Ole Miss Baseball Postseason Scenarios: Rebs Likely to Host, but a National Seed Remains in Doubt

After an impressive road sweep against Kentucky, the national talking heads have the Rebs as strong favorite to host one of the coveted 16 NCAA baseball regional sites sites. The real question is, however, whether or not the Rebs will be one of the eight national seeds.

I get a bit of a funny feeling sitting down to write this post. Heading into this season, the amount of uncertainty surrounding this team was equal to the amount of alcohol consumed during the Ole Miss/Texas football weekend. Ok maybe not THAT much, but the fact remains that there were a lot of question marks surrounding this team, and for Ole Miss fans question marks are almost always a cause for pessimism.

We knew we had a solid Friday night starter in Chris Ellis followed by Christian Trent and Sam Smith to fill in the rest of the weekend. We also knew we'd have to rely on the bats of Will Allen and Sikes Orvis as it seemed Austin Bousfield regressed quite a bit during his sophomore year. The biggest question mark was with the incoming class of Juco transfers and freshmen who were going to have to fill in crucial roles right away. Thankfully for us, the Ole Miss baseball team has answered these questions in spades: Both Ellis and Trent have been named to the College Baseball Foundation's Pitcher of the Year watch list (Ole Miss is one of only two schools to have two); Allen and Orvis, with 50 runs batted in together, have already single handedly surpassed their total from last season (44); Boz has bounced back from his sophomore slump, recently being tagged as the national hitter of the week after a stellar weekend against Kentucky; and freshmen like Errol Robinson and JB Woodman along with Juco transfer Braxton Lee have established themselves as clutch players with their gloves and at the plate.

Now the Rebs are coming off a road sweep of a ranked opponent in Kentucky, one that many national pundits thought would be the 5th and final SEC host school. After the sweep, barring a complete and total WAOM meltdown, the Rebs are a favorite to host, at minimum, a post season regional. As it stands heading into this weekend, the Rebs are tied for first in the SEC West with Alabama, with LSU trailing by only a tie game (the Tigers tied with UGA earlier in the season due to Sunday travel restrictions). Here's a look at the other potential SEC host sites, the rest of their schedules and level of difficulty, plus their chances of being a national seed. RPI and SOS courtesy of Warren Nola RPI while difficulty and host/seed percentages are my own super scientific shots in the dark.

Ole Miss (33-12, 13-8 in conference):

  • RPI: 7
  • Overall SOS thus far: 14
  • Remaining SEC schedule: Arkansas, UGA , @A&M
  • Remaining SEC schedule difficulty on 1-10 scale: 4
  • Host chances? 85%
  • National seed chances?: 50%

Florida (30-15, 15-6 SEC):

  • RPI: 3
  • Overall SOS thus far: 1
  • Remaining SEC schedule: @Alabama, Vandy, @Tennessee
  • Remaining SEC schedule difficulty on 1-10 scale: 7
  • Host chances? 100%
  • National seed chances?: 95%

LSU (34-11, 12-8-1 SEC):

  • RPI: 16
  • Overall SOS thus far: 48
  • Remaining SEC schedule: @A&M, Alabama, @Auburn
  • Remaining SEC schedule difficulty on 1-10 scale: 6
  • Host chances? 85%
  • National seed chances?: 50%

South Carolina (34-11, 12-9 SEC):

  • RPI: 6
  • Overall SOS thus far: 17
  • Remaining SEC schedule: @UGA, Missouri, @Vandy
  • Remaining SEC schedule difficulty on 1-10 scale: 7
  • Host chances? 95%
  • National seed chances?: 90%

Alabama (29-15, 13-8 SEC):

  • RPI: 18
  • Overall SOS thus far: 20
  • Remaining SEC schedule: Florida, @LSU, MSU
  • Remaining SEC schedule difficulty on 1-10 scale: 8
  • Host chances? 50%
  • National seed chances?: 20%

Vanderbilt (33-12, 11-10 SEC):

  • RPI: 9
  • Overall SOS thus far: 19
  • Remaining SEC schedule: @Missouri, @Florida, South Carolina
  • Remaining SEC schedule difficulty on 1-10 scale: 9
  • Host chances? 40%
  • National seed chances?: 5%
Traditionally, one conference doesn't have more than five host sites or two national seeds. Not to say it can't happen but it's not that common. Considering all this, there are a couple things that jump out to me that say Ole Miss should definitely host but will need some help if they want to grab a national seed. USC and Florida seem to be locks for both host sites and national seeds. Both teams have very manageable remaining conference schedules and have proven throughout the season that they are top ball clubs worthy of national seeds. Vanderbilt and Alabama both have tremendously difficult conference schedules ahead of them while Ole Miss's remaining SEC foes are near the bottom of the SEC standings with a combined 27-35 conference record. If Ole Miss can sweep at least one of its remaining series and then win the other two, that should secure a top 4 seeding in the SEC tournament and a day of rest advantage against its first opponent. Crazier things have happened at Hoover though, so I'd say a push to playing on Saturday (in essence, the semi-finals) would secure a national seed for the Rebs.

What say you Cuppers? What do the Rebs need to do to secure a national seed? Will they need help elsewhere in the conference? Let's get the discussion going.

And, speaking of that discussion, if I were to have told you at the beginning of the season that we would be debating what it would it would take from the Rebs to obtain a national seed, you would have called me crazier than a man with a "DA BIG LIG FOR QB" sign at our College Game Day debut against Alabama (knocks forehead on wooden desk). We're rightfully bummed out about our poor performance last night against Southern Miss, but this team's in a really good spot.

[ED: In the middle of me writing this, Kendall Rogers at Perfect Game released his latest projections. Sure enough, he has Ole Miss slipping into the 8th and final national seed spot, hosting a nasty #2 seed Texas Tech and nothing to sneeze at #3 seed Clemson. Check out the rest of the field and if you don't follow him @KendallRogersPG, you are a college baseball scrub. Do it now.]
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