Pitching depth key in wide-open CWS

CWS Chat with Tony Gwynn: Thurs. 3 p.m. ET

The College World Series is a baseball lover's dream. The action starts Friday in Omaha, Neb. -- where it's been played since 1950 -- with the final championship-series game on either Sunday, June 27 or Monday, June 28. There will be up to 17 games, all on ESPN2 or ESPN, and I'll be in Omaha broadcasting most of the games throughout the week-plus.

College World Series:
First-Round TV Schedule
Friday, June 18
Arizona-Georgia
2 p.m. ET | ESPN2

Arkansas-Texas
7 p.m. ET | ESPN2

Saturday, June 19
CS Fullerton-S. Carolina
2:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

LSU-Miami
7 p.m. ET | ESPN

Here's how the College World Series works: There are eight teams -- two brackets with four teams each -- and within the brackets the teams play each other in a double-elimination format.

Then the winner of Bracket 1 and the winner of Bracket 2 play a best-of-three for the national championship.

In recent years, the championship was just one game after the double-elimination rounds, but a best-of-three is how it should be.

In Bracket 1, the first-round matchups are Arkansas (44-20) vs. Texas (55-13) and Georgia (43-21) vs. Arizona (35-25-1). In Bracket 2, the first-round matchups are LSU (46-17) vs. Miami (49-11) and South Carolina (50-15) vs. Cal State Fullerton (42-21). You'll notice that four SEC schools are in the College World Series: Arkansas, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina.

Bracket 2 Looks Tough
On paper, it looks like Bracket 2 is tougher than Bracket 1. The NCAA baseball tournament started with 64 teams and eight national seeds -- the top eight teams in the nation, according to the tourney committee. Bracket 2 has the No. 2 national seed (South Carolina) and the No. 3 national seed (Miami). Some observers thought LSU should have been a national seed, and Cal State Fullerton has won 23 of 25 games.

In Bracket 1, Texas is the No. 1 national seed and therefore will be the favorite. But as we've seen earlier in the tournament and in past years, anybody can step up and win. Arizona has the fewest wins of any team left (35), but the Wildcats upset Long Beach State -- which featured one of the nation's best pitchers, Jered Weaver -- to get to Omaha.

Texas has the most wins (55) of the eight teams in Omaha. The Longhorns are the only team in the College World Series that my San Diego State team played this year. We played them three times in Austin, Texas -- and yes, those were three of their 55 wins (but we took them to extra innings once before losing 3-2).

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