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ACC vs SEC Showdown in the College World Series

As I’ve written throughout the past several years, I believe the College World Series is among the greatest events in all of sports.  In fact, I’ve written several articles on this topic.  These include The Case for College Baseball: Why It’s America’s Most Underrated Sports and Is the College World Series the Most Underrated Spectacle in Sports?  I believe this is still true today, as eight programs prepare to ascend to Omaha, Nebraska this week.

I have also written about the SEC’s dominance at the College World Series. Last year, LSU beat Florida for the National Championship. In fact, the past four College World Series Champions have been SEC teams (LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt).  The 2024 College World Series will include four teams (50%) representing the SEC.  These include Florida, #2 Kentucky, #1 Tennesse and #4 Texas A&M.

The other four teams come from conference in which they share territory, the ACC. Often revered for their basketball prowess, the ACC has also produced some of the most successful programs in college baseball.  This year #10 Florida State, #7 North Carolina, #12 NC State and #16 Virginia all secured spots in Omaha. The last ACC team to win it all was Virginia in 2015.

Prospects on Deck

In addition to top-tier collegiate competition, the College World Series also serves as a showcase to the MLB Draft.  This year’s draft takes place on July 14-16 in Fort Worth, Texas.  In 2023, the College World Series featured several top draft picks, including #2 Dylan Crews (Nationals), #4 Wyatt Langford (Rangers) and #1 Paul Skenes (LSU).  This year’s College World Series also features a whole slew of players who are projected to be top draft picks come July 14th.

The 2024 class is hitter heavy.  Here’s the projected First Round Picks in the upcoming MLB Draft, according to MLB Pipeline:

  • Florida: Jac Caglianone 1B/LHP –   In 2023, I wrote an article on two-way star Caglianone, calling him The Shohei of the Swamp.  He’s back for his junior year and tearing it up once again, matching his 2023 Home Run total with 33.
  • Florida State: James Tibbs, OF – The FSU slugger put up his 31st HR to put the Noles over the top in the Super Regional and sweep UConn.  He’s tied for #1 in the nation in RBIs with 100.
  • Florida State:  Cam Smith, 3B – The Seminoles offense has exploded in the NCAA tournament.  Cam Smith is a big reason behind their success.  He leads the team in Batting Average (.402) and Hits (102).
  • Tennessee:  Christian Moore, 2B/INF – Leading the most dynamic offense in the country in Hits (101), Runs (75), Home Runs (32) and RBIs (71) is no small accomplishment.  Add in a .376 Batting Average and 1.249 OPS, he’s simply one of the most dangerous hitters in the CWS.
  • Tennessee:  Billy Amick, 3B – Moore’s teammate is no slouch either. He trails right behind in Home Runs (23), RBIs (64) with a .313 Batting Average and 1.070 OPS.  He also brings the energy to the plate, getting the crowds into his walk-up some, “The Stroke” by Billy Squier.  He cites Bill LeRoy, with the Savannah Bananas, as his inspiration for this entrance.
  • North Carolina: Vance Honeycutt, OF – Considered to be one of the best defensive outfielders in the country, Honeycutt combines both power (26 HR) and speed (28 SB).  He’s the only player in ACC history to have over 50 career Home Runs and over 60 career Stolen Bases.
  • Kentucky:  Ryan Waldschmidt, OF – The Wildcats outfield continues to climb the projected draft rankings, hitting .402 in SEC play this season (.346 overall).  He’s also demonstrated both speed (24 SB) and power (14 HR) with a 1.107 OPS.

Starting today, all this talent and much more will be on display for the next week in Omaha!

Related articles about the College World Series:

Brian is the Co-Owner/Managing Editor at Legends on Deck and Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. He's been writing about baseball at LOD since 2017. He grew up in the Detroit area and is a lifelong Tigers fan. However, he shares some affinity for his son George's favorite team, the Atlanta Braves. Brian also has a particular interest in the amateur side of the game, including high school, college and collegiate summer league baseball. Brian and George also love collecting and selling baseball cards. You can find them selling on eBay (@Kossball) or posting on George's Instagram (@Kossball). Brian lives in Horizon West (Winter Garden), Florida with his wife (Grace), three daughters and son George. You can also reach him at brianmkoss@gmail.com

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