The fall season is now over with the Auburn Tigers defeating the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship game a couple of weeks ago. The first day of spring practice is right around the corner at the end of the week. Here are the top baseball contenders for the Capital One Cup which will be decided in Omaha this year with many teams high up in the standings.
UCLA – Two words: Gerrit Cole. Two more words: Trevor Bauer. Both are among the best pitchers in baseball, and UCLA rode their arms all the way to the championship series last season. Rick Neuheisel’s and Ben Howland’s teams may be underachieving in Westwood, but John Savage’s squad could be even better than last year, even with some key losses to the rest of the pitching staff. The men’s soccer team at least contributed with an 8th place finish.
Texas – The Longhorns seemed to be in prime position to make an impact. With their basketball team gaining confidence improving to 14-3 after a weekend win a Kansas, they could gain steam and gain some points in the basketball. Texas returns junior RHP Taylor Jungmann and senior RHP Cole Green, and a slew of talent on offense that lost to TCU in the Super Regional round last season and can never be counted out of contention for Omaha with Augie Garrido running the ship.
Stanford – While their basketball squad hasn’t been the same since Mike Montgomery left, they currently sit at 7th in the Capital One Cup standings by virtue of their the football team winning the Orange Bowl. With a crop of freshman talent electing not to sign, as well as a veteran pitching staff, the Cardinal have an Omaha worth squad that could make a run. Their Men’s swimming and diving currently ranks 3rd as well, and cross country finished in 4th.
Oregon – A 3rd place finish in football gives Ducks 36 points overall, and with the preseason honors pouring in for the baseball squad, George Horton’s squad gives the University of Oregon at least a chance at this award. Men’s Outdoor Track and Field is always in contention
TCU – Andy Dalton and crew led the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season and Rose Bowl victory. Matt Purke and Jason Coats return to the Horned Frogs on the diamond, coupled with a preseason #1 ranking from Collegiate Baseball and their entire starting rotation returning, as well as the reigning NCBWA Coach of the Year in Jim Schlossnagle leading the way, TCU is in as good of shape as anyone to claim the cup.
UCONN – Kemba Walker is spearheading a campaign to lead UCONN to a possible Final Four in Basketball…can Springer and Barnes return the favor and lead the Huskies to Omaha?
Virginia – They’re currently ranked 1st in Lacrosse, and even though they lost some bats from the 2010 lineup, return Danny Hultzen on the mound and should remain atop the ACC. They surprisingly got to Omaha in 2009, and can never be counted out with Brian O’Connor leading the way.
Auburn – Could Auburn make a run and finish in the Top 10? Possibly. They lose a lot of key hitters from 2010, but winning the BCS National title in football at least helps their overall chances of winning the trophy.
Arizona – If the talented Wildcats could ever get it together on the basketball court and make a March Madness run, they’d be in decent shape for this award. Their baseball team’s core returns completely intact next season, and with their Men’s Swimming and Diving squad having a 2nd place ranking, they could sniff at least the Top 10 of the Cup rankings by the end of everything.
Texas A&M – They’re sniffing the Top 10 in basketball, and are the reigning Men’s Outdoor Track and Field champs. They have quality returners from their Big XII championship baseball squad, they pose an outside shot of making some noise in final Cup standings.
Oklahoma – Sonny Golloway’s squad is fit for another run at Omaha, and with the football team having another great season, could be in contention. Basketball isn’t the same since Blake Griffin left, but regardless, the University is still in contention.
Louisville- The Men’s Basketball team might have lost a key Big East game over the weekend to Providence but Dan McDonnell’s Cardinals have a chance to do damage on the diamond this year behind Tony Zych and Ryan Wright.