With the Cup standings still quite close, the results of the baseball and softball tournaments could alter the final point totals enough to deny the current leaders -- Ohio State (men's) and Stanford (women's) -- the Cups that were won last year by Notre Dame and Florida, respectively.
Neither Ohio State nor Stanford is involved in the 2015 baseball/softball tournaments.
UCLA, runner-up to Ohio State in the men's standings, is the top seed in the 64-team NCAA baseball tournament. If the Bruins live up to that assessment, they will pass Ohio State and could snare the Capital One Cup. Florida, second to Stanford in the Capital One standings, is the defending national softball champion and is the highest seed in the tournament field of eight that begins competition Thursday in Oklahoma City. Another championship will result in a second straight Cup.
Another position of prominence belongs to Winfield, the baseball Hall of Famer who emerged from the 1973 College World Series as its Most Valuable Player. Winfield, now a special assistant to Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark, also serves as a spokesman for the Capital One Cup. He will be in Omaha for the CWS, which begins June 13.
"It's a great event," Winfield said Wednesday morning. "You see a lot of good baseball and players you're going to see in the big leagues soon. "It's a big event, too. A lot of schools. Fans can get a look at it. You can follow it on Twitter and Facebook."
Who better than Winfield to promote the CWS and to represent the Capital One Cup?
Winfield played basketball as well as baseball for the University of Minnesota, so had the Cup competition existed in the '70s, the former Padres and Yankees slugger might have helped two Gophers teams amass points.
Winfield didn't play college football, but the Minnesota Vikings thought enough of his size, strength and athleticism to use their 17th-round pick in the 1973 NFL Draft to select him. He was also drafted by the Atlanta Hawks (NBA), the Utah Stars (ABA) and the San Diego Padres that year.
"I wasn't going to play basketball in college," Winfield said. "But there were no full scholarships for baseball. They told me I could get a full free ride if I played basketball. So I did. ... That's the way it was for baseball -- half scholarships."
Winfield excelled in both sports. The University of Minnesota won the Big Ten basketball tournament during Winfield's senior year, and the Gophers' baseball team reached the Final Four on the strength of Winfield's right arm -- he was a pitcher. His pitching was such that he was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
"They let me hit only one year," Winfield said.
Winfield played the outfield -- and hit -- in the summers.
"So when I got to the big leagues two weeks after my last game in college, I had a lot to learn," he said.
And he learned. Winfield finished his 22-year career with 3,110 hits, 465 of which were home runs. He drove in 1,833 runs, scored 1,669, won seven Gold Glove Awards and received votes for the MVP Award nine times. His Hall of Fame induction came in 2001, his first year of eligibility.
Winfield readily recalls the two starts he made in the CWS, one against Oklahoma, the second against Southern Cal. He beat the Sooners, 1-0, on a one-hitter, striking out 14. Then in the semifinal round, Minnesota led 7-0 entering the ninth. Winfield had struck out 15.
"I'd thrown a lot of pitches, so they pulled me. We lost, 8-7, and were eliminated," he said. "Tough one. Heartbreaker."
Winfield will be in Omaha for the opening ceremonies and to make appearances to raise funds for baseball programs.
"College baseball deserves more," Winfield said. "It's a great game."