It's been a good long time since I've seen a good long Live Blog on this website. And what better time to go back to the roots? Game 3 in Omaha for the National Championship. Two of the best college baseball programs. Two of the top SEC schools year after year. Two of the most incredible rosters and coaching staffs. Florida vs. LSU in 2023 college baseball is no different than the late 2000's in football. It's as good as good gets with the best players, biggest bats, nastiest stuff. You fuckin name it. These programs got it and we're lucky it comes down to one more game.
Here's the big talking points going into the National Championship:
The 2 Best Outfielders: Dylan Crews looks perfect and I mean PERFECT in a baseball uniform. Lean and explosive. Athletic and durable. Great hair. Fast twitch everything. Balanced. Beautiful. He can get on base over a .400 clip at the MLB level and play gold glove defense while swiping 20 bags and hitting in the middle of the order. Andrew McCutchen but maybe better, which is just a fuckin crazy thing to say about a guy NOT in the big leagues.
He has a .563 OBP. He's never overmatched, and maybe my favorite part? He looks sooooooo good
Opposite him on Florida is a guy named Wyatt Langford who leg presses 1750 for warm ups. He's gigantic and hits bombs, including the longest in CWS history.
There's a ton of guys on Florida that can punish you. Just a handful for LSU.
Wyatt Langford is the leader of the Gator group that also includes Jac Caglianone's 31 homers.
No matter. Langford is projected to go in the top 5 of the draft and very good chance you get a very good look tonight why that is.
(Here's a small highlight reel just in case he blows though)
I can't stress how rare it is to have these two playing against each other for a national championship.
More remarkable: Paul Skenes will pitch tonight.
Paul Skenes is a monster. 209 strikeouts in 122.2 innings for a 15.3/9 ratio. He averages 11 strikeouts per start. The junior is guaranteed to take the mound 4 days after throwing 120 pitches to shut down Wake Forest and force the Tigers to the National Championship series.
He's not entirely rested, but I'll guarantee he skipped his bullpen this week to be ready tonight. There's almost no chance he throws another meaningful pitch until next spring, no matter who drafts him and what the circumstance is.
Paul Skenes is the biggest draft pitching prospect since maybe Stephen Strasburg. He's as sure as sure gets and whoever drafts him will be shutting him down regardless of how many he throws tonight. I don't think there's any pressure from anyone outside LSU baseball for Paul Skenes to take it easy tonight.
And if Jay Johnson is willing to let him go 240+ in a 5-day window, then who is going to stop Paul from taking the mound in the 4th or 5th inning tonight and letting it ride? Definitely not Jay Johnson.
Which brings me back to Skenes.
He didn't leave the Air Force Academy and those tremendous relationships with his peers to go to LSU and watch the Tigers lose a game 3. This is exactly why he left Air Force. He was going to be a top pick anyways. He went down to Baton Rouge to maximize his potential and the experience and now he's there. Elbow health be damned. He's here to beat the Tigers and this is where I remind everyone: Nobody on Florida has seen Paul Skenes.
Not this tournament. Not in the SEC tourney. Not in the regular season or last year.
That's a terrifying consideration.
And it's why the Tigers are "heavy" favorites -157 at time of publishing. And I say HEAVY because it's actually not that big. But substantial enough considering the Gators won yesterday 24-4.
He said twenty four to four.
I think it's closer to a coin flip. I know that's meatbally but it's true. I think Florida is the smart play if you want to consider everything. No disrespect to the Tigers I just don't understand -157 spread right now.
If you want to follow the same logic, parlay the Gators with the Under and hold on to your butt cheeks. Everything about this says tight game down the stretch with a huge moment. There's really no other way to finish the tournament.
Small Gambling pick 1: LSU -157 too juicy, lean into Florida Gators +120
Larger Play: Under 9.5 -124
Lots of tight cheeks out there tonight.
PS - even with a small lean on the Gators, I'm all Geaux Tigers in my heart. The biggest fanbase. The most generous people in Omaha this summer. The best vibes and camaraderie by far. I can't stress that enough. If college baseball could get another 5 or 6 fanbases rolling like LSU then we're on to something here.