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Florida vs. Michigan, WCWS Championship Series, Game 1 open thread: Let's go, Gators

Florida puts its NCAA Tournament winning streak on the line against Michigan's winning streak.


It comes down to this: Florida — the No. 1 softball team in the country, the reigning national champion, the monster that has rampaged through Omaha for two years running, the squad with Lauren Haeger — against Michigan — the nation's No. 3 team, the one with the months-long winning streak, arguably the best team outside the SEC all year, the one with Sierra Romero.

Two wins to either team wins a second national championship for a program relatively new to the mountaintop of college softball. Florida only ascended last year, after all, and Michigan's 2005 triumph — the first in a best-of-three series, and the first by a team located east of the Mississippi River — wasn't so long ago.

For Florida, this is about proving it deserved all the acclaim all year, about defending a title only two other teams have ever been able to defend. For Michigan, it's about proving those two losses to the Gators — one to begin its season in Tampa, another to stunt its momentum in California, both with Monday starter Aleshia Ocasio, not postseason workhorse Haeger, on the hill — were flukes.

For us, it's going to be a whole lot of fun.

Tune in at 8 p.m. on ESPN, or on WatchESPN if you are a poor soul who can't be by a TV tonight. Feel free to wear out your hands clapping for the latest Katie Medina web gem, or the next home run Haeger sends to the stands. Maybe buy some Twizzlers, too.

But enjoy this. Competing for championships is a privilege — and though we Gators get to watch our teams do it more often than most fans do, it's always worth savoring.