There’s a general rule in journalism headline writing that prohibits against yes or no question headlines — because the answer can and should always be “no” — but this is a serious wonder at this little shop that’s bubbled up past the brim over the first few weekends of SEC baseball play.
How serious are these Rebels? Can they crack a national seed and super regional host site this year? Can they ride this wave of pitching and offensive production all the way to — gasp — Omaha? They certainly seem built to do so, and built to do so on the back of the No. 1 recruiting class from last year’s rankings. Let’s just see where this goes.
D1Baseball’s Kendall Rogers sees real promise with this Rebel outfit — which he and his editorial staff recently moved up to No. 3 in their national rankings — though owing to the nature of college baseball’s chaotic drops and climbs, he’s hesitant to go fully definitive.
how confident are you that ole miss can sustain this all the way to a national seed— Jim Lohmar (@jimlohmar) April 2, 2018
I mean, things can happen, but feel pretty confident about @OleMissBSB. Strong bullpen/starters, and the offense just seems to get better each week. https://t.co/ANFzdRewwt— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) April 2, 2018
Ole Miss’ previously highest ranking since people started systematically keep track of such things was No. 2 back in 2008, for what it’s worth
Rogers is verifiably right about Ole Miss’ pitching staff and pen, though that question of offense may need some massaging. Certainly the Rebs are driving in considerably more runs this time this season than last, but problem points here and there — notably against Texas A&M and Arkansas — present themselves as annual reminders that there’s nothing to be trusted in enjoying, or expecting anything from, this Rebel outfit’s sustained success.
Unless that success is sustainable, and as fans and bloggeurs we’re all too skeptical to see past recent letdowns.
So, what are we looking at here regarding the postseason?
The whole gamut. Ole Miss could lose out and miss the tourney altogether (they won’t), they could win a modicum of games and host a regional site (high probability), they could win a few more games and host a super regional (HMMM!), and they could pursuantly earn a trip to Omaha for the College World Series proper (LOUDER HMMM!).
What will it take to get there?
Simply put: wins. We’ve already discussed how Ole Miss could get to a 20-win conference record, which would probably well situate this club for a national seed. There are no guarantees when the NCAA baseball tournament eventually kicks off, but holding home field and seeding advantage certainly helps one’s chances of advancing, and advancing, and advancing — eventually to Omaha.
Further intriguing about Ole Miss baseball’s station in the immediate sense is skipper Mike Bianco’s recent decision to fiddle around with the weekend pitching rotation, which places Brady Feigl into Friday starting duties, due to his hot hand. That swaps Ryan Rolison into Saturday work, which is totally fine with this particular sports blog, since Ole Miss currently enjoys a full stable of capable arms ready to go on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Whoever Bianco feels most confident in on any given weekend, let him throw that bull until he breaks. It’s a good problem to have.
In any case, we may be staring down a very real postseason run here, even if every game puts you on the edge of your seat.