The road to Omaha is officially underway as College World Series action begins this afternoon.
The Oklahoma Sooners and Texas A&M Aggies kick off the tournament at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time) from Charles Schwab Field Omaha, followed by Notre Dame against top favorite Texas in the night cap at 6 p.m. ET.
Saturday's games features Arkansas against fellow co-favorite Stanford in early action, while two SEC rivals in Auburn and Ole Miss.
Here's how the latest consensus odds stack up ahead of this weekend's games.
College World Series Odds (as of Friday, June 17)
- Stanford +450
- Texas +450
- Notre Dame +550
- Arkansas +550
- Texas A&M +550
- Auburn +700
- Oklahoma +950
- Ole Miss +950
While oddsmakers have their methods and analysis, here's how I rank the last eight teams standing heading into the full double-elimination round.
College World Series Baseball Power Rankings
1. Stanford +450
Stanford comes in as the No. 2 ranked team in the country, but made their lives considerably more difficult with ace Alex Williams losing back-to-back starts. They eventually came back to take the final two games vs. UConn after falling 13-12 in Game 1.
Their offense is legit, led by future top MLB prospect Brock Jones, but if their pitching returns to form, this is the most talented team in the tournament.
2. Texas +450
Texas won eight of nine games to end the season before losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. They've overcome moments where they've been down, including coming back down 7-2 vs. East Carolina to win 9-8 to keep their CWS hopes alive.
The Longhorns are favorites against Notre Dame in Game 1 with left-hander Pete Hansen on the mound, and between Hansen and Game 2 starter Lucas Gordon, they should take control early against the Irish.
3. Arkansas +550
Arkansas has a tough draw vs. Stanford, but this is a team with good starting pitching and a lights out bullpen; ranking top 20 in ERA.
If Game 1 starter Connor Noland can outduel Williams on the bump, they have a terrific chance of stealing the series in double elimination.
4. Oklahoma +950
The Sooners took home the Big 12 championship over rival Texas, and they can rake with the best of them. OU ranked top 20 in runs scored and have two big bats in their lineup with Peyton Graham (20 HR) along with Tanner Tredaway, Jimmy Crooks and Blake Robertson.
With an over/under of 10.5, heavily juiced to the over, they'll need starter Jake Bennett to come up big vs. A&M.
5. Ole Miss +950
Perhaps no team is as hot as Ole Miss with their pitching; shutting out a dangerous Southern Mississippi team 15-0 in their last two games.
They also have first baseman Tim Elko, who's nickname, "The Legend," has held up. He's hitting .500 with 10 RBI and 3 HR so far in the run to Omaha.
6. Notre Dame +550
I saw in Noah Bieniek's CWS notes that the Longhorns are amongst the best teams in College Baseball this year vs. left-handed pitching. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, starter John Michael Bertrand is a southpaw.
Even so, if he gets going, he's one of the best in college baseball, compiling a 2.69 ERA with 107 strikeouts in 103.2 IP this season.
7. Texas A&M +550
The Aggies' offense is on fire with 32 runs over their last three ballgames. Their lineup is considerably deep; scoring 450 runs on the season.
Their slight underdogs Friday afternoon vs. Oklahoma, but if their bats come alive, they're good enough to knock off anybody.
8. Auburn +700
Sonny DiChiara is an on-base machine; getting on at a .560 clip this season; best in all of College Baseball. He also blasted 22 home runs on the season.
Ole Miss may decide to not give the big fella anything to hit on Saturday night, so it will be up to their reliable bullpen to keep them in the game.
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