Looks like it will be an all SEC world series final LSU vs FLORIDA!

I rooted for both Florida and LSU in the CWS. I’m not sure who I will be rooting for tonight. It might be LSU since I was once made an honorary coon@$$ one night several years ago in Breaux Bridge. LSU is like some mysterious vermin that you just can’t kill off.

While it’s great for the conference to have two SEC teams in the Finals, it poses a dilemma for this Hog fan . . . I ALWAYS want both teams to lose (unless it helps us move up in the standings, of course). And LSU is the Baseball equivalent of Alabama for Football, or Kentucky in Basketball.

Still, I’m pulling for LSU (or, I should more accurately say, rooting against Florida). Why? I don’t want the Gators to be the next SEC team that’s never won a Championship in Baseball grabbing the crown. That should be reserved for Arkansas.

A few years ago, there was LSU who had won several Championships, and then a group of 4 or 5 teams that seemed poised to move to that next level themselves. I’ve seen S. Carolina and Vandy win the Championship in recent years; don’t want to see no stinkin’ Gators winning it. We should be the next team to take that step.

That aside, we hammered Florida while LSU beat us 4 out of 5 (yes, I know we should have won more of those games . . . but we didn’t). So LSU should win.

I’ve been debating with myself. I just cannot pull for future luggage. Especially since they pulled that nasty trick on Stetson while trailing 10-1. Oh and the Hatters helped pull the tarp when Florida was slow in getting that started.

[color=#800080]Geaux Tigers.[/color]

I didn’t watch last night and won’t watch tonight or tomorrow, if there is one. But I can’t cheer for the Corndogs, or Kim Mulkey Jr. So a Florida win is fine with me. Florida frankly has a better, more consistent program than we do and deserves an NC to show for it.

Florida has been so inconsistent this season that it’s crazy to think the Gators are a win shy of winning the national championship. But that’s the way it goes a lot of times in sports with a tournament.

They’re 51-19 against a brutal schedule (#1 SOS according to Warren Nolan) and won the SEC regular season title after Auburn swept them opening weekend (which means 21-6 the rest of the way). I wouldn’t mind some of that inconsistency.

LSU is also 51-19. However, it’s not true that first one to 52 wins. LSU has to get to 53.

It’s a great record and schedule, but there were some weird games in there, too. There was the Stetson game, the 16-0 run-rule to Arkansas, the series loss to Tennessee and living on the edge in the NCAA postseason. Up until the CWS finals, Florida had lost the maximum number of games possible without being eliminated. If it loses tonight but wins Game 3, Florida would win the national championship with four postseason losses.

First one to 52 did win. The Wallets take home the trophy. (Final Directors Cup standings will be really interesting. Stanford, as always, won because they dominate in weird sports like water polo, but UF may be top 3.)

Really? I haven’t done the research, but off the top of my head if you take the last 10 to 12 years… Basically, since DVH has been at Arkansas… You’re splitting hairs pretty finely to find much difference between our two programs… Especially when you consider that we are in the SEC West, which means that we live with LSU… Sure, Florida has more division titles than we do…but therir main adversary in the east is Vandy… Whe we have LSU, MSU, A&M and Ole Miss that are good every year…we’ve been in the tournament every year since DVH came here, except for last season… Florida missed a couple of seasons about eight or nine years ago… So both are pretty much models of consistency… They simply broke through before we did… Congrats to them, but I’d rather it would’ve been us…

O’Sullivan has been to Omaha seven times in 10 years. DVH has four trips in 15 years. UF has more national seeds, more SEC overall titles, yadda yadda. That doesn’t require too much hairsplitting. I’d rather it had been us too, but our best chance for that was with Norm in '79. Ignoring Perry Costello, of course.

If not for Perry Costello, Arkansas would have at least finished second, because they would have beaten USC-E on that Friday. That would have tied what Norm’s team did in '79.

Again, you have to consider the path to Omaha and how they got there. Look - I’m NOT knocking the Gator program; just pointing out that if you take two very, very similar programs and put one in Gainesville and the other in Fayetteville (or Columbia, SC) and watch them over 10-15 years, one or two may win a championship or two while one or two of the others falls just short. But when we play LSU, Ole Miss, MSU, A&M every year, and most seasons also play Vandy and/or S. Carolina and/or Florida . . . I just think we’ve got a harder schedule year in and year out; at least, in the recent decade or so. Not that their path to Division Championships, seeds etc. has been easy; but perhaps a bit easier than ours (again, year in and year out. Individual seasons vary).

And we’ve had a winning record head-up against Florida. DVH is 20-15 vs. the Gators, including a 13-9 advantage against O’Sullivan’s teams. I wouldn’t call that “dominant”, but it does demostrate, I believe, my point - that the two programs are very close to each other. I acknowledge Florida’s accomplishment in breaking through and finally winning the Championship. Kudos to them! But we, too, have been close, and I hope we also can break through in the near future.

I was thinking back to that '79 CWS. Norm threw a midweek pitcher against Fullerton in the semifinal and it turned into a football game; CSF kicked the extra field goal and won 13-10. He saved Steve Krueger, our best pitcher that year, for the championship game. We knew going into that first matchup with Fullerton that we’d be playing in that final game regardless. But if we’d thrown Krueger and beaten Fullerton the first time, we could have won the title the next night against Pepperdine, and at worst would have had two games with the Waves, win one for the NC (we beat Pepperdine in our first game, which sent them into the loser’s bracket) with Krueger available for one of them.

And Krueger pitched well in the title game. But Soggy Burrito rolled the dice on a kid named Dave Weatherman, who had started the night before against Pepperdine but didn’t get out of the first inning. Weatherman went the distance to hold us to one run, the Titans got an unearned run after Ronn Reynolds threw one into center field on a steal attempt, and we lose 2-1. To make it worse, our last three outs in the ninth were all tagged – a great play by future big leaguer Tim Wallach at first base, a running catch in center field and a line drive smoked right at the second baseman.

Clearly, Wiz, Gainesville has proven to be a great place to recruit to for every coach in every sport, which is why it appears UF will finish third when they release the final Directors Cup standings tomorrow (looks like we’ll be in the 18-20 range, ). But you still have to maintain. Southern Cal, for instance, has unbelievable baseball tradition and an extremely fertile area to recruit. So does Arizona State. And they tied for last in the Pac-11 this year.

I don’t disagree with your point about Florida being a relatively easy place to recruit to, but I’m also not sure why you brought that point up in the context of replying to my last post - I didn’t reference or mention anything about recruiting.

I will say this, now that you’ve brought it up. IMO, Baseball is the sport (well, next to Track, perhaps) that Arkansas has the least competitive disadvantage when recruiting. We have facilities second to none (not just Baum, but the recently added indoor facility), FANTASTIC fan support, and a super track record of NCAA and CWS appearances. Plus a stable coaching history and one of the top coaches in the game. The ONLY thing we don’t have (yet) is a Championship banner. But, 8 years ago you could have said the same thing about S. Carolina, Vandy and Florida. They were in the same boat as we were (LSU is still the only team with a decided Program History advantage). If they can break through, so can we - without any doubt.

That doesn’t mean we WILL, of course. But it’s right there in front of us.

Florida wins, in baseball and every other sport, because they recruit well to great facilities in a very attractive city. That’s why they just won NCAA track, and NCAA women’s tennis, and now the CWS (pretty good spring huh?). Plus finished second in softball.

I agree wholeheartedly that our disadvantages are less pronounced, or nonexistent, in baseball than in anything besides track. And all it would take is a little hot streak in June to join LSU and Vandy and SoCar and now Florida as winners in Omaha. We’re not far away at all, as bombing a very good pitcher for the eventual NCs 16-0 at Hoover illustrated. But we didn’t get the job done against the Bad News Bears.

Florida actually played about as badly in the postseason as an eventual national champion can play. Their NCAA record was 10-3. The most losses a CWS winner can have is four, and if they’d gone to the final game tonight, that’s exactly what Florida would have had. But when they had to win, they did.

One last thing I meant to mention, when comparing the Arkansas Baseball program to Florida. In the DVH era, we have had one Golden Spikes/Dick Howser winner (Benintendi), and two Cy Young winners (Lee, Keuchel). In that same period, Florida has had a Golden Spikes/Howser winner (Zunino) and no Cy Young winners. In fact, I believe we may be the ONLY SEC team with two Cy Young winners among our alumni.

Wiz, as usual, you are making great points.

However, Cliff Lee played for Norm rather than DVH.

One more thing…If he had wanted, DVH could have sought and obtained jobs where it would be easier to win big (specifically at traditionally powerful programs with fertile recruiting grounds). He, like JFB in football, is a pioneer in college baseball. He helped make the sport what it is today.

DVH is here because he WANTS to be here. He loves being a Hog.

He’s 56 years old. I hope we have him another 10 years.

I cheered for Fla simply because I’m tired of LSU. Like Wiz, I hate that UF broke through before we did, but I still believe our time is coming. We’re near the top too often. I’m very optimistic about the coming season–even though football & basketball will come & go before baseball even gets to conference season. (Well, I’d like for our basketball season to be extended into the SEC baseball conf season, but I don’t want to step out that far just yet.) Regardless, I feel good about our situation.

I’m glad the blond Kim Mulkey, Jr. didn’t win it all. I’m glad none of the corndogs won. At least there’s some comfort in knowing we beat the national champions 16-0 in the only game we played against them this year. The only thing better than LSU losing is Ole Miss missing the whole tournament.