ESPN college baseball analyst Kyle Peterson is excited about covering another College World Series. An Omaha, Neb., native who watched the tournament as a youngster, Peterson also played in two CWS with Stanford. He discussed this year’s tournament, which begins at 2 p.m. Saturday with Texas vs. UC-Irvine, in a conference call this week:
Q: Are you surprised the Big 12 has sent three teams (Texas, TCU and Texas Tech) to the championships?
A: I can’t say I’m shocked that they sent that many. I think the route that they did it is maybe the surprise, just because only one was guaranteed to host all the way through, and that was TCU. But Texas going into the regionals and obviously playing on the road in Rice’s ballpark, and the way that Texas Tech went down to Coral Gables (Fla.) and beat a Miami club, that’s pretty darned good.
And then obviously you have to win the Super Regional. An advantage that both of them got to go home for the Super. I think they left home to go to regional, the chances of that happening in both their minds probably wasn’t great.
The league, from an RPI standpoint, it was just a few percentage points behind the SEC.
Why do you consider Virginia the favorite to win the championship?
I think that when you’re preseason No. 1 in a lot of polls, and you then go all the way through the season with a target on your back and end up in Omaha; and do it in a way where you lose the opener to a Maryland club that went down and did what nobody had done since the ’70s, and that’s win a regional in Columbia, that’s pretty good in and of itself.