The season is here, so it's time for John and Kyle's eight for Omaha picks.
Texas returns the bulk of a pitching staff that had a sub-3.00 ERA a year ago. Yes, the Horns lost Ty Madden, but this team has a great case for having the best pitching staff in the country.
Stanford, another 2021 College World Series participant, looks to be the best team on the West Coast. Expect to see the Cardinal host a Regional and Super Regional and have a great shot at Omaha.
Choosing SEC teams to make it to Omaha always feels a little like drawing names out of a hat. For now, I'll stick with defending national champion, Mississippi State, as well as Arkansas and Ole Miss.
If Texas has the best pitching staff in the country, Florida State may have the second best. Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart will provide one of the best one-two punches in the nation.
Wrapping up my eight for Omaha are Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech. I said it on this week's podcast: a man is nothing if he doesn't stand by his convictions. And all offseason, I've lauded Louisiana Tech, so it's time to put my money where my mouth is. The Bulldogs will make history this season and make it to Omaha.
I was going through our Projected Field of 64 to pick these teams, but if I were to start from scratch, I think it would end up looking pretty similar to this group of eight.
Based on our Field of 64, this would mean that all but one team are from our projected top eight seeds. I also wanted to compare to previous years’ College World Series participants and found that six of my 2022 picks were just in Omaha in 2021. What I am trying to say is that it is difficult to pick against chalk so early in the season. Otherwise, why would we have ranked them so high?
Arizona is that team that is not a Top 8 seed that I picked to go to Omaha. The main thing I like about the Wildcats is that experience returning from last year’s team. The experience needed to make a deep tournament run is there. I also thought they matched up well with the other teams in the way on their path to this hypothetical Omaha.
Picking against chalk was difficult, but my non-chalk picks were more prevalent in the “Super Regional” round of this exercise. One of those picks was UC Irvine. I really like the experience this team brings back, especially on the mound. I believe they will be able to hit well, too, but having depth on the mound could really help this team advance.