The monkey's off Mike Bianco's back. After four failed appearances in the NCAA Super Regionals over the past nine years, his Ole Miss Rebels are finally heading to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska after taking a three game Super Regional series from the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. Since it's been 42 years since the Rebels have made the College World Series, here's a primer for Ole Miss Rebel fans looking to take in the excitement of the tournament:
- Omaha is in Nebraska. It is the largest city in Nebraska, and it's known for people with "no" accent, Warren Buffet, steaks, and the College World Series.
- The College World Series is held at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, which replaced the iconic Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium four years ago. It's a 24K+ capacity venue whose field is somewhat deeper than Swayze Field's (for example, the center field wall at Swayze is 390 feet, whereas it's 408 at TD Ameritrade).
- Although it's new and spacious, TD Ameritrade Park is not the home of the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They play in Werner Park, located in Papillion, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha. TD Ameritrade's "home team," so to speak, is the College World Series. That's what it's used for, aside from the occasional Creighton Blue Jays game or concert.
- This year's CWS field consists of five No. 1 seeds, two No. 2 seeds, and a lone No. 3 seed. Aside from Ole Miss, the regional hosting teams who have made it this far are Virginia, TCU, Vandy, and Louisville. TCU, Texas Tech, and Texas all made the tournament after being No. 2 seeds in their regions, while scrappy UC-Irvine clawed their way to the big stage as the underdog No. 3 seed.
- The tournament is divided into two stages in a way that mirrors the Regional/Super Regional format. The first half of the CWS is a double-elimination bracket, with four teams vying for one spot in the championship series. That series, which is the second portion of the CWS, is a two-of-three series.
- Ole Miss' first game, against the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers, will be this Sunday, June 15, at 7:00 PM Central.