Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The 2006 CWS About the author, Boyd Nation

The 2006 CWS

Publication Date: June 13, 2006

You know, it's funny, but this could be the most anticipated week of the college baseball season, but it's also the hardest week for me to write each year. I think that's because I don't do news, and you don't want deep analysis right now. There may be some interesting thoughts to pursue on whether the nature of Rosenblatt Stadium, fairly large, changes the chances of some teams based on their style of play, and I'll probably look into that over the offseason, but those would just be general trends and not absolute predictors. Last week went almost to form, with the UNC-Alabama series providing the only vague upset.

So, I'll just provide one quick historical precedent for consideration, give the odds, and then let you get on to the games.

There have been two times before this year that a conference got four teams to Omaha, and the two times were quite different. I'm curious as to whether that turns out to be predictive. In 1997, the SEC was far and away the nation's best conference. Four teams -- LSU, Alabama, Auburn, and Mississippi State -- got to Omaha. All four had been seeded properly, according to the ISR's, with only MSU getting a boost by having a slightly overseeded Georgia Tech team (the ISR's had them around #14 going into the regional) sent to Starkville as the #1 seed. Most significantly, the league had taken out some tough competition on the way there -- Alabama had beaten ISR #5 Southern California, although in Tuscaloosa, and Auburn had gone to #8 Florida State and won. The results in Omaha showed that dominance, with LSU and Alabama meeting in the title game.

Fast forward to 2004, and we're looking at a much different scenario. South Carolina, Georgia, LSU, and Arkansas made the trip, but USC East and Arkansas had benefitted from RPI-based overseeding, and the toughest opponent any of them had faced was an East Carolina team that had come into the postseason at ISR #11 before bowing out at South Carolina. The results showed the difference, as Arkansas and LSU went 0-2 while South Carolina and Georgia finished tied for third.

Comments about seeding for this year's ACC teams aside, since we've kind of beaten that topic to death, the best team that any of the ACC teams this year have advanced over is Nebraska, who entered the postseason at #6, but Miami didn't actually face the Huskers. After that, it drops down to Alabama, who came in at #14. The ACC has put together a really nice postseason run -- the expected record according to the ISR's would have been 16-6 in the regionals, for example, while the actual was 17-6, with Miami's run just overcompensating for Virginia's collapse -- and it was certainly the top conference this year, but the skids were greased in front of them in the postseason, so we'll see have to watch how things play out from here to fully judge the season.

The probabilities, with the chances of reaching and winning the final series for each team:

Cal State Fullerton  42/27
Rice                 41/21
Clemson              27/15
Oregon State         30/14
Georgia Tech         18/ 8
Georgia              19/ 7
North Carolina       14/ 6
Miami, Florida       10/ 3

Pitch Count Watch

Rather than keep returning to the subject of pitch counts and pitcher usage in general too often for my main theme, I'm just going to run a standard feature down here where I point out potential problems; feel free to stop reading above this if the subject doesn't interest you. This will just be a quick listing of questionable starts that have caught my eye -- the general threshold for listing is 120 actual pitches or 130 estimated, although short rest will also get a pitcher listed if I catch it. Don't blame me; I'm just the messenger.

Date   Team   Pitcher   Opponent   IP   H   R   ER   BB   SO   AB   BF   Pitches
6/09 Georgia Tech Blake Wood College of Charleston 6.2 8 0 0 1 6 26 28 124
6/10 South Carolina Harris Honeycutt Georgia 8.1 10 6 6 4 5 33 39 128
6/10 Stanford Greg Reynolds Oregon State 7.0 7 4 2 4 9 30 36 135(*)

This is actually one of the top stories from last weekend, as this is easily the shortest that this list has ever been. Some of that is due to the paucity of close games, but there may be some hope here. One of these may even be bogus, since Reynolds has shown a tendency to be more efficient with his pitch counts than the estimator comes up with, so that estimate may be high (boy, wouldn't it be nice if there were a pitch count in the box score to confirm that?).

(*) Pitch count is estimated. As always, I welcome actual pitch count corrections.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The 2006 CWS About the author, Boyd Nation