Each year, Brian Walker's Elbow and I meet up to discuss baseball predictions and how we think the team will do.
Usually I am more positive than he and the discussion is usually over a meal (oyster po-boys, Ajax, etc.), but this year was completely different.
He, being a resident of Mississippi, and I, being a resident of Alabama, did not meet for a meal and baseball talk. We simply had to exchange e-mails and phone calls. Also, it seemed I was the more worried and negative of the pair.
First, Toomer's trees poisoned. Now, Brian Walker's Elbow is getting positive about a Bianco-led Ole Miss team?!?!
What in the hell is this world coming to?
Our picks and predictions after the jump.Weekend Series Non-Conference:
A sweep of Lipscomb should be expected as they are in one of the smallest conferences in Division 1 - the Atlantic Sun. Tulane and Wright State are both likely to strip a game away, but I think the away games at Houston could very well be a 1-2 type weekend for the Rebels. I'll predict an 8-4 record over this stretch as some of the younger Rebels start to gain their form and poise. - OMTB
Predicting mid-week games is like walking in on your grandmother taking a shower. It happens, hopefully not too regularly, and you try to forget it as soon as possible. WKU, USM and Miss. St. are the three dangerous opponents who could pile up 5 losses for the Rebels. Arkansas State also has been known to put together some offensive on-slaughts against Ole Miss in the past. With younger pitching carrying the load in these games, it could very well be a 9-6 type of stretch. - OMTB
The good news is that this year there's no Vandy on the schedule. The bad news is that everyone else save Kentucky still is on the SEC schedule. USC-Ole Miss will be a great series in Oxford. Don't miss that one. Road trips to LSU, Florida and Arkansas will give the Rebels at least six losses, in my opinion. Auburn has a good squad this year but doesn't offer much in terms of atmosphere, which should swing things in the Rebels favor there.
I'm more confident about the SEC picks, because Bianco knows these teams fairly well. He knows the grind of an SEC schedule, and there's enough veteran leadership to shine through. I think we're one of the top five teams in the SEC, but I would be shocked to see us win more than 18 conference games. It's just the reality of how good so many of these teams are even in down years. Plus, sweeps are just so hard to come by in conference play. I'll go one win less than BWE in my prediction as I'm dubious about Sunday starting, Goforth's new pitch and our offensive ability 1-9 for consistency.
That's an overall prediction of 32-24 (15-15 SEC) - OMTB