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The 2024 College World Series is another ACC-SEC Challenge.

For the first time in history, the CWS has all eight teams from just two conferences, which are easily considered the best baseball leagues in the country.

The ACC entrants are Carolina, Virginia, Florida State and N.C. State. The SEC is sending Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Florida, which is making its third consecutive trip to Omaha.

If the ACC-SEC Challenge sounds familiar, it exists in men’s and women’s basketball, which annually produces some hard fought and intense matchups.

There is another angle, as the ACC may lose at least one of its participants to the SEC in the next round of conference realignment. Florida State is in the midst of lawsuits with the ACC over the Grant of Rights of television revenues; Carolina and Virginia are regularly mentioned as possible future members of either the Big Ten or the SEC, neither of which has a presence and TV exposure in the Tar Heel State or The Commonwealth.

A year ago, the ACC had two teams make it to the CWS (Virginia and Wake Forest) and the SEC three (Tennessee, Florida and LSU, with the Bengal Tigers beating the Gators in the best-of-three for LSU’s seventh national championship).

There are usually representatives from the Big 12 and the Pac 12, and this year Oregon State lost in the Super Regionals, which could turn out to be the last official contest played by the Pac 12, which loses 10 members to realignment beginning next season.

And the eight-team brackets could have swung more in favor of the ACC or SEC, with Clemson losing at home to Florida and Georgia losing at home to N.C. State in the finals of two Super Regionals.

Two intra-conference games are paired with Carolina facing Virginia in the opening Bracket 1 Friday at 2 pm on ESPN and Texas A&M and Florida playing in Bracket 2 at 4 pm on Saturday. It is a double-elimination tournament with the winners of the two brackets facing off in that best-of three series next weekend.

In their three-game series in Charlottesville during the ACC regular season, the Cavaliers won the first two games, 14-11 and 7-2, while the Tar Heels won the third game 12-7 on their way to the outright conference championship.

For the eighth time since the current format was introduced in 1999, seven No. 1 seeds from the 16 regionals advanced to Omaha, the Tar Heels among them, which is slightly better than the average of six No. 1s advancing. Florida, a No. 3 seed, is the only exception.

Conversely, 2007 saw just three No. 1 seeds in Omaha — a 21-year low-mark. Oregon State became the first 3-seed under the current format to win a national title that year, beating top-seeded Carolina in the finals for the second straight season.


Featured image via Associated Press/Nati Harnik

Art Chansky is a veteran journalist who has written ten books, including best-sellers “Game Changers,” “Blue Bloods,” and “The Dean’s List.” He has contributed to WCHL for decades, having made his first appearance as a student in 1971. His “Sports Notebook” commentary airs daily on the 97.9 The Hill WCHL and his “Art’s Angle” opinion column runs weekly on Chapelboro. does not charge subscription fees, and you can directly support our efforts in local journalism here. Want more of what you see on Chapelboro? Let us bring free local news and community information to you by signing up for our newsletter.