished pitcher in the field.