What seemed like the longest college baseball season ever has finally ended with Rice taking home the title.
It was a thrilling regular season and playoff run for our Cal State Fullerton Titans.
The NCAA Tournament was a wild ride. And we here at TitanCentral.com have a few suggestions - some big, some small -- for the boys in Indianapolis to make college baseball's Big Dance a little more exciting.
So Charlie Carr and Dennis Poppe, if you're reading this:
SWEET 16: The College World Series is a great event, but it'd be even better if the best eight teams actually made it to Omaha.
That's because the likes of Florida State (hosting then- defending champ Texas), Long Beach State (at Stanford) and Arizona State (at Fullerton) got totally ripped off in their Super Regional pairings.
Yes, we're glad the NCAA seeds a Top 8, guaranteeing none of those teams meet until Omaha. But the NCAA should seed a Top 16, which would make for fair Super Regional games and better CWS match-ups.
$HOW ME THE MONEY: We at TitanCentral.com are not totally unsympathetic to the NCAA's need for greed. Profitability will always matter.
So in return for seeding a Top 16, we wouldn't mind the NCAA loosening its commendable (but unwritten) policy that the Top 8 seeds (as long as they have good facilities) always host a Super Regional - especially toward middle-of-the-pack 8-9, 7-10, 6-11 pairings, under our model.
In other words, if a No. 8 Long Beach had to travel to a No. 9 Mississippi State just to make money, so be it. That'd be better than having six Top 10 (in the polls) teams knocking each other out like in this year's Super Regionals.
Those Super Regional pairings were a total joke - a "travesty" as Sean "Spider" Martin so correctly called it in his column.
BATTING LAST: This alternating "designated home team" practice makes no sense at all. Shouldn't better seeds get the last at-bat in every game? What's the point of playing well throughout the regular season for a high seed, just to be the "designated home team" 51% of the time?
GET ON WITH IT: The best-of-3 format is great for baseball, but brutal for fans. Stanford supporters, for example, probably had to take Thursday, June 12 off from work to get to Omaha in time for Friday June 13's Game 1. They couldn't get out of town on Monday (June 23) night after the title game, so they had to spend 12 nights in Omaha.
Twelve nights in Omaha -- that just sounds exhausting.
We at TitanCentral.com, assuming the best-of-3 final format will be here for a while, want the final series to start on Friday. There's no need to take that day off, and possibly delay the end to Monday (like Stanford and Rice played to).
Even Omaha locals, who wildly support the CWS, can't handle the tournament's length. Only 18,494 came out Monday night while the 2003 CWS averaged 21,674. There shouldn't be 7,000 unsold tickets for an NCAA title game.
(Editor note: Check back in later this week when TitanCentral.com ranks the Top 10 moments of the 2003 season)