As of now, the Ole Miss Rebels are sitting at 21-20 (8-10 SEC) and looking to finish strong with 14 games left on the regular season schedule. Despite Rebs' series loss to Auburn last weekend, Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball still thinks they're worthy of a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Just sitting one game over .500, you would think the Rebels would be treading water with sharks circling, but a No. 27 RPI and No. 1 strength of schedule rankings (according to Warren Nolan) apparently puts them in a metaphorical titanium shark cage. And with the next four games being in Oxford, this is the time to take advantage and reel off some wins before hitting the final three SEC series homestretch.
The remaining opponents on the docket are Memphis (No. 52 RPI), Alabama (No. 32), Mississippi State (No. 99), Arkansas State (No. 112) and Texas A&M (No. 5). So, yes there is still plenty of time and opportunities to finish on a run with some big wins heading into Hoover for the SEC Tournament.
With that being said, the margin for error is slim to none. The mark has been 30 wins after this team showed signs of being in a rebuilding/not so good phase. With that being said, they will need to at least win three of their remaining series and all of their midweek games. It can be done since the SEC series are all at home except for a road series in Columbia, Mo., but the trouble will be the midweek games which are all on the road, including the Governor's Cup in Pearl, Miss. against Mississippi State.
If the tournament started today, according to Mr. Rogers, the Rebels would be in a regional in Champaign, Ill. against three teams who all have 26 wins or more already. Not to mention, if you win this regional you will see the No. 7 national seed in Tallahassee in the Florida State Seminoles.
If the Rebels are wanting to make it two trips in a row to Omaha for the College World Series, the road will not be easy according to these projections. But, it can be done. Have you all forgotten about the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs?
The "other" FSU entered that season's NCAA Tournament with a measly 37-27 record and as a No. 4 seed in the Long Beach regional. After disposing of the host Dirt Bags and San Diego in the regional championship game, they then traveled to Tempe to stun the No. 3 national seeded Arizona State Sun Devils in the deciding third game to punch their ticket to Omaha. The rag tag team from the San Joaquin Valley then went on a run for the ages in the River City to set a record for the worst record for a national champion (47-31) after beating the Georgia Bulldogs.
Don't say I didn't say
wait until next year "I told you so" when the boys lose out and finish under .500 for the first time since 1997 go on a magical carpet ride back to the Big O!