College World Series 2012: Arizona Wildcats' Victory Benefits College Baseball

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2012

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 25:  Alex Mejia #13 of Arizona Wildcats celebrates a force of Grayson Greiner #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks at second base in the eighth inning during game 2 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Field on June 25, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Dynasties are good for well-followed sports, but not for college baseball. Arizona's victory ruined South Carolina's chance at the sport's longest run since USC from 1970-1974.

A "three-peat" would have damaged whatever excitement the sport had earned for itself this year. South Carolina's squad was a fan favorite, but it wasn't because of their recent dominance.

College baseball fans enjoyed South Carolina's unlikely runs in 2009 and 2010. They would have enjoyed this year's triumph through the losers' bracket too, but a dynasty just gave it an odd feeling.

People like underdogs. In this situation, Arizona was the underdog. Their program hadn't won a national championship since 1986. Their championship gives baseball fans another program to watch and it increases the parity of the sport—both of which are good things for the sport's future.

College baseball's popularity spikes once per year. The College World Series is usually good for a few comebacks, wild offensive outbreaks and stellar pitching performances. Like other sports, under-the-radar teams can succeed.

This keeps fans on their toes. It gives the sport excitement and an air of mystery. It's nice to tune in to ESPN's coverage each year and genuinely wonder who's going to win this year's crown.

You don't get that feeling in most other sports. Even college baseball's top seed (Florida) was eliminated early. Other favorites, like UCLA and Florida State, also fell before the tournament's decisive game.

Upsets and unlikely victors keep fans on the edge of their seats. It gives them a reason to watch and, quite frankly, they may need a reason in this instance.


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