Sports

College World Series: Which Conference Will Win It All?

The top four teams in the SEC and ACC compete in a historic baseball battle …

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As the 77th Men’s College World Series (CWS) baseball tournament continues this weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, many native South Carolinians are struggling to find a team to pull for – seeing as neither of the state’s top two universities, Clemson or the University of South Carolina – have a shot at winning a national championship this year.

South Carolina’s 2-0 shutout at the hands of James Madison in the regional round of the tournament – which led to the firing of head coach Mark Kingston – and Clemson’s brutal 11-10 super regional loss in a five hour, thirteen-inning game against Florida, demolished any state representation in Omaha.

And prior to getting bounced by Florida, Clemson defeated 2016 national champion Coastal Carolina.

However, both Clemson and USC fans have the opportunity to cheer for teams representing their college’s conferences – the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) – which have been rivals for decades.

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Clemson vs. Georgia on April 18, 2023. (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Despite the Gamecocks (SEC) and the Tigers (ACC) being each other’s in-state and conference rivals, South Carolina was actually a part of the ACC – winning its lone football championship in the conference back in 1969. The Gamecocks left the ACC in 1971, however, and would spend the next two decades as a football independent before joining the powerful SEC in 1992.

As for Clemson, a founding member of the ACC, its future with the conference remains uncertain.

As of right now, though, both universities continue to be conference rivals heading into this tournament’s matchups – supporting four teams (eight total) from each conference as they target a national title.

The main question – which conference will come out on top?

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According to the CWS power rankings, the SEC holds the top three teams with the best odds – starting with the Tennessee Volunteers, the Texas A&M Aggies and the Kentucky Wildcats.

All three teams won their first CWS games on Friday and Saturday – giving them an early edge on the field. However, each team won their first game by only one run – a reminder of how hard it is to gain the upper hand in Omaha.

So while the SEC has the early edge, Sunday’s games could shift the momentum back to the ACC.

Enjoying the best record in all of college baseball during the regular season and capturing an SEC championship, No.1 Tennessee (+250) is favored to win it all after dominating Evansville 12-1 in game three of the super regional tournament (even after losing to the underdog in game two).

Texas A&M (+300) heads to Omaha as the second favorite pick after a 15-9 super regional victory over Oregon, followed by the Kentucky Wildcats (+500), who bested Oregon State 3-2.

While the SEC holds the top three picks, the ACC’s North Carolina Tarheels (+700) are placed at number four with the Florida State Seminoles (+800) and the Virginia Cavaliers (+1000) at picks five and six, leaving the seventh pick to the Florida Gators (+1400) and the eighth pick to the NC State Wolfpack (+1500).

The conference rivalry for a national championship began on Friday with the Tarheels facing the Cavaliers at 2 p.m. ET at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on ESPN.

Here’s the schedule for the remaining games …

June 16

June 17

June 18

  • Game 9: TBD vs. TBD, 2 p.m. | ESPN
  • Game 10: TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. | ESPN

June 19

  • Game 11: TBD vs. TBD, 2 p.m. | ESPN
  • Game 12: TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. | ESPN

June 20

  • Game 13 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD, 2 p.m. | TBD
  • Game 14 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. | TBD

June 22

  • MCWS Final Game 1: TBD vs. TBD, 7:30 p.m. | ESPN

June 23

  • MCWS Final Game 2: TBD vs. TBD, 2 p.m. | ABC

June 24

  • MCWS Final Game 3 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD, 7 p.m. | ESPN

The championship series begins Saturday, June 22, 2024. Stay tuned for more updates on which teams advance and the schedule.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Erin Parrott (Provided)

Erin Parrott is a Greenville, S.C. native who graduated from J. L. Mann High School in 2021. She is currently a rising senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in broadcast journalism. Got feedback or a tip for Erin? Email her here.

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1 comment

JustSomeGuy Top fan June 17, 2024 at 3:35 pm

Cheering for another team because it’s in your conference is something that losers do.

Reply

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