College World Series 2012: Power Ranking Championship Contenders

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJune 13, 2012

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  (L-R) Brady Thomas #36, Michael Roth #29 and Scott Wingo #8 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrate with the trophy after winning the men's 2011 NCAA College Baseball World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 28, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Gamecocks defeated the Florida Gators 5-2 and won the series 2-0.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Florida is the favorite to win the 2012 College World Series. Bovada has them at 5/2 to take the title, and these odds are right on the money. 

The Gators are far from a sure thing, though. This is baseball after all, and the double elimination bracket leading to the best-of-three finals is a perfect environment for upsets. 

There is no reason that Cinderella Stony Brook can't take this title. That said, they will not be on this list. Here are the three teams with the best chances of becoming this year's kings of college baseball. 


No. 1: Florida 

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 27:  Catcher Robert Beary #4 of the South Carolina Gamecocks makes the out against Mike Zunino #3 of the Florida Gators in the 9th inning during game 1 of the men's 2011 NCAA College Baseball World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Ju
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Last year's CWS runner-up, Florida is ready to take the next step. This team returned almost all of their starters from a season ago, and they are all focused on winning it all this time around. 

Florida boasts a lineup that includes five players selected in the first nine rounds of this year's MLB Draft. They are led by Catcher Mike Zunino, a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and taken No. 3 overall by the Seattle Mariners.

This is an experienced and talented team. If they play their best, they will not be beat. 


No. 2: Arizona

The talented Wildcats are peaking at the right time. This team hit a solid .333 during the season, but in the postseason, they are mashing. 

They enter the CWS hitting .420 for the postseason, and they have done this with production all through the lineup. There are no easy outs on the Wildcats. 

They also have quality starting pitching and a good defense behind their pitchers. This is a smart and experienced team—they have five drafted juniors on their roster. 

They play the kind of consistent team baseball that it takes to succeed in this tournament. 


No. 3: South Carolina

Two-time Defending champion South Carolina showed signs of weakness this year, but this is their time to shine. The Gamecocks have won 21 consecutive NCAA tournament games—that streak includes 11 in a row in Omaha.

If they can win this year, they will join Southern California as the only three-peat winners of the CWS—obviously, it helps to be USC in the CWS. 

Despite their recent success, this team is not as experienced as some of the others. They had to replace many of last year's prominent players. 

This led to the Gamecocks getting off to a slow start, but they are clicking now. They cannot be counted out.