The Gamecocks' repeat bid

Jackie Bradley Jr. is back, and South Carolina has the talent to repeat. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The euphoria started when Whit Merrifield delivered the game-winning RBI with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning back on June 29, a single that clinched the South Carolina's first College World Series title. The Gamecocks spilled onto the field at Rosenblatt Stadium that night, celebrating the victory.

The euphoria carried through the summer, into parades, summer leagues and recruiting trips. It drifted into the fall, as the Gamecocks received honors and applause at a home football game. It spilled into the personal lives of the coaches and players, who received congratulations while walking across campus, shopping for groceries and pumping gas. The warm glow of the championship probably even helped keep them warm through the winter.

"We were celebrated in every venue and avenue in Columbia," coach Ray Tanner said. "But when we started spring practice, we told the players that it was a great experience, and we're going to fly that (championship) flag, but now it's time to move on."