Commentary

The importance of winning Game 1

History tells us that South Carolina is in strong position to repeat

Updated: June 28, 2011, 5:50 PM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine
South CarolinaAP Photo/Eric FrancisSouth Carolina has now won 15 straight NCAA tournament games, and will clinch another title if it wins No. 16 tonight.

Which way will Mo go? And does it even matter?

These were the questions posed to the head coaches of Florida and South Carolina on Monday night, after a crisply played, did-you-see-that nail-biter of a College World Series championship series game. It was a contest during which the two SEC East rivals played tug-o-war with momentum for more than three and a half hours. The slugfest finally ended with a gigantic swing in the direction of the Gamecocks, a bizarre double-error that gave up the winning run in the top of the 11th.

The team in white was left staring in disbelief, heads hung low as it watched the team in gray lined up for chest bumps and high fives following a 2-1 victory. It all seemed pretty obvious. At least to everyone but the coaches, neither of whom wanted to hear any talk about the advantages and disadvantages of being the Game 1 winner or loser, and both of whom all but rolled their eyes at talk of Big Mo.

Ryan McGee | email

ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR