In the words of Vince Carter, “it’s over.”

When Brandon Neely recorded the last out of Florida’s victory against NC State — because why wouldn’t he — it ended the ACC-SEC Challenge in Omaha.

Wait, what? How is that possible when there’s so much baseball left in the College World Series, including an ACC team guaranteed to make the semifinals? And what happens if Florida State or UNC knocks off Tennessee twice and beats an SEC team from the other side of the bracket to claim a national title?

Sure, the ACC can still have the last team standing in Omaha. That’s on the table. If that happens, it’ll mark the first time a non-SEC team won it all since 2018 Oregon State. A flex? You bet. In that scenario, an individual ACC team will get bragging rights over the SEC, but not the entire ACC conference.

The SEC-ACC Challenge, which began with 4 SEC teams and 4 ACC teams, currently sits at 4-0 in favor of the SEC. With Florida’s elimination-game win against NC State, it’s now a guarantee that the SEC will have 3 of the 4 semifinal teams with at least 1 team guaranteed a spot in the CWS final.

Pitching to Jac Caglianone in a pivotal spot proved to be detrimental to the ACC’s chances of getting the last laugh in Omaha. Imagine that.

I suppose you could say the same thing about pitching to Christian Moore, who tagged Florida State for the first CWS cycle since 1956.

Related: Looking to stay on top of all the College World Series action? SDS has you covered with its CWS homepage!

Oh, but wait! I’m supposed to mention how there’s a conspiracy theory for the SEC to win titles because of the Blake Burke check swing that didn’t go in FSU’s favor. Seminole fans/anti-SEC fans want everyone to know that the opening night game was fixed and it was always going to come down to a 50-50 call that would go in favor of the SEC champ.


To be clear, a 4-0 advantage is lopsided. Those ACC-SEC games, however, weren’t that. Tennessee and Florida had opening-round walk-off winners while Florida’s aforementioned victory Monday was a 1-run game. The only true dominant SEC performance against ACC competition came when the Vols stormed past UNC 6-1 to earn a spot in the semifinals.

Speaking of those semifinals, the SEC is now competing against itself. This will mark the 4th time that the SEC sent 3 teams to the semifinals:

  • 2011 — South Carolina, Florida, Vanderbilt
  • 2018 — Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi State
  • 2022 — Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arkansas
  • 2024 — Tennessee, TBD, TBD

In 2011, South Carolina and Florida battled for the title. That’s the only instance in which the SEC had 3 semifinal teams and both CWS final teams. In other words, that’s the new bar for the SEC in 2024.

Of course, teams play games, not conferences.

But when the SEC earned a record 11 bids to the NCAA Tournament, the conversation centered around the conference. There was skepticism that the SEC was worthy of that kind of benefit of the doubt. Much of that centered on a Florida team that went 13-17 in conference play and was 1 game above .500 thanks to a series victory at Georgia to close the regular season.

You could argue Florida’s bid if you choose, but it’s hard to argue the “they don’t belong” point when the Gators still have life in Omaha. By the way, in addition to winning that series at eventual-Super Regional host Georgia, they beat Regional host Oklahoma State twice, they beat Super Regional host Clemson twice and they eliminated an NC State squad that seemed dead set on avenging its COVID-related elimination from the 2021 CWS semifinal.

It’s a tough look for the anti-SEC crowd when the conference’s 11th-best team does that in the postseason.

It’s strange to think that at one point in the postseason, the anti-SEC narrative actually a little life. This tweet from Pat Forde came on Saturday of the Regional round.

Also of note: The SEC still sent 5 teams to the Super Regionals and was a Georgia victory from putting a record 5 teams in Omaha.

Get your shots in where you can with SEC baseball. It’s a tough business to be invested in these days.

What feels more and more likely is that for the 5th consecutive College World Series, a different SEC team will win it all. The 4 teams that went to Omaha in 2024 were all different than the 4 that won it all dating to Vandy in 2019.

I suppose that UNC or FSU could prevent it from being a historic year for the SEC. In a CWS that’s been loaded with thrillers, it’d be foolish to dismiss that possibility, as well as the possibility that an ACC team emerges victorious in the ever-competitive Jell-O shot battle at Rocco’s.

As for the ACC-SEC challenge that dominated headlines entering the week, treat that like a baseball trying to get by Caglianone — kiss it goodbye.