The School: Florida State University was founded as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River in 1851. Then in 1905 became the Florida State College for Women thanks to the Buckman Act. After WWII and the GI Bill reintroduced vets into civilian life, the FSCW became FSU. Currently, it has 32,000 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate and professional school students.
Its colors are Garnet (not red, maroon, crimson, or scarlet. It’s a big hubbub with Nike) & Gold. The motto is Vires, Artes, Mores (Strength, Skill, Character).
*Fun Fact: I have two degrees from FSU and my wife went to Medical School there, so I begged Andrew to let me write this one.
**Less Fun Fact: Andrew made me put up this disclaimer:
FSU, who has never won a title under the 80 some odd years of Coach Martin’s stewardship, will surely be the sentimental favorite, as Martin is on his retirement tour. As such, they will go two and que, as life’s not a Disney movie, Santa is bullshit, and your childhood dog did not go to that farm...
We call him “11” but he’s right.
Location: Tallahassee, the capital city of Florida, designated so when the British owned East and West Florida and wanted a central meeting point between Pensacola and St. Augustine. It’s impossible to get to and a geographical oddity- two and a half hours from everywhere
The Mascot: The Seminoles. To some it’s controversial to others it’s tired. Here’s an article to help form your opinion. Interesting tidbit: When the mascot was being chosen, there is some hearsay to suggest “Tarpons” or “Manatees” were considered.
Record: 41-21, 17-13 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
How’d they get here? After a sub-par season, they were one of the Last Four into the tournament- most likely on the strength of legendary coach, Mike Martin’s, career. As a 3-seed, the first in school history, they ran through the Athens Regional and defeated LSU in Baton Rouge 2-0, the last game going into 12 innings.
Best win: Either sweeping Georgia in the Regionals or LSU in the Supers. The Noles regular season was defined by mediocre play against Top 100 teams going 15-18 and padding stats against weaker opponents, going 21-3 against any team outside the Top 100 RPI.
Most embarrassing loss: Pick one. The 9th, 10th, or 11th loss in a row to UF. Dropping two to BC (they play baseball?). Perhaps March 7, at home against UCF. April 2 at home against Jacksonville or maybe May 7 at home against JU again? The May 8, combined no hitter at Stetson was the real nadir of the season, though.
Most terrifying batter: Jr. 3B Drew Mendoza. He’s a 6’5 230lbs lefty who had the game winner against LSU to put the Noles in the CWS. He’s batting .319 on the season with 1.104 OPS. He has 16 dongs but 69 strikeouts, however, he is walked equally as much. The Nationals took him the third round because of his bat. He’s a patient hitter with a lot of pop.
Best pitcher: CJ Van Eyk. He’s a 6’1” 205lb righty who likes to strike people out. The sophomore is the Noles second starter but the best performer this year. He has a 3.8 ERA with 120 K’s. His most impressive performances were the last two. Against Georgia he threw 8.0 innings with three earned runs with nine strike outs and nine hits. In the final against LSU, he threw 7.1 with four earned runs (two of which came when he was run back out there for no good reason) and and five strike outs.
Best name: McGuire Weaver. A five foot nothing, 100-nothing freshman whose parents were like, “let’s pick a name that sounds great over a PA system ‘Now batting, McGuire Weaver’ ... or a reality show host about home remodeling.”
Best NCAA Tournament result: Three championship game appearances- ‘70 (USCw), ‘86 (Arizona), ‘99 (Miami). After the Super Regional system was put into place, Mike Martin had trouble reaching the CWS, usually losing to UF, but bounced back starting in 2008.
When would we have to face them? Only in the CWS finals if they get through Michigan, Texas Tech, and Arkansas. They’re on the other side of the bracket.
Should Vanderbilt Be Scared? Nope. To paraphrase Assistant Coach Mike Martin Jr on the Jeff Cameron Show 3-6 on 97.9 ESPN Radio in Tallahassee, “This team will hit a lot of home runs. It will strike out a lot, too.” Probably explains the feast or famine nature of this ball club.
Should Tim Corbin Be Scared? Double Nope. 11 is a great man and has shepherded FSU to 40 straight seasons of 40 wins or more. But he doesn’t have a National Title. Corbin has a ring, and plans on adding more so he can be the Thanos of College Baseball. I am definitely not putting a reverse jinx on this. Definitely not doing that.