We recently examined the impact of home-field advantage in the NCAA Baseball Championship and found that in the last 10 years, the 16 regional hosts that earned No. 1 seeds claimed roughly six of the eight College World Series berths, on average, so now we're flipping the question: what non-No. 1 seeds have had the most difficult paths to Omaha in the last decade?

RELATED: Super Regional hosts announced | Interactive bracket

In order to try to objectively determine what roads to the College World Series were the most challenging, we created the following point system that rewards teams based on the seeds of their opponents and their opponents' winning percentage:

  • Win vs. No. 1 seed = 4 points (+1 point if No. 1 seed is playing at home)
  • Win vs. No. 2 seed = 3 points
  • Win vs. No. 3 seed = 2 points
  • Win vs. No. 4 seed = 1 point
  • Going undefeated in both the Regional and Super Regional = 4 points (to make up for not playing extra elimination games)

 

We then took each team's point total and multiplied it by the collective winning percentage of their tournament opponents.

Using the formula above, here are the 10 hardest paths teams have navigated to the College World Series since 2008.

Year School Seed Point Total
2016 Oklahoma State No. 2 17.9
2009 Arkansas No. 2 17.5
2014 UC Irvine No. 3 16.5
2016 Arizona No. 2 16.3
2012 Stony Brook No. 4 16.1
2008 Fresno State No. 4 15.6
2009 Virginia No. 2 15.3
2009 Southern Miss No. 3 15.2
2017 Cal State Fullerton No. 2 15.1
2012 Kent State No. 3 14.3

Here's a breakdown of the hardest paths to Omaha, with game-by-game results from the Regional and Super Regional rounds.

Oklahoma State (2016)

  • (2) Oklahoma State def. (3) Nebraska 6-0
  • (2) Oklahoma State def. (1) Clemson 12-2
  • (2) Oklahoma State def. (1) Clemson 9-2
  • (2) Oklahoma State def. (1) South Carolina 5-1
  • (2) Oklahoma State def. (1) South Carolina 3-1

 

Arkansas (2009)

  • (2) Arkansas def. (3) Washington State 10-3
  • (2) Arkansas def. (1) Oklahoma 17-6
  • (2) Arkansas def. (1) Oklahoma 11-0
  • (2) Arkansas def. (1) Florida State 7-2
  • (2) Arkansas def. (1) Florida State 9-8

 

UC Irvine (2014)

  • (3) UC Irvine def. (2) UNLV 10-3
  • (3) UC Irvine def. (1) Oregon State 14-2
  • (1) Oregon State def. (3) UC Irvine 4-0
  • (3) UC Irvine def. (1) Oregon State 4-2
  • (3) UC Irvine def. (1) Oklahoma State 8-4
  • (3) UC Irvine def. (1) Oklahoma State 1-0

 

 

Andy Wittry has written for SI.com, Sporting News, the Indianapolis Star, Louisville Courier-Journal and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.