Random thoughts: 64-team reveal edition
Handing the Bruins red-hot LSU, the SEC and defending national champions, as their two seed would be okay -- whoever would walk out would be tested and the loser probably wasn't going much further. But by throwing in the higher-ranked No. 21 UC-Irvine as a three seed, a team that has been as battle-tested as any this season, the committee made sure whoever escapes UCLA's regional will a very tough out going forward and there may be another Super Regional-worthy team sitting at home.
* Can't help but feel for TCU, which has another date with Texas looming if it can get by familiar foe Baylor. TCU has a shallow rotation after its best choices for a fourth starter just haven't seemed to pan out. Plus, the Frogs frequently had to play better Big 12 opponents in midweek games, so their lack of depth caused them to lose some winnable games over name opponents, and the ensuing RPI drop placed them as a national "ninth seed."
NCAA baseball committee chairman Tim Weiser said he views all eight hosts who aren't in the national top eight as "ninth seeds." I understand financially, geographically and logistically why the committee has to do that, but that doesn't mean it's fair. UConn, Florida State, Oklahoma and Auburn didn't have as strong a season as Cal State Fullerton, South Carolina and TCU -- they would make for great cannon fodder for Texas, Coastal Carolina and the winner of the "Group of Death." It's a shame the financial constraints of travel can keep some of the eight best teams out of the College World Series.
* The Austin regional is not an easy one either, as the state of Texas is loaded with good teams even when you leave a couple out (UT-Arlington and Texas State) and ship one off (A&M to Miami).
Rice has been a NCAA tournament regular (16 straight, actually) for nearly as long as UT freshman pitcher Hoby Milner has been on this earth. Throw in a Louisiana-Lafayette team that has won 23 of its last 27 games and won a surprisingly tough Sun Belt Conference, and you've got another very tough region. The Longhorns may not have paid dearly for their Big 12 tournament disappointment as the No. 2 overall seed, but karma has come back to bite them with tough matchups.
* The way the Aggies are playing right now, I'll pick Texas A&M to take the Coral Gables regional before bowing to a very good Florida team.
* And Coral Gables is also where FIU's Garrett Wittels will watch his hit streak die. Nothing personal, just a feeling he'll be walked a few times before Florida International's nice run ends.
* For those who haven't heard, Connecticut is hosting their regional as a two seed this year, with Florida State as the one. Again, in an ideal world the committee would not have to worry about geographical balance, but I think Florida State is on its way out either way. UConn has a better pitching staff in Connecticut and it would have the better staff in Florida, too.
* I like Texas and TCU to both handle their business in their opening games against Rider and Lamar, respectively. But I have a feeling Oral Roberts hitters Mark Ballgod and Tyler Saladino (15 home runs) will make some noise in Norman. I don't think the Golden Eagles are going to win the region by any means, but I feel good about them stealing one from an OU team looking ahead to what will be a great scrap with Cal.
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Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.