OMAHA—I got to the park early today to walk around the stadium and check out some of the vendors, and by the time I got back to Rosenblatt, I was just drenched with sweat. It is hot as the dickens today—the current temperature is 91 degrees, but weather.com says it feels like 101. So just a reminder to anyone heading out to the ballpark today: Stay hydrated and remember your sunscreen.
Speaking of hot, John correctly pegged both of Friday’s games to even his picks record at 5-5. If I’m going to make a move, I’d better stop dilly-dallying. Let’s get to today’s picks:
John: Put me down for a no vote on the two days off for the CWS Finals; the event already takes too long already. I love the College World Series, but I hope these Finals redeem an otherwise lackluster event. There have been a couple of fine games, and I’ll put down Friday night’s Texas-Arizona State tilt as a classic, though it started very late thanks to the rain. But overall, this CWS has yet to produce a signature moment, and the hottest player, Kole Calhoun, is done. Pace of game is an issue most of all when the games themselves aren’t compelling. I remember in 1998 the title game took 3 hours, 56 minutes, and that 21-14 game was crazy, but I recall when the game was ending and I was crouched on the steps getting ready to go on the field to interview players, I couldn’t believe it had taken four hours. There was a lot of action in that game, and it didn’t seem to drag. I hope the Finals’ pace is better but I also expect the quality of the games to be better as well.
Texas and LSU have what it takes to deliver on that; these are the two best teams, I really don’t have a doubt after seeing them play. I’m going Louis Coleman and LSU in tonight’s opener, because I believe LSU is the better team and Coleman is the better pitcher. I’d pitch very carefully to Cameron Rupp, though; that joker is dangerous. Chance Ruffin is no pushover as the opposing pitcher, and I don’t see these teams blowing each other out, they’re evenly matched as we know from our previews and from watching them, both up close in Omaha and from afar. Coleman is the difference-maker, and it’s also key for LSU that it got Matty Ott on the mound the other night, even for mopup duty. I don’t see Coleman going the distance, and Ott will have to be sharp in the Finals for LSU to tie Texas and win its sixth title, which I’m also predicting.
John’s Pick: Louisiana State
Aaron: I’m three games behind John with two or three to play, which means I need this thing to go three games just to have a chance to tie, and I need John to not block me in Game Two. Given how ruthless John has been in pursuit of this year’s picks title, I don’t have a lot of hope that he’s going to give me a chance. But I’m going for it all or nothin’ at all—if I’m going down, I’m going down with guns blazing. I think this game is a tossup, so I’m going to climb aboard Augie Garrido’s magic carpet and hope Chance Ruffin rebounds from a rough opener the way LSU’s Anthony Ranaudo rebounded Friday from his poor CWS debut. The Longhorns seem very loose, and I think their slight underdog status might give them a slight edge. Never underestimate the power of the "nobody believed in us" mantra. Also, if I’m Texas, I’m going to be extremely patient today to try to get into LSU’s middle relief. I don’t want Coleman going eight innings and then simply handing off to Matty Ott. As the ‘Horns showed against Southern Miss last week, they can keep the bats on their shoulders when necessary. Also, I think Texas should really test LSU’s corner infielders—especially first baseman Sean Ochinko—with the bunt. Texas bunts better than just about anyone, so I think that’s another area for Garrido to exploit.
Aaron’s Pick: Texas.
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