I HATE writing this blog.... I really do. I love Ole Miss baseball. Left field at Swayze is my favorite Oxford/Ole Miss tradition over even the Grove. I have so many great memories out there during the last 10 years that I can't even begin to count them.
I am also one of the more annoyingly positive Rebel fans you will find. I am the last guy on the "Fire the Coach" bandwagon. Last season, I defended Mike Bianco on Twitter after Ole Miss completely blew the series at Texas A&M in early May. It was by far the most backlash I have caught from Rebel fans since I got hired at Barstool Sports. I am also friends with a lot of guys on the team which makes this situation even more delicate.
I enrolled at Ole Miss in 2001 in Bianco's 2nd season when a few hundred fans would attend games. Now Ole Miss routinely gets over 10,000 fans for big SEC weekends. He built the whole damn program and I am grateful for that.
Everyone always harps on Bianco's failures in the postseason ESP his struggles to get to the College World Series in Omaha. He took the Rebels once in 2014 and is a horrifying 1-6 in Super Regionals. However, let's not forget the 2 SEC Tourney titles (2006, 2018) and 4 SEC West Titles (2005, 09, 14 & 18) in the toughest league of them all. Ole Miss has made a solid 17 postseason appearances in his 21 seasons. He also has recruited at a high level and improved the facilities dramatically. Overall, the era has been WAY more good than bad.
His detractors have long pointed at the postseason failures and I have defended him. Ole Miss has been a top 15-20 program consistently. The poker player in me always thought there was so much variance in a few postseason games each season deciding his career when baseball is such a long run sport. If the Rebs would keep making it they could break through one year like Mississippi State did in Omaha in 2021 I kept telling myself.
But 22 years is a LONG time and every man has a breaking point. And I hit mine after Ole Miss got swept by Alabama at Swayze Field this weekend. Ole Miss went 0-4 last week and is now 0-6 at home in SEC play (4-8 overall). The Rebs are going to have to go 10-8 the rest of the way in SEC just to make the NCAA Tourney after being ranked #1 early in the season. (On another note, I NEVER want to see preseason rankings again in any sport)
Four weeks into SEC, the Rebels have no idea who the weekend starters are. The team can't field and there is clearly a disconnect between Mike Bianco and the players. Tim Elko and Jacob Gonzalez are incredible but can only do so much. I have never wanted to be wrong more in my life. I hope this team catches fire and shoves this take back down my throat. Nothing would make me happier.
But even if Ole Miss rallies to make the NCAA Tourney, it still feels like time for a change. I will be forever grateful to Mike Bianco for building the program from scratch. But every coaching era runs its course and it is time for new blood. Luckily, Ole Miss has the right AD in charge in Keith Carter and I have total faith in him.