Wake Forest Heavy Favorite to Win it all in Omaha
The College World Series is set to get underway on Friday with top-seeded Wake Forest considered to be the favorite to win the program’s first title.
The eight teams will take part in a double-elimination tournament at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska.
The last time a team went undefeated through the games in Omaha came in 2013 when UCLA accomplished the feat after topping Mississippi State 8-0 in the title game.
The first two Men’s College World Series were held in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with the 1949 event played in Wichita, Kansas. Since then, it has been held in Omaha, Nebraska every year.
About the Field
There were 64 teams that were chosen to be a part of the NCAA Division I baseball tournament field. The top 16 seeds played host to three other teams in the regionals.
Ten of the 16 host teams advanced to the best-of-three Super Regionals.
One adjustment had to be made. Indiana State could not host the Super Regionals because of a conflict with the previously scheduled Special Olympics Summer Games in Indiana so unseeded Texas Christian played host to the Sycamores.
No. 1 seed Wake Forest and No. 2 seed Florida won the Super Regionals without dropping a game.
No. 5 Louisiana State, and No. 7, No. 8 Stanford joined Wake Forest and Florida in the CWS field along with unseeded Tennessee, Oral Roberts and TCU squads.
A Look At the Schedule
The College World Series begins with two games on Friday June 16 with Oral Roberts meeting Texas Christian at 2 p.m. ET followed by Virginia playing Florida at 7 p.m. ET. Both games will air live on ESPN.
On Saturday June 17, Wake Forest meets Stanford at 2 p.m. ET and then Louisiana State plays Tennessee at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, June 18, the Oral Roberts-TCU loser will meet the Virginia-Florida loser at 2 p.m. The loser of that game will be eliminated from the tournament. At 7 p.m., the winners of the Oral Roberts-TCU and Virginia-Florida games will play.
On Monday, June 19, the field will be down to six games as the Wake Forest-Stanford and LSU-Tennessee losers play at 2 p.m. in an elimination game. The winners of those games will square off at 7 p.m.
There will be two more elimination games on Tuesday June 20.
The undefeated teams in the two brackets will face the two remaining one-loss teams on Wednesday, June 21. If the undefeated team wins on that day, they will advance to the championship series. If not, there will be a winner-take-all game on Thursday, June 22.
The Bracket 1 winner and Bracket 2 winner will meet in a best-of-three series. Game 1 is on June 24, Game 2 is June 25 and if necessary, Game 3 is scheduled for June 26.
A Look At the History
South Carolina, which won the titles in 2010 and 2011, is the last team to win back-to-back championships.
Among the teams in the field, Florida last won the title in 2017, Virginia was the champion in 2015, LSU in 2009 and had a stretch with three times from 1996-2000. Stanford won back-to-back World Series titles in 1987 and 1988.
Wake Forest last won the title in 1955. Tennessee, Oral Roberts and TCU have never won the title.
Catching a Draft
One change in the tournament is that the MLB Draft used to take place during the World Series. With there no longer being short-season teams in Minor League Baseball, the draft has been moved to July in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game in Seattle.
According to MLB.com, LSU outfielder Dylan Crews is favored to be the No. 1 overall pick that is held by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Teammate Paul Skenes, a dominant right-handed pitcher, is the No. 2 prospect followed by Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford. Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander, Wake Forest pitcher Rhett Lowder and Virginia catcher Kyle Teel are other top-15 prospects set o to play in the Men’s College World Series.
Players at four-year colleges or universities can’t be drafted until after their junior seasons.
A Look At the Odds
Wake Forest is the current favorite at +270 followed by LSU at +350, Florida comes in at +375 with Virginia priced at +550. TCU (+750), Tennessee (+800), Stanford (+1200) and Oral Roberts (+2500) are considered to be longshots to win it all.
If LSU, Florida or Tennessee wins the title, it would be the fourth straight time that a team from the SEC won the championship with Vanderbilt winning in 2019, Mississippi State taking the title in 2021 and Ole Miss emerging victorious in 2022. There was no tournament held in 2020 due to COVID-19.