The college baseball season is upon as Ole Miss is set to open its season with a weekend series against Charleston Southern on February 18.
The Rebels are preseason ranked No. 5, behind Texas, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. But let’s not kid ourselves, how many times have the Rebs been preseason ranked and then failed to make it to Omaha? #WAOM
Ole Miss is fortunate to be dodging No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Florida and No. 16 Georgia during the regular season this year, but once conference play begins, the SEC will prove to be the toughest gauntlet, just like in football, once again. In a race to be a NCAA regional host, racking up wins in the non conference portion is important. There are some great early matchups and some snoozers, so we are here to present a viewing guide for the upcoming season.
VCU (FEB. 25-27)
VCU ended last season ranked No. 30 in the RPI with a 38-16 record. The Rams are an example of taking care of business as its conference schedule does not set them up for an RPI boost. They did beat No. 18 Virginia Tech last season and lost to Mississippi State in its regional. A solid early season matchup and the only must see non conference home series.
Tennessee (March 25-27)
A month after the VCU series, Ole Miss hosts its first conference home series against the No. 19 ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Not a normal baseball power, the Volunteers are a program on the rise. Bring your mustard and golf balls for yet another showing of Ole Miss exerting dominance over an inferior program.
Alabama (April 8-10)
This is a must watch because this is the sport where we get to see Ole Miss beat Bama in something. Obviously all of that school’s money goes to the football program, but the Tide baseball team isn’t one to just overlook. They finished 2021 32-26 and a top 40 RPI team.
Mississippi St. (April 21-23)
This one needs no introduction. Ole Miss welcomes the reigning national champions to the best ballpark in the state of Mississippi. The preseason ranked No. 3 Bulldogs lost a lot of talent from last year’s team and Ole Miss will look to send a message in this home series. This is THE series to attend this season.
GO FOR THE BEERS
Basically any home SEC series not mentioned above is a series you should go and just kick back a few cold ones while enjoying the sunshine and friends. Missouri (May 6-8) and Texas A&M (May 19-21) fall into that category. They aren’t must sees because the two former BIG 12 schools are still learning how baseball works in the premier conference, but they are the final two home series for Ole Miss before the SEC Tourney.
Southeast Missouri (April 19)
The best of the rest of the remaining non conference home opponents. SEMO was a top 90 RPI squad last season and traditionally has a good program. A solid weeknight game to attend early in the season.
GO FOR THE PROMOTIONAL GIVEAWAYS
The remaining home opponents are not worth spending big money on a ticket for. These are the games you hope the university has some promos to draw a crowd, therefore if you want to grab your free t shirt or sticker, be on the look out for these games
Arkansas State - 2/22
University of Louisiana Monroe - 3/1 & 3/2
Memphis - 3/8
Alcorn State - 3/9
Oral Roberts - 3/11-3/13
University of North Alabama - 3/29
Murray State - 4/12
NON-HOME GAMES TO ATTEND
Ole Miss has a few games worth your travel. On March 22, the Rebels head to Memphis. The travel is moreso for the time on Beale Street after the game, but for those Desoto County Rebel fans, this is a great chance to see the guys.
There is also a neutral site game against Southern Miss in Pearl on April 5th. Go watch the Rebs take on a quality opponent in a Minor League stadium. The Golden Eagles finished the season No. 22 in RPI last year. Always a fun game.
The Rebels will return to Pearl 3 weeks later to wrap up a 4 game series, with a one game showdown, against Mississippi State. This could fall into the must attend category, but due to it being a Tuesday night, a few hours away, its more like a “try your best to get there.”
SEC ROAD TRIPS
Thank goodness that the opening home series was not wasted on Auburn, or a home series at all for that matter. Check the box scores after the weekend is over and save the trip. Kentucky and South Carolina will be tough road series that you anticipate the Rebels to still find a way to win, if not sweep.
It’s the other two remaining series that would be worth the trip. April 29-May 1 against No. 2 Arkansas and May 13-15 against No. 8 LSU. Two absolute big time showdowns on the road that will give Ole Miss a true test as they build their resume and confidence for postseason play.
If the preseason rankings mean anything (:eye-roll:) then is shaping up to be a massive season for Team USA Coach Mike Bianco and company. Get to Swayze. Get loud and pray for unlimited beer showers.