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Five Potential TaxAct Clearwater Matchups We'd Love To See

Jahni Kerr Photo by Tyler Schank_NCAA Photos via Getty Images.jpg
(Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The St. Petersburg/Clearwater area of Florida is known for its beaches, beautiful scenery and now softball.

The TaxAct Clearwater Invitational has become one of the premier college softball tournaments since the event began back in 2019. The tournament takes place during the third weekend of February in 2024 and gives college softball fans an early look at some of the best teams in the nation.

The field for the 2024 tournament will include 2023 WCWS participants Florida State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Washington and Tennessee. It will also feature nine teams that made it to the Super Regional weekend this year, and 13 of the 16 schools involved in the 2024 tournament advanced to the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Although the 2024 schedule has not yet been announced, below are some potential matchups we'd love to see at next February's tournament.

Florida State vs. UCLA

Florida State and UCLA are two college softball powerhouses that have each won national titles within the past five years. These programs are two that expect to be in Oklahoma City every year, and it is oftentimes a matchup you could see in OKC.

Both teams will enter the 2024 season with a lot of returning players as well as some new faces. Florida State will look to replace All-American arm Kathryn Sandercock, while UCLA will look to replace All-American ace Megan Faraimo.

In 2020, they played a one-run thriller, in 2022, they played an extra-inning thriller and in 2023, they played another close game. We'd love to see them go at it again in Clearwater next February. 

Georgia vs. Texas

Georgia and Texas are two programs that have continued an upward trend within the past decade. Both programs have a winning culture and are championship contenders. Texas is led by Mike White and Georgia is led by Tony Baldwin. Both teams advanced to Super Regionals this spring, and both return a lot of production from this past year. We'd love to see these two hungry and talented programs go to battle in February.

Washington vs. LSU

Washington and LSU are two programs that both have rich postseason histories. Washington is coming off a trip to Oklahoma City, while LSU is coming off an early and surprising exit in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Washington and LSU both have extremely talented rosters returning in 2024, with LSU hoping to return to Oklahoma City for the first time since 2017.

Should these two teams get the chance to face off in Clearwater in February, pitching would be on full display between two coaching staffs that know how to develop a pitching staff. 

Oklahoma State vs. Stanford

These two programs both put the softball world on notice at different points in 2023 and are expected to do the same in 2024. Oklahoma State will be a mix of talented veterans and newcomers in 2024, while Stanford will look to continue to build upon its recent success under head coach Jessica Allister.

NiJaree Canady will be front and center in the circle for the Cardinal next season as one of the top pitchers to watch in college softball.

Tennessee vs. Northwestern

Tennessee and Northwestern have historically been two really strong college softball programs. They are known for playing a very tight and clean game, with pitching as the focal points of both teams.

Both squads, however, graduated their aces in Ashley Rogers and Danielle Williams this spring. But we expect each team to come back just as strong in 2024, as head coaches Karen Weekly and Kate Drohan are two of the best in the business.

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