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What Happened to the Other No. 1s to go 2-0? The Answer Might Surprise You… College World Series

Tennessee College World Series
Tennessee at the College World Series. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

The Tennessee Volunteers, the No. 1 overall seed in the College World Series, are 2-0 through their first two games in Omaha this postseason.

The Vols have been a dangerous team through the first two games with a 12-11 walk-off comeback win against Florida State on Friday and a convincing 6-1 victory over North Carolina on Sunday. The Vols will look to advance to the CWS Finals with a victory on Wednesday or a victory on Thursday if the day before is a loss.

Tennessee looks primed to continue its run in the College World Series this week… but is history on their side?

Believe it or not, the answer is both yes and no.

How History Doesn’t Favor Tennessee

The cliche “It’s tough to live at the top” might actually be true regarding the Men’s College World Series.

The No. 1 overall seed in the College World Series has only started 2-0 five times, with the last four teams failing to win the National Championship. The 1999 Miami squad is the only No. 1 national seed to start 2-0 in the MCWS and still win the title. Wake Forest, Oregon State, and Texas twice have failed to win the trophy after starting out 2-0.

Miami also represents the last No. 1 overall seed to simply just win the tournament championship.

ESPN flashed a graphic of the history on television during the eighth inning of the UT-UNC game on Sunday night:

  • 2023 Wake Forest: 2-2
  • 2007 Oregon State: 2-2
  • 2009 Texas: Runner Up
  • 2007 Texas: Runner Up
  • 1999 Miami: National Champions

 

ESPN Tennessee College World Series
Men’s College World Series Stat. Graphic courtesy of ESPN during the Tennessee-North Carolina MCWS game on Sunday night.
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How History Does Favor Tennessee in the College World Series

Despite the previously acknowledged statistic, Tennessee is actually in the driver’s seat for the tournament overall.

That’s not to say that Tennessee is guaranteed a spot in the finals or a championship trophy, but the Vols are historically in a great position to raise the trophy.

According to ESPN during the broadcast on Thursday night, 27 of the last 33 Men’s College World Series champions have begun the tournament with a 2-0 record.

Tennessee will be one of only two 2-0 teams left standing by the end of the day on Monday alongside either Kentucky or Texas A&M.

More from RTI: Tennessee Baseball’s Win Over North Carolina Different But Not Surprising

Tennessee has the unique position of straddling both the good fortune from their 2-0 start and the tough pressure of being a No. 1 overall seed with an undefeated jump out of the gates.

That all being said, though, Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello isn’t caring about the history books too much as he takes each opponent one game at a time.

“Sure, it’s a number,” Tony Vitello said before the Vols’ 2-0 start about the No. 1 seed not winning since 1999. “First of all, it’s difficult to get here, and once you are here, it’s even more difficult to win. Part of that is the talent that’s here. So the seeding to me kind of evaporates. It’s valuable in the first round because if you line up those four teams, the 1 seed is normally going to get the team that maybe is not as potent as the others. But once you get here, there aren’t really any underdogs or anything like that.”

Tennessee will await the winner of North Carolina-Florida State on Tuesday while the loser of the ACC matchup is eliminated. The Vols’ next game will be against that winner on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET. If Tennessee wins that game, it’s off to the CWS Finals. If Tennessee loses that game, it’s an elimination rematch on Thursday for a spot in the Finals.

Stay tuned to Rocky Top Insider for complete on-site coverage of Tennessee’s run in the College World Series.

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