College World Series Predictions: Why Florida Will Take Home the Title

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2012

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  Pitcher Karsten Whitson #22 of the Florida Gators throws against the South Carolina Gamecocks during game 2 of the men's 2011 NCAA College Baseball World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 28, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Florida Gators are really good. Possibly historically good. So good I'm willing to say, right now, that I believe they will finish as national champions this year.

It could be that they showed how dominant they can be when they started the season 23-2. Or that they are 5-0 thus far in the tournament. Or perhaps it is the following, from Michael DiRocco of ESPN:

Not advancing to Omaha, Neb., for the third consecutive season would have been a monumental failure for a team that had been called one of the strongest in college baseball history by Collegiate Baseball. With eight players drafted in the first nine rounds, three All-Americans in the starting rotation, and the school's all-time postseason leader in hits, homers and RBIs on the roster, the Gators had to reach the CWS.

Florida has as good a top three in its rotation as any other team in the nation, with Hudson Randall, Brian Johnson and Karsten Whitson. They have catcher Mike Zunino, one of the best baseball players in the country, and Preston Tucker, whose name appears all over Florida's career offensive records.

Johnson and Zunino were first-round draft choices, for what it is worth.

Sure, the Gators are not the darlings of this tournament. That distinction belongs to the underdogs of Stony Brook, sure to be the neutral fans choice.

And yes, Florida has to contend with two-time defending national champions South Carolina in its first game, and possibly again after that if they hope to advance in the double-elimination portion of this bracket.

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Nobody said it would be easy.

But last year they could not do it, motivation that has fueled them throughout this season even when the expectations became hard to bear. Last year, they had to watch South Carolina celebrate the title, one they thought would be their own.

This year, it will be. They expect to win it. They have all the motivation in the world to win it. And most importantly, they have the incredible talent too win it.

Unless they choke under the pressure, the College World Series will belong to the Gators.

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets really wanted to have another.

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