The Countdown: 44 days until the ACC

Pitt hopes to reach Omaha and TD Ameritrade Park for the first time this season - Harry How

Pitt will be joining arguably the best college baseball conference in the country

44 days until the ACC: Pitt baseball + ACC = Omaha?

With Pitt having such a successful baseball season, it's time to look at the baseball conference the Panthers will enter in 2014. Simply put - the ACC is the best baseball conference this season. It has the top rated RPI, with four schools in the top ten and nine in the top 26. The ACC also has five or six ranked teams depending on the poll, as well as the top ranked team in the country in North Carolina. Good thing Pitt's on the upswing this season...

Speaking of this season, the Panthers are looking towards the goal of reaching Omaha for the College World Series, something that the school has never done. But after watching Stony Brook and Kent State punch tickets to Omaha last season, Sam Werner of the Post Gazette writes that this team has a "Why not us?" attitude.

As Pitt baseball coach Joe Jordano watched Cinderella stories Stony Brook and Kent State crash the College World Series a year ago, he couldn't shake one thought in his mind: "Why not Pitt?"

A bit ambitious for a team most pegged to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big East Conference? Maybe. But Jordano and, more importantly, his players believed reaching Omaha, Neb., the longtime site of the College World Series, was a realistic goal.

"We knew we were going to have a solid team, but why not raise the expectation?" Jordano said.

Considering the baseball program's general lack of success, too many eyebrows shouldn't be raised at the fact that Pitt has never appeared in the College World Series. But even if they don't make it to Omaha in 2013, joining the ACC will give Pitt a great shot at getting there. The ACC has sent 44 teams to Omaha, 15 since 2006, although only once has the ACC been home to the national champion (Wake Forest in 1955). Perhaps this year will be different, with highly ranked teams in North Carolina, Virginia, NC State, and Florida State. Out of the 15 ACC schools, only Pitt, Maryland, and Virginia Tech have yet to reach Omaha.

At the very least, the increased level of talent will help continue to build Pitt's program, regardless of when Pitt's season ends in 2013.

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