FAYETTEVILLE — The College World Series almost appears to be a preview of the future SEC.
The SEC West has four teams among the eight in Omaha, Nebraska.
Oklahoma (42-22) and Texas (47-20) are set to join the SEC by the 2026 baseball season. That leaves Stanford (47-16) and Notre Dame (40-15) as teams at the College World Series with no ties to the SEC.
Tennessee, the SEC’s regular season and tournament champion, would have made it if it had gotten past Notre Dame at the Knoxville Super Regional.
Notre Dame beat the Vols, 7-3, to advance to the College World Series. Dave Van Horn could relate to Tennessee losing in the final game of the super regional after being No. 1 virtually all season. His Hogs suffered the same fate against North Carolina State in 2021.
“I mean, it’s hard to get there,” Van Horn said. “I feel bad for them; I would have felt bad for Notre Dame if they would’ve lost. It’s tough getting this far in the season and falling one game short. It’s hard, and I’m sure they’ll be good again next year.”
Arkansas (43-19) is 5-5 against other teams in Omaha. It lost 5-0 to Stanford on February 27 in the Round Rock Classic. It lost twice in three games to Texas A&M (42-18) in College Station.
Arkansas won a road series at Auburn (42-20) winning two of the three games. It took two of three against Ole Miss (37-22) at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Texas A&M won the SEC West with a 19-11 record which was one game better than Arkansas at 18-12. Auburn was 16-14 and Ole Miss 14-16 in SEC play.
Arkansas will face Stanford at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the first round. The game will be televised on ESPN. Saturday night at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 Auburn and Ole Miss will clash.
The Arkansas-Stanford and Ole Miss-Auburn winners will play at 6 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. The Arkansas-Stanford and Ole Miss-Auburn losers will meet Monday at 1 p.m. in an elimination game also televised on ESPN.
Arkansas, Stanford, Ole Miss and Auburn are in Bracket 2. The Bracket 1 teams are Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
The winners of the two brackets will play a best two-of-three series to determine the national champion. Game 1 will be played at 6 p.m. June 25, Game 2 will be at 2 p.m. June 26. If a third game is needed it will be 6 p.m. June 27.
All three championship games will be televised on ESPN.
Brady Slavens, who delivered the walk-off single to beat North Carolina on Sunday is one Razorback who has memories of the College World Series.
“I have, yes,” Slavens said. “Being from Kansas City, it’s a short drive, and I have a picture on my phone of me and my dad. I plan on taking that again from the outfield just as a cool journey.”
Slavens did say that was the only time he has been to the College World Series.
“I think it was, like, 2013 or somewhere around there,” Slavens said. “I was just a little kid.”
Obviously Slavens is more excited about his second trip to Omaha since this time he will be a player.
“This one will be better, yeah,” Slavens said.
The action begins Friday with Texas A&M and OU at 1 p.m. and then Texas and Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Both games will be televised on ESPN.