Ole Miss Won the National Title Last Year.... But How Will They Defend It?
The Ole Miss Rebels snuck into the NCAA Tourney as the 64th and final bid then won the whole freaking thing last June. It was one of the most fun sports stories of my lifetime and was stranger than fiction.
Ole Miss was 7-14 in the SEC at the beginning of May and won the title. It was literally unbelievable.
After building the program with his bare hands for 20 years, Mike Bianco went from the hot seat to all but a lifetime contract and deservedly so. The Captain Tim Elko even had a statue built in his honor. Ole Miss fans will be celebrating for years and years to come.
But now it is time for a new season. And the big question is how will they defend the title?
All of the pressure is off from the fan base. Ole Miss could go .500 the next 4-5 years and not hear one damn word from me after the title run. That was literally a once in a lifetime story.
Gone are the Captain Tim Elko, Kevin Graham, Justin Bench and CWS hero Dylan DeLucia. But there is a still a ton of talent coming back.
Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez is an All American. Power hitting OF Kemp Alderman came into his own and was mashing the ball down the stretch. He could take a serious step forward. Tulane Transfer CF Ethan Groff is a heckuva player & 2B Peyton Chattagnier has proven time after time he can get the big hit.
Ace Lefty Hunter Elliot was all but unhittable in the NCAA Tourney and will be the Friday Night guy. The pitching staff has a ton of talented arms behind him including Jack F'n Dougherty who was awesome in the Natty Series against Oklahoma.
Ole Miss is preseason top 10 and +2000 to win the title on the Barstool Sportsbook.
This team is more than capable of making a run to get back to Omaha. But can they replace all of that leadership lost? And how will they play now that the pressure is off? Will it help them play looser or will it hurt their will?
I cannot wait to just sit back and enjoy this season. It is all a free roll after last year. Hopefully Ole Miss is a top 5 SEC team and Regional host. But if they aren't, the Rebels will ALWAYS have 2022!