I really allowed myself to get sucked into the Sunday game against Arkansas.
The Rebels (24-19, 7-14 SEC) were up 1-0, and Derek Diamond looked like he was having his best start of the season. The weather has finally warmed up, pitching was going to come back, and Ole Miss was going to have a late season surge to maybe turn it all around late in the year.
It could still happen - a series with unranked Missouri, then top 25 LSU and Texas A&M await and could be competitive even. But if the final three SEC series are anything like the last month of baseball Rebel fans have been watching, it is entirely likely the Rebels could struggle to be above .500 for the season at its end. And that would be the worst record since Mike Bianco took over the program in 2001.
Here’s a brief list of how this team could stack up in his tenure based on final records.
- 2015 - 30-28
- 2011 - 30-25
- 2017 - 32-25
It’s obviously remarkable these represent the biggest down years of an Ole Miss sport over a two decade tenure, but it’s also inconceivable a team once ranked No. 1 in the nation now sits on the precipice of a losing season.
The final 11 games look like this:
- Three games at home vs. Missouri
- At No. 7 Southern Miss
- Three games at No. 20 LSU
- At Arkansas St.
- Three games at home vs. No. 13 Texas A&M
I can see five wins out of this stretch, and it’s not without some solid play needed. If this happens, the team finishes at 29-25 and maybe avoids being in the bottom two of the SEC.
But unfortunately, this team has been as unpredictable as any I can remember at Ole Miss. The most rabid Rebel baseball fans seem to be ready to move on from Bianco as head coach because of how this season has transpired in addition to how inconsistent the program has become in the last several seasons. He built a program undoubtedly along with the exceedingly higher expectations, but now the team has its backs against the wall and needs to play out of its mind to get its fans back.