For those of you who have read this column over the last seven years, you know that I love to make predictions. And this column will be full of predictions for the Road to Omaha that started Friday.
But, first, I have a funny story to tell you.
The title for this column comes from Jack Norworth’s famous baseball song “Take Me out to the Ball Game.” But the idea came from a story that was told to me by my (our) good friend Johnathan “Cousin” Eddy.
Cousin Eddy and I were riding to work in Diamondhead on the coast Wednesday when he told me one of the funniest stories I have ever heard. It’s even above the time he forgot to put on socks when we went to cover the South Jones at West Harrison football game a few years back.
Cousin Eddy had heard about people putting peanuts in their Coke and drinking the concoction and eating the peanuts when they came down the neck of the bottle. So, he decided to give it a try.
For whatever reason, Cousin Eddy didn’t know that people were using shelled peanuts in their Cokes, so he bought a small yellow bag of peanuts in the shell and a 20-ounce bottle of Coke.
“I shoved as many of them in there as I could,” said Cousin Eddy. “And I started drinking my Coke. But, the more I drank, the more I noticed the crap from the shell that was in my mouth with each swallow.
“I couldn’t understand why people actually liked drinking their Coke with crap like this in it. I just thought these people were weird,” Cousin Eddy said.
Halfway through his story, I started laughing. I laughed so hard that my cheeks began to hurt and my stomach did as well. I laughed for a good two to three minutes while, and after, he told me the story.
Like Larry The Cable Guy says after a lot of his jokes … “that’s funny right there.”
Maybe one day Cousin Eddy will try putting some shelled peanuts in a Coke and give it another try — because it is pretty damn good. Just don’t put any Cracker Jack in there, Cousin.
Anyway, it’s now time for predictions on the road to Omaha.
For the Mississippi Big 3, some of you (those in Maroon and White) will like what I have to say, while the fans of the other two schools in the Magnolia State most likely will not.
I am picking State to go to the College World Series. Period.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles likely will win a game in the Baton Rouge Regional (maybe two), but it won’t be enough to get past host LSU. I think the Eagles will have lost their opener against Arizona State on Friday, but will bounce back with a win over Stony Brook today (Saturday). Most likely, if this is the case, the Eagles will play ASU again and the outcome could go either way. However, I don’t see USM or ASU taking down LSU in Alex Box Stadium.
In Oxford, the Rebel Bear Sharks (baby shark doo, doo, doo…) will get past Jacksonville State in the opener before falling to Illinois today. The Rebel Bear Sharks will bounce back to eliminate Clemson before beating Illinois in a rematch on Sunday. However, in the winner-take-all meeting between the RBS and Illinois, the Fighting Illini will be moving on while the baby-blue-jersey-clad crew will stay in Oxford as Illinois travels on to Fayetteville, Ark. for the Super Regionals.
Along with the Fighting Illini, I have Creighton, Dallas Baptist, Texas A&M, N.C. State, U.C. Santa Barbara and Tennessee all coming out of their regionals after taking down the respective No. 1 seeds.
In the rest of the regionals, I went with the chalk (the No. 1 seeds).
As far as Super Regionals go, I have UCLA, Dallas Baptist, Arkansas, Georgia, Vanderbilt, N.C. State, Miss. State and Tennessee all advancing to the CWS.
It will be tough for Miss. State, but I like the Dawgs to advance to the CWS championship series after knocking out heavily favored Vanderbilt.
In the finals, I am taking the Dawgs to meet up with Arkansas in an all-SEC final (the third time in the last nine tourneys).
The Hogs will have their hands full with overall No. 1 seed UCLA, but I feel like the Hogs are hungry after falling in the championship series last year to Oregon State.
This time around, the Hogs get back to the title game but, once again, fall, this time to SEC West brethren Miss. State.
So, take us out to the ball game. Buy us some peanuts (the shelled ones) and some Cracker Jack. But only put the peanuts (the shelled ones) in your Coke.
Now, let’s geaux Dawgs.
Guru Nichols is former sports editor of the Leader-Call.