The College World Series got its start way back in 1947, with numerous college baseball teams hoisting the championship trophy come season’s end. That lifetime has spanned across four stadium changes, three cities, and a slew of different formats.
But while there have been changes, one constant remains. Win your bracket and you’ll have a chance to compete for a CWS title.
Since 2003, the championship matchup has been a best-of-three series. Prior, the winners of each bracket competed in a winner-take-all title game.
Over the course of 75 years, there have been 31 different schools to dogpile on the tournament’s final day. Southern Cal leads the way with 12 championships while LSU and Texas come in at a tie for second with six.
But what about the teams that have been to Omaha most frequently only to see their season’s end while watching another team celebrate?
Here, we’ll break down the programs with the most CWS appearances without a title.
Which college baseball teams have the most CWS appearances without a title?
Now, it’s hard to win a college baseball championship. Not only do you have to survive a field of 64 teams, you have to battle through a round of regionals, super regionals, and finally, the College World Series.
Top seeds often go down before even reaching Omaha, as we saw in 2022 with a historic Tennessee Volunteers team. The Vols fell to Notre Dame in the supers after winning an incredible 57 games.
That defeat ended perhaps the school’s best title shot which puts them on this list of “close, but no cigar.”
The Vols have made six CWS brackets without winning a title, which ranks tied for seventh-most all-time. Tennessee made the 2023 field only to fall to LSU in Omaha.
But while those six winless UT appearances do rank near the top, there are schools who’ve had far more chances without having seen success.
At the top of the list are a pair of ACC programs.
First is Florida State, the most accomplished school to have never won a title. Prior to this season, they’d never even experienced a losing season, making a record 44-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
They’ve also hosted more regionals and super regionals than any other team in college baseball.
In total, the Seminoles have made it to Omaha 23 times, only to fall short.
They’ve won 30 College World Series games, finishing runner-up three times. The 23 appearances nearly double the next team on the list.
That second team is ACC rival Clemson, who’s been to the CWS 12 times without winning a title. The Tigers are just 12-24 in the event, with their highest finish being third place.
Clemson’s best chances to make a championship came in 2002 and 2010. In both cases, the Tigers started 2-0 in Omaha, getting one game away from the finals. And in both cases, the team lost to archrival South Carolina on back-to-back days to be eliminated from the field.
The instance in 2010 was part of a record 22-game NCAA Tournament winning streak for the Gamecocks as they’d go on to win a national championship.
Rounding out the top five are Arkansas and North Carolina, who’ve each made 11 CWS appearances without a title, and Northern Colorado with 10 championship-less trips.
These five programs are the only to make it 10 times or more without hoisting the trophy.