When the Oregon State Beavers defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2018 College World Series championship series, it was yet another season that ended with an SEC team in the hunt right down to the final at bat.
Looking back over the past ten seasons, it’s fair to make the assumption that the SEC is the power conference of College World Series lore. Looking at a small sample size, since 2009, five SEC schools have won the national championship — LSU in 2009, South Carolina twice in 2010 and 2011, Vanderbilt in 2014, and Florida in 2017 — while six more have finished as the national runners-up. In fact, there have been two all-SEC showdowns in the College World Series finals over that span, with South Carolina taking down Florida in 2011 and Florida defeating LSU two years ago.
While the SEC has dominated recent CWS history, that’s not always how it’s been in Omaha. With many a national champion hailing from the West Coast, let’s look back at the 72 years of College World Series history and take a look at the conferences most represented in Omaha.
(*using current conference membership only via the official NCAA CWS record books)
101 — Pac-12
This probably isn’t too much of a surprise if you follow the history of college baseball closely. Four of the current members of the Pac-12 — Southern California, Arizona State, Arizona, and Stanford — are in the top six in wins in College World Series history.
Those four schools have combined for 23 championships alone, while Oregon State, California, and UCLA have all won at least one as well. The Beavers added six more wins to the conference’s legacy last season, and the 267 combined victories are second to none by a large margin. No other conference has more than 180 wins or 20 national titles, putting the Pac-12 in a league of its own.
99 — SEC
The SEC has taken over Omaha the past few decades. Wrap your head around this. Since 1990, the SEC has sent three or more teams to the College World Series nine times. A conference has sent four teams to the CWS just four times in its history, and the SEC has accounted for three of them, most recently in 2015 when the Razorbacks, Gators, Tigers, and Commodores headed to Omaha. Current members have accounted for 12 titles (the SEC can claim 11 total using actual conference membership at the time of the championship), with LSU’s six leading the way. With the Razorbacks runner-up finish in 2018, it gave the SEC 18 in total, the most in CWS history.
94 — ACC
The ACC was the other conference to be represented in the College World Series by four teams. It pulled it off in 2006 when Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, and North Carolina made it to Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. Miami and Florida State are both in the top 5 in history in appearances at the College World Series with 25 and 22 respectively — with a Miami vs. Florida State showdown in the 1999 College World Series finals — while current members of the ACC have accounted for six titles. Perhaps not shockingly, the ACC’s 147 wins are also third-most.
78 — Big 12
Texas is the name to know here, as its 35 appearances in Omaha (the Longhorns also had another in Wichita, Kansas before the CWS moved to Rosenblatt Stadium) are the most in College World Series history. Though Texas has won six titles, only two have come as members of the official Big 12, the only two championships the current conference can boast with members active at the time of victory. Oklahoma State joins Texas as one of just six schools to make 20 or more appearances in the College World Series, so the Big 12’s high total shouldn’t be too surprising.
28 — Big Ten
It’s quite the drop to the conference that has made the fifth-most appearances in CWS history. Out of those 28 appearances, however, the Big Ten has won six national titles with Minnesota (three) and Michigan (two) leading the way, which is tied for the third-most all-time using actual conference membership per season. Nine Big Ten teams have combined for 54 wins all-time in Omaha.
26 — Big West
The Big West has sent five teams to the College World Series, racking up 47 wins during their time in Omaha. Legendary head coach Augie Garrido made Cal State Fullerton, winners of four national championships, the cream of the crop here, but this conference is loaded with national title winners, in a manner of speaking. UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and CSUN all won two titles apiece in NCAA Division II baseball before jumping to DI.
16 — American Athletic Conference
While the AAC is still young as a conference, four of its current programs have reached the college baseball mecca. Wichita State is the only active member to ever reach the top of the baseball world, winning its lone national championship in the 1989 CWS finals over Texas. The Shockers won their title as members of the MVC, so the AAC is still searching for its first official College World Series national championship in college baseball.
Best of the rest:
Both the Big East and Western Athletic Conference have made it to Omaha 11 times. While the Big East has racked up 10 wins and the WAC 5, neither has claimed a national championship amongst its current members. The Missouri Valley has sent four teams for a total of nine appearances in its CWS history. The America East, Ivy, Conference USA, and Patriot have all made eight appearances, but are all still searching for their first national championship.
Gone, but not forgotten:
Nine schools that no longer have baseball programs combined to make 12 appearances in Omaha while six schools that are no longer DI made eight.
It is important to mention that some of the 72 college baseball national championship seasons belong to conferences that no longer exist. The California Intercollegiate Baseball Association — the original home of college baseball powers like USC, California, and Stanford — led the way, winning six titles while it was active, with both the Big Eight — the original home to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — and Southwest — where Texas became a College World Series regular — grabbing four apiece. The Southern California Baseball Association was a baseball-only conference where Cal State Fullerton won its 1979 and 1984 titles. Five independent schools won titles in Omaha.
Here’s a complete list of college baseball national champions:
|2018||Oregon State (55-12-1)||Pat Casey||5-0||Arkansas||Omaha, Neb.|
|2017||Florida (52-19)||Kevin O’Sullivan||6-1||LSU||Omaha, Neb.|
|2016||Coastal Carolina (55-18)||Gary Gilmore||4-3||Arizona||Omaha, Neb.|
|2015||Virginia (44-24)||Brian O’Connor||4-2||Vanderbilt||Omaha, Neb.|
|2014||Vanderbilt (51-21)||Tim Corbin||3-2||Virginia||Omaha, Neb.|
|2013||* UCLA (49-17)||John Savage||8-0||Mississippi State||Omaha, Neb.|
|2012||* Arizona (48-17)||Andy Lopez||4-1||South Carolina||Omaha, Neb.|
|2011||* South Carolina (55-14)||Ray Tanner||5-2||Florida||Omaha, Neb.|
|2010||South Carolina (54-16)||Ray Tanner||2-1 (11 inn.)||UCLA||Omaha, Neb.|
|2009||LSU (56-17)||Paul Mainieri||11-4||Texas||Omaha, Neb.|
|2008||Fresno State (47-31)||Mike Batesole||6-1||Georgia||Omaha, Neb.|
|2007||* Oregon State (49-18)||Pat Casey||9-3||North Carolina||Omaha, Neb.|
|2006||Oregon State (50-16)||Pat Casey||3-2||North Carolina||Omaha, Neb.|
|2005||* Texas (56-16)||Augie Garrido||6-2||Florida||Omaha, Neb.|
|2004||Cal St. Fullerton (47-22)||George Horton||3-2||Texas||Omaha, Neb.|
|2003||Rice (58-12)||Wayne Graham||14-2||Stanford||Omaha, Neb.|
|2002||* Texas (57-15)||Augie Garrido||12-6||South Carolina||Omaha, Neb.|
|2001||* Miami (Fla.) (53-12)||Jim Morris||12-1||Stanford||Omaha, Neb.|
|2000||* LSU (52-17)||Skip Bertman||6-5||Stanford||Omaha, Neb.|
|1999||* Miami (Fla.) (50-13)||Jim Morris||6-5||Florida State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1998||Southern California (49-17)||Mike Gillespie||21-14||Arizona State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1997||* LSU (57-13)||Skip Bertman||13-6||Alabama||Omaha, Neb.|
|1996||* LSU (52-15)||Skip Bertman||9-8||Miami (Fla.)||Omaha, Neb.|
|1995||* Cal St. Fullerton (57-9)||Augie Garrido||11-5||Southern California||Omaha, Neb.|
|1994||* Oklahoma (50-17)||Larry Cochell||13-5||Georgia Tech||Omaha, Neb.|
|1993||LSU (53-17-1)||Skip Bertman||8-0||Wichita State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1992||* Pepperdine (48-11-1)||Andy Lopez||3-2||Cal St. Fullerton||Omaha, Neb.|
|1991||* LSU (55-18)||Skip Bertman||6-3||Wichita State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1990||Georgia (52-19)||Steve Webber||2-1||Oklahoma State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1989||Wichita State (68-16)||Gene Stephenson||5-3||Texas||Omaha, Neb.|
|1988||Stanford (46-23)||Mark Marquess||9-4||Arizona State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1987||Stanford (53-17)||Mark Marquess||9-5||Oklahoma State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1986||Arizona (49-19)||Jerry Kindall||10-2||Florida State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1985||Miami (Fla.) (64-16)||Ron Fraser||10-6||Texas||Omaha, Neb.|
|1984||Cal St. Fullerton (66-20)||Augie Garrido||3-1||Texas||Omaha, Neb.|
|1983||* Texas (66-14)||Cliff Gustafson||4-3||Alabama||Omaha, Neb.|
|1982||* Miami (Fla.) (55-17-1)||Ron Fraser||9-3||Wichita State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1981||Arizona State (55-13)||Jim Brock||7-4||Oklahoma State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1980||Arizona (45-21-1)||Jerry Kindall||5-3||Hawaii||Omaha, Neb.|
|1979||Cal St. Fullerton (60-14-1)||Augie Garrido||2-1||Arkansas||Omaha, Neb.|
|1978||* Southern California (54-9)||Rod Dedeaux||10-3||Arizona State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1977||Arizona State (57-12)||Jim Brock||2-1||South Carolina||Omaha, Neb.|
|1976||Arizona (56-17)||Jerry Kindall||7-1||Eastern Michigan||Omaha, Neb.|
|1975||Texas (59-6)||Cliff Gustafson||5-1||South Carolina||Omaha, Neb.|
|1974||Southern California (50-20)||Rod Dedeaux||7-3||Miami (Fla.)||Omaha, Neb.|
|1973||* Southern California (51-11)||Rod Dedeaux||4-3||Arizona State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1972||Southern California (47-13-1)||Rod Dedeaux||1-0||Arizona State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1971||Southern California (46-11)||Rod Dedeaux||5-2||Southern Illinois||Omaha, Neb.|
|1970||Southern California (45-13)||Rod Dedeaux||2-1 (15 inn.)||Florida State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1969||Arizona State (56-11)||Bobby Winkles||10-1||Tulsa||Omaha, Neb.|
|1968||* Southern California (43-12-1)||Rod Dedeaux||4-3||Southern Illinois||Omaha, Neb.|
|1967||Arizona State (53-12)||Bobby Winkles||11-0||Houston||Omaha, Neb.|
|1966||Ohio State (27-6-1)||Marty Karow||8-2||Oklahoma State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1965||Arizona State (54-8)||Bobby Winkles||2-0||Ohio State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1964||Minnesota (31-12)||Dick Siebert||5-1||Missouri||Omaha, Neb.|
|1963||Southern California (35-10)||Rod Dedeaux||5-2||Arizona||Omaha, Neb.|
|1962||Michigan (34-15)||Don Lund||5-4 (15 inn.)||Santa Clara||Omaha, Neb.|
|1961||* Southern California (36-7)||Rod Dedeaux||1-0||Oklahoma State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1960||Minnesota (34-7-1)||Dick Siebert||2-1 (10 inn.)||Southern California||Omaha, Neb.|
|1959||Oklahoma State (27-5)||Toby Greene||5-0||Arizona||Omaha, Neb.|
|1958||Southern California (29-3)||Rod Dedeaux||8-7 (12 inn.)||Missouri||Omaha, Neb.|
|1957||* California (35-10)||George Wolfman||1-0||Penn State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1956||Minnesota (37-9)||Dick Siebert||12-1||Arizona||Omaha, Neb.|
|1955||Wake Forest (29-7)||Taylor Sanford||7-6||Western Michigan||Omaha, Neb.|
|1954||Missouri (22-4)||John “Hi” Simmons||4-1||Rollins||Omaha, Neb.|
|1953||Michigan (21-9)||Ray Fisher||7-5||Texas||Omaha, Neb.|
|1952||Holy Cross (21-3)||Jack Barry||8-4||Missouri||Omaha, Neb.|
|1951||* Oklahoma (19-9)||Jack Baer||3-2||Tennessee||Omaha, Neb.|
|1950||Texas (27-6)||Bibb Falk||3-0||Washington State||Omaha, Neb.|
|1949||* Texas (23-7)||Bibb Falk||10-3||Wake Forest||Wichita, Kan.|
|1948||Southern California (26-4)||Sam Barry||9-2||Yale||Kalamazoo, Mich.|
|1947||* California (31-10)||Clint Evans||8-7||Yale||Kalamazoo, Mich.|
*Indicates undefeated teams in College World Series play.