The road to Omaha starts now

College baseball has begun, what teams hold the best chances to return to Omaha?


The city of Omaha is well known for having one of the top zoos in the country, the Henry Doorly Zoo. It is also known as a big city that is smack dab in the middle of the country. For 11 months of the year this city is just like any other normal city with not many tourists, but in the month of June this city turns into the mecca of the college baseball world.

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Being a rather large city, Omaha still brings to the table that unique small town feel. The whole city is buzzing during those two weeks and really makes you feel like a rockstar as a player walking around during off time. ”

— Tim O'Conner

Back in 2013, Elder was well represented in Omaha with two players from the class of 2010. Pitcher Brian Korte and outfielder Tim O’Conner both played for the Indiana Hoosiers who made it to Omaha.

“Playing in the College World Series in Omaha was a surreal experience,” said O’Conner.

He also told me about what it took to get there, and the amount of work they put in each week.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize the hours that college athletes put in, not just during the season, but during the off season as well,” said O’Conner.  “Every week of the year we put in at least 30-40 hours of time towards baseball, so to have all that hard work pay off by being able to play in the college World Series was an unbelievable feeling.”

The experience at the College World Series is great for everyone. Having been there the year Tim and Brian played in Omaha I got a chance to experience one of the neatest fan friendly atmospheres in the world of sports.

O’Conner described how as a player this experience was for him, “Catching the final out and then jumping on the dogpile to go to the college World Series is one of the greatest and most fulfilling moments of my life.  Playing at TD Ameritrade park in front of 25,000 fans and millions of people on TV is a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Indiana on Sport center after they beat Florida State to go to Omaha
Eric Sorenson
Indiana on SportsCenter after they beat Florida State to go to Omaha

Tim talked about the goal of his team and any team in college baseball. “Reaching the CWS is obviously the goal of any college baseball team, but the road to get there is a very difficult one. You have to not only be a great team, but have some luck involved as well.”

Indiana experienced this luck a few times throughout the season, and it helped them make the College World Series making both school and Big Ten history.

Being a part of that team with that type of success and a group of guys that were and still are my best friends is what it is all about to be a college athlete. ”

— Tim O'Conner

A panorama look at TD Ameritrade
Nati Harnik of
A panoramic look at TD Ameritrade

Now as the 2016 season begins the preseason top 25 showcased a large group of teams familiar to the city of Omaha. Check out this interactive graphic I created for a full inside look on the Top 25’s appearances, and the amount of titles each school has won in the CWS.

This season looks to be just as exciting as past years. Power Conferences such as the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, and Big12 look to continue their dominance, but schools from the Big Ten, and smaller conferences have teams who could make a run in the postseason such as Michigan, Coastal Carolina, and Louisiana Lafayette, and Cal State Fullerton. Last years final eight in Omaha consisted of Florida, Vandy, Arkansas, Miami, Cal State Fullerton, TCU, Virginia, and LSU. All eight of those teams are currently ranked in the top 25.

Could there be a repeat? Could Virginia play Vanderbilt for the third straight year in the finals? Can Virginia defend their title? We will soon find out as the road to TD Ameritrade Park and Omaha has begun, and the championship trophy is waiting.