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Baseball is America’s favorite pasttime. And to see baseball at its best, you have to check out college baseball playoffs! It is the best and purest form of the sport! If your family loves sports, this is the best family outing you can find! It truly is fun for the whole family!
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, college teams around the country start competing for a spot in the College World Series. You can soak up some sunshine, teach your children about the sport, relive your college days, cheer on your favorite team, and create lifelong family memories all in one weekend.
We have attended many college baseball playoff games throughout the years. They are some of our favorite times together as a family. They are so thrilling! There is so much electricity in the air during these games that it’s hard not to get caught up in all of the excitement!
Keep reading to find out why you should plan a trip to watch some college baseball playoffs and how to make the most of your trip!
- What to Expect From the College Baseball Playoffs Format and Schedule
- Tips for Maximizing Your Fun at the College Baseball Playoffs
What to Expect From the College Baseball Playoffs Format and Schedule
There are over 300 NCAA schools that play baseball., but only 8 of them can go to the College World Series. So, the playoff system is designed to narrow the teams down to the best of the best.
The playoff season starts with conference tournaments, which begin the week leading into Memorial Day. Conference tournaments vary in their format, but they are a great opportunity to watch your favorite team face off against some of their biggest rivals.
Check with your favorite conference or team website to find out more information on the conference tournament.
Invitations to Regionals
Each conference champion gets an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Then, there are a number of at large spots that go to teams deemed worthy of competing in the playoffs, even though they did not win their conference.
A committee determines who gets these at large spots and seeds all the teams. The top 8 teams in the team of 64 are called “National Seeds.” This gives them home field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. These 8 teams will each host one of the 16 regional tournaments.
After determining the National Seeds, the committee also determines the other 8 teams which will host the remaining regional tournaments.
Regionals begin the first week of June.
Each of the 16 regional tournaments showcases 4 teams in a double elimination tournament. The winner of each regional tournament moves on to Super Regionals.
The 16 teams that advance to the Super Regionals are matched up at 8 Super Regional sites. The National Seeds are matched with the other 8 regional host prior to the start of Regionals.
Every National Seed that advances to the Super Regionals will hosts this second round. If a National Seed loses in Regionals, then the regional host they were match with will host the winner of the National Seed regional tournament for Super Regionals.
If both the National Seed and the regional host lose in Regionals, then the two winning teams bid to determine which one will host Super Regionals.
The Super Regional teams battle it out in a best-of-3 series for a ticket to the College World Series.
College World Series
The College World Series takes place in Omaha, Nebraska during the third week of June. The top 8 teams in the country play here for the National Championship. This is a double elimination tournament with the two final teams playing a best of three series to determine the National Champion.
For more information on locations, teams, and tickets to any of these playoffs, check out ncaa.com.
Tips for Maximizing Your Fun at the College Baseball Playoffs
Start Your Summer with a Mini-Vacation
The college baseball playoffs is a great excuse to kick off your summer with a mini-vacation. Take a long weekend and attend one of these tournaments with your family.
Book a hotel close to the stadium. Buy all-session passes, which will give you tickets to every game of the tournament. Go watch the games, even if your favorite team isn’t playing.
In between games, visit some of the local sights and eat at area restaurants. You may surprise yourself with how much fun you have!
Many years ago, my husband converted me into a college baseball fan by taking me to watch his alma mater play in Regionals. We basically ate, slept, and watched baseball for three full days. We had a wonderful time and have been avid college baseball fans ever since.
Maximize the Family Fun
College baseball playoffs are perfect sporting events for the whole family. Unlike professional games, the crowds and stadiums are usually smaller and your kids can get closer to the action.
These games usually have some kid-friendly activities around the stadium, such as bounce houses, portable batting cages, or even playgrounds.
At the College World Series, they have lots of fun things for kids to enjoy during the tournament. Let your little fans bring their gloves and try to catch a foul ball. Get to the stadium early to watch warm ups. You may get lucky and get an opportunity to get an autograph or two.
Sing along with the music in between innings. Buy a foam finger or team baseball to remember your experience. Get some classic stadium treats to enjoy with your family. There’s nothing better than eating ice cream while sitting in the warm sunshine at a baseball stadium!
Another great way to maximize the family fun during college baseball playoffs is to tailgate in the parking lots before the games. Tailgates can be as simple as standing around your car eating snacks or as elaborate as setting up a tent and grilling a feast for your fellow fans.
For tips on tailgating, check out my tips for tailgating with toddlers, tailgate packing tips, and the ultimate tailgate packing list. (Grab a copy of my FREE tailgate packing list in the box at the bottom of this article!)
Take the Excitement Home With You
The fun doesn’t have to stop when the trip is over. Take the excitement home with you and enjoy it during the rest of the college baseball playoffs.
Most of the Regional games and all of the Super Regional and College World Series games are televised on the various ESPN channels. You can find the schedule on espn.com.
Another fun way to experience the playoffs at home is to make your own bracket. My son and I do this every year. We use some leftover wrapping paper and make a giant bracket on the back that includes all 64 teams in Regionals. We hang it on the wall and update it after each game.
There is no better way to kick off your summer fun than with a mini vacation to watch some of the college baseball playoffs. These playoff games provide fun for the whole family. It is the perfect way for you to share America’s favorite pasttime with your kids while creating lifelong memories.
For more tips on sports travel with your family, see my ultimate guide to fun family sports travel.
P.S. Want to make your tailgates easier? Grab a copy of my FREE Ultimate Tailgate Packing List in the box below! Plus, as a bonus, you’ll receive my weekly email newsletter full of family travel tips.