Tim Corbin has every reason — or at least five of them — to think that Florida is the best college baseball team in the country. And he does.
Vanderbilt’s coach, however, is not ready to guarantee the Gators will win the best-of-three College World Series championship series, which begins Monday in Omaha, Neb.
For the first time in 13 years, teams from the same conference — Florida and South Carolina — will face off for the title. Florida won the SEC tournament championship, but South Carolina, the 2010 national champion, won two of three head-to-head during the regular season. Friday, the Gamecocks set an NCAA record with their 14th straight NCAA Tournament victory.
Corbin’s Commodores played those teams a combined 10 times this season (Vanderbilt was 2-2 against South Carolina), which gives him a unique insight into the matchup.
“I think Florida, from a physical standpoint, is the best team that we’ve seen, by far, and not just because they gave us five of our 12 losses,” Corbin said. “They are. There’s a lot of Major Leaguers on that pitching staff. There’s a lot of Major Leaguers floating around on the field, positionally.
“The thing that South Carolina has over them is just the experience of being in the championship round. South Carolina is a very dangerous team mentally. They think that they can do anything. Quite frankly, they might be able to do it.”
What no one will do, he figures, is repeat the SEC’s performance in this year’s CWS. Vanderbilt won two games and made the SEC the first conference in the event’s history to have three of the final four teams. All three were from the same division — the SEC East — and shared the regular-season conference title.
“You won’t have three teams from one division like that,” Corbin said. “That’s tough to do. That, to me, is an anomaly that will be tough to do again.”