NCAA Division 1 College World Series Format

College World Series - Virginia v. Vanderbilt 2015
College World Series - Virginia v. Vanderbilt 2015. Peter Aiken/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The road to the NCAA Division I College World Series leads to Omaha, Nebraska, but it starts on college campuses nationwide.

History of the NCAA College World Series

The College World Series got its start in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1947, when California beat Yale to become the first NCAA baseball champion. The tournament moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1949, but in 1950 settled in Omaha, its home ever since.

The championship has seen several iterations since the beginning but settled on a 64-team field to decide college baseball's best team.

In the current structure of the tournament, 31 conference champions automatically qualify for the tournament and the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee offers 33 teams at-large bids to fill out the field after the regular season concludes.

Opening Round Regionals

The month-long tournament starts at regional sites throughout the country, where each of the tournament's top 16 teams hosts three schools in the opening round. This double-elimination tournament pits No. 1 seeds (the host) versus No. 4 seeds and No. 2 versus No. 3, with the winners of this opening round facing off in the second round, and the losers heading to the elimination bracket. The winner of the second round heads to the finals of this tournament undefeated, while the loser plays the winner of the elimination bracket to determine who plays the undefeated team in the finals.

Should the undefeated team lose this finals game, a second game decides who advances.

The Super Regionals

The winners of the 16 opening-round tournaments are then split into eight super regionals announced by the NCAA, where two teams face off in a best-of-three series. The higher seed is the home team in the first game, while the lower seed plays as the home team for the second game.

If a third game is necessary, a coin flip determines the home team for that game.

If both teams have the same seed, the winner of a coin flip will be the home team in game one, and the loser of the coin flip will be the home team in game two. A second coin flip will determine the home team in game three, if necessary.

The College World Series

The eight super regional winners advance to the College World Series in Omaha. The final field is separated into two four-team, double-elimination brackets, which are seeded by the NCAA and play the same format as in the first round. The winners of those tournaments meet in one best-of-three championship series to determine the NCAA college baseball champion.