Ole Miss & Mississippi State were selected to the NCAA Baseball Tournament Monday. Ole Miss via an At-Large Bid, MSU via the Auto-bid by winning the SEC Tournament. Both have unique story lines in their regionals and rough roads to try to reach the College World Series (CWS).
MSU goes to the Tallahassee Regional as a 2-seed. Also joining them is No. 3 national seed and host Florida State, Samford and UAB.
UAB's volunteer coach Ron Polk is the longtime former head coach of Mississippi State.
MSU faces Samford where we could see former teammates face-off on the mound (Tupelo High School's Chris Stratton (MSU) and Lex Rutledge (Samford)) to lead off the Regional. Who knows? If the cards are played right one way or the other, MSU may face UAB at some point and the former coach of MSU.
If MSU makes it out of their regional alive, they likely need Stanford to get putout to host a Super Regional - only Fresno State (2008 National Champs) has any pedigree on the other side of the bracket that could knock MSU out. Yes they are a 4-seed I know, that was the seed they were when they won it all in 2008.
Ole Miss on the other hand enters as a 3-seed at-large team heading to the College Station Regional. Other teams include future SEC member and host Texas A&M, TCU and Dayton.
Ole Miss faces TCU first, a team they faced more than three months ago to start the season off. They split the pair of games and their third game rained out that was not made up. They will get their chance for the rubber match come Friday.
Ole Miss knows it can beat TCU, they've done it before. They are likely to get their chance at Texas A&M, who will join Ole Miss in the SEC West next year.
For Ole Miss to host a Super Regional (say they get out of their Regional), UCLA on the other side of the bracket needs to get bounced. Ole Miss has hosted 3 Super Regionals before recently and have upgraded the stadium, they have the fan base to back it up. Although the likely need the 2-seed San Diego to go down as well to have a good chance.
Ole Miss and MSU are on opposite ends of the 64-team field, so any dream match-up would have to come in the best-of-3 College World Series Champioship. I'm not banking on that. However in recent memory, Florida and Florida State faced off in a CWS game as did South Carolina and Clemson in the 2010 CWS. I got to personally see both of those games that year and the rivalry is every bit as deep as any other.
I do hope both teams do well. Former OHS standout Brent Brownlee (MSU) deserves a proper send off after having battling injury after injury throughout his high school and college career. And just once I would like to see Ole Miss make to the CWS in my lifetime. It's like rooting for the Cubs or the Cleveland Browns to make it all the way.