Downtown Omaha was filled this weekend with the sounds of grown men barking and, well, cowbells.
These are the sounds of Mississippi State fans.
By reaching the NCAA baseball championship series, Bulldog fans — who often woof and clang cowbells while cheering on their team — are primed to celebrate and seem to be flooding the downtown area.
If Mississippi State beats UCLA in the best-of-three series, it will mark the school's first national title in a team sport.
“We need something,” said MSU fan John Miller of Starkville, Miss., who drove more than 800 miles Sunday and planned to work from his hotel room Monday before the game.
Miller and many other Bulldog fans don't want to miss an opportunity to see their squad win an elusive national title — school officials estimated about 10,000 fans attended Monday night's championship series opener. And some who came to Omaha earlier than Miller have had to bide their time — Mississippi State last played Friday.
For many, the layoff meant enjoying the bars and restaurants downtown as well as the sights of the Omaha area.
John and Nancy Meador of Starkville, Miss., drove up for the beginning of the CWS — that was 10 days ago — and had soaked in many of the sights and sounds.
The couple visited Joslyn Art Museum and Henry Doorly Zoo, and even checked out the Nebraska Furniture Mart — though they couldn't take anything back in their convertible.
“Omaha is just magnificent,” John Meador said. “We've had a great time.”
Porter Leftwich, a Bulldog fan who lives in Mobile, Ala., has enjoyed his stay in Omaha, spending time over the weekend dining out and enjoying the Old Market. He's been blown away by Omahans' hospitality.
“In the South, people are always known for being friendly,” Leftwich said. “But it doesn't have anything on Omaha.”
Jeff Griffin, an MSU fan from Water Valley, Miss., was enjoying downtown Omaha on Sunday. He felt confident in his team's chances against UCLA.
“I like Omaha,” Griffin said. “I'll like it a lot more when we win the national title.”
And if they do, get ready for a cacophony of woofing and cowbells.