Wake Forest and Virginia are headed to the College World Series after closing out their respective Super Regionals on Sunday.

It will mark the 17th consecutive year in which the event has been held that the ACC has had at least 1 team in the CWS bracket.

Coincidentally, the Deacons and the Cavaliers are the only 2 conference teams to go to Omaha and win national championships, albeit 60 years apart. (Miami’s 4 CWS crowns came before the Hurricanes joined the ACC.)

Considering the number of talented teams the ACC has produced over the years, especially of recent vintage, its lack of success on the game’s biggest stage is hard to explain.

Chalk it up to bad matchups, bad luck or in at least 1 case, an untimely bad throw.

It’s always been something.

Before the ACC’s 2 past champs try to become the league’s latest champ, here’s a look back at the 5 best conference teams to leave Omaha without the trophy:

5. NC State 2013

The 2021 Wolfpack might have come within 1 win of advancing to the CWS championship series before being sent home by a COVID outbreak. But the best team of the Elliott Avent era was the one the veteran coach took to Omaha 8 seasons earlier.

That 2013 squad featured 2 future Major League All-Stars in shortstop Trea Turner and ace left-hander Carlos Rodon, along with current St. Louis Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner. The Wolfpack went 50-16 that year and beat rival North Carolina 8-1 in their CWS opener to advance to the tournament’s winner’s bracket.

Things turned south from there, though.

A 2-1 loss to eventual champion UCLA was the beginning of the end. It’s a game that will be remembered by State fans for the ball Turner hit in the 8th inning. The star shortstop hit a long drive to left field he thought was gone. He even raised his arms in celebration of an anticipated go-ahead 3-run homer, but the ball didn’t carry well during the first few years of Charles Schwab Field’s existence. And this one was no exception, allowing it to be caught on the warning track.

Two days later, the Tar Heels sent the Wolfpack home by beating them 7-0.

4. Clemson 1991

Bill Wilhelm’s Tigers didn’t have the same kind of star power that the 2013 NC State team had. (Or even the star power that the 1996 Clemson team had with Kris Benson (No. 1 overall pick) and Billy Koch (No. 4 overall pick). But that didn’t prevent the 1991 squad from putting together one of the best regular seasons in ACC history.

They went 60-10 overall, going 18-3 in the ACC to win the league by 5 games over Georgia Tech. Carried by the bats of senior first baseman Eric Macrina, who led the team with 24 homers, and freshman outfielder Billy McMillon, who hit .391, and the arm of 14-game winner Jason Angel, they continued their success into the postseason.

They went undefeated in winning the ACC Tournament, then took care of business in their regional to earn their 6th trip to the College World Series.  But that’s when Clemson’s dream season ran out of gas.

The Tigers lost to Creighton in their opener in Omaha before dropping a 12-11 heartbreaker to Long Beach State to go 2-and-BBQ.

3. Florida State 1999

Led by a quartet of future Major Leaguers, including outfielder Matt Diaz and infielder Kevin Cash – the current manager of the Tampa Bay Rays – the 1999 Seminoles lost only twice in 24 games against ACC opponents. 

They won 57 games overall and finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the nation. Although they stumbled in the conference tournament, they quickly rebounded with a vengeance. 

First came a sweep of their regional in which they outscored the opposition by a 47-11 margin in 3 wins. They then disposed of Auburn in the super regional before advancing through the loser’s bracket to advance to the championship round in Omaha by beating Stanford twice.

The joyride came to an end, however, with a 6-5 loss to Sunshine State rival Miami, which was still 5 years away from joining FSU in the ACC.

2. Georgia Tech 1994

The Yellow Jackets were absolutely loaded that season. Nomar Garciaparra played shortstop. Jason Varitek was the catcher. Jay Payton was in the outfield. All of them went on to enjoy lengthy, successful MLB careers.

As a group, they led the way in helping Tech to a 50-17 record. A pair of losses in the ACC Tournament cost it an opportunity to host a regional. But the venue didn’t matter. The Yellow Jackets traveled to Wichita, Kan., and took care of business anyway, beating Washington to earn their ticket to the CWS.

Once in Omaha, they beat Cal State Fullerton twice and Florida State before dropping a 13-5 decision to Oklahoma in the winner-take-all championship round used before the format was changed to the current best-of-3 series.

1. North Carolina 2006

The 2006 Tar Heels came as close as you can possibly come to winning the national championship without actually winning it.

Coach Mike Fox’s team beat Oregon State 4-3 in the Game 1 of their best-of-3 championship series in Omaha. But UNC dropped Game 2 by an 11-7 score, then with the score tied at 2 in the 8th inning of the 3rd and deciding contest, a throwing error by 2nd baseman Bryan Steed allowed the go-ahead run to score.

The Tar Heels (54-15) threatened in the 9th, but stranded the tying and go-ahead runs to finish as the national runner-up, despite sporting a roster highlighted by future Major Leaguers Andrew Miller, Daniel Bard and Tim Federowicz.

The same teams returned to the championship series again in 2007, with the same result. This time the Beavers put UNC out of its misery quickly, sweeping the final 11-4 and 9-3.