Things continue to move around at the top of the SEC Power Poll as the Gators overtook the top spot from South Carolina. There was plenty more shakeup from 2-14 in the poll, so without any more jibber jabber (and since we're running late this week), here's this week's SEC Baseball Power Poll.
1. Florida (Average: 1.14) (Six first place votes)
Overall Record: 30-15, 15-6
Last Week: 0-1 vs. Jacksonville & Florida A&M, 3-0 vs. Missouri
Thoughts on the Gators:
-- The hottest team in the SEC gradually turning into the best team in the SEC.
-- The Gators had two really, really weird/bad losses in the midweek, and then it's like they just picked up as normal on the weekend to sweep Missouri. The losses didn't really hurt them since they were already sitting at the top of the RPI, but still, weird. They continue to win the games that matter though, and that's all that... matters?
2. South Carolina (Average: 2.43)
Overall Record: 34-11, 12-9
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Davidson & USC Upstate, 2-1 vs. Alabama
Thoughts on the Gamecocks:
-- Nice series win over Alabama. It seems like this Gamecocks team is flying under the radar, but I like them as a team that can make some noise in postseason.
-- They just keep on winning, which is impressive. They get Georgia this weekend, which should be good for another series win.
3. LSU (Average: 3.14) (One first place vote)
Overall Record: 34-11-1, 12-8-1
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Tulane, 2-1 vs. Tennessee
Thoughts on the Tigers:
-- Still rolling along and winning close games. The three-way race between Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU for the West will be really interesting in the final three weeks.
-- Just LSU doing LSU things. The Tigers won another close series at home that featured a walk-off win. With Nola in the fold they'll pretty much always win one a weekend, so I don't expect them to move down anytime soon.
4. Ole Miss (Average: 4.00)
Overall Record: 33-13, 13-8
Last Week: 0-1 vs. Mississippi State, 3-0 vs. Kentucky
Thoughts on the Rebels:
-- Looking like the best offensive team in the league. As a Mississippi State, fan, I'm not at all jealous. Nope, not one bit.
-- Good gosh that was an insane weekend of offense for Ole Miss. 39 runs in three games is nuts, even for Kentucky's small ballpark. The Rebels turned Kentucky's own game on them, and they came away with three wins and a sweep going away. The Rebels have played themselves into the national seed discussion, and should lock one up if they finish the regular season well. They get Arkansas this weekend.
5. Alabama (Average: 4,43)
Overall Record: 30-15, 13-8
Last Week: 0-1 vs. Southern Miss, 1-2 vs. South Carolina
Thoughts on the Crimson Tide:
-- Gotta get the bull pen straightened out, other than Thomas Burrows, who continues to amaze,the team has to have better situational hitting going forward.
-- Played respectably against South Carolina, but they're going to need some big wins over Florida this week if they want to stay ahead in the West.
-- In the first weekend of their brutal season finish, the Tide didn't start well with a series loss at South Carolina. They played the Gamecocks close, but it wasn't enough to bring home the series. Another really tough series awaits this weekend against SEC leader Florida.
6. Vanderbilt (Average: 6.14)
Overall Record: 33-12, 11-10
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Memphis, 3-0 vs. Georgia
Thoughts on the Commodores:
-- The Commodores had been struggling a bit in recent weeks, but fortunately Georgia helps to cure those ills.
-- From Anchor of Gold's series review, on closer Carson Palmer getting a start: "Think of it another way... his arm's just starting to stretch out. In two-three weeks, he should be able to give us a full nine of dominance. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more confident pitcher. Oh, and he never faced more than four batters in any of those seven innings. You heard right."
7. Kentucky (Average: 7.86)
Overall Record: 27-17, 9-12
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Tennessee Tech, 0-3 vs. Ole Miss
Thoughts on the Wildcats:
-- Unfortunately, cloning technology has not advanced to the point where Kentucky could field a starting nine of all A.J. Reeds.
-- Kentucky had been playing fairly well, but unfortunately for them they ran into the offensive buzz-saw that is the Ole Miss offense. I think the UK pitching staff got exposed a bit, and the Rebels just outplayed Kentucky at their own game in the small ballpark in Lexington. A big series against Tennessee this weekend to see if they can bounce back.
8. Mississippi State (Average: 8.57)
Overall Record: 28-18, 11-10
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Ole Miss, 1-2 vs. Texas A&M
Thoughts on the Bulldogs:
-- What a disastrous series loss to Texas A&M. The Bulldogs are now just playing to get into the NCAA Tournament. Losing to Auburn next week is a legitimate possibility. As a Bulldog fan, I've given up on this team. If they put something together, great. But I'm not going to keep letting visions of Omaha dance in my head.
-- I mean, who really knows with MSU at this point. A five game winning streak followed by another weekend of offensive floundering and a bad series loss. Two of their final three series are on the road in the state of Alabama, sandwiched around a home series with Tennessee. Still a lot to play for, but big changes on offense are needed.
9. Arkansas (Average: 9.14)
Overall Record: 29-18, 10-11
Last Week: 2-0 vs. Northwestern St., 1-2 vs. Auburn
Thoughts on the Razorbacks:
-- From Arkansas Fight's game recap of the series dagger:
"This was the first home SEC series the Razorbacks have lost this year. Also, this was the first SEC series Auburn has won in its last four series."
It wasn't all bad though!
"The one aspect of the game that was successful was ticket sales. A record 11,742 tickets were bought for the doubleheader, and 10,217 showed up, good enough for the 6th largest crowd in Baum's history."
T10. Tennessee (Average: 9.86)
Overall Record: 26-16, 8-13
Last Week: 0-1 vs. E. Tennessee, 1-2 vs. LSU
Thoughts on the Volunteers:
-- Played well on the road against LSU, even if they did lose the series. I think they could surprise Kentucky this weekend.
-- The Vols actually played really well in Baton Rouge - something a lot of teams can't say -, but they weren't able to win a series that they had an opportunity to. They are still improved from previous seasons, but just not quite there.
T10. Texas A&M (Average 9.86)
Overall Record: 28-18, 10-11
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Rice, 2-1 vs. Mississippi State
Thoughts on the Aggies:
-- Kept their slim tournament hopes alive with a series win over Mississippi State.
-- From Good Bull Hunting's weekend preview:
"This should be a pretty closely contested series between what appear to be two rather evenly matched teams on paper, but I think the Bulldogs have enough talented pitching options to take the series from A&M. I expect the Bulldogs to win the first 2 games, and A&M to grab the Sunday game yet again. For the sake of making it back to the postseason, though, the Aggies need to prove me wrong."
Ohhh, and they did sir, they did.
12. Auburn (Average: 11.57)
Overall Record: 25-20, 9-12
Last Week: 1-0 vs. South Alabama, 2-1 vs. Arkansas
Thoughts on the Tigers:
-- The Tigers won't be able to do much themselves, but they seem like just the type of team that will foil a team's bid to win the West on the final weekend. Beware, LSU.
-- Had a nice week last week with a win over in-state opponent South Alabama and two wins against SEC West foe Arkansas. Their season is mostly done postseason-wise, but as commenter #1 said, they could still do damage to other teams left on their schedule **cough** MSU **cough**
13. Georgia (Average: 11.50)
Overall Record: 21-22-1, 7-13-1
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Kennesaw St., 0-3 vs. Vanderbilt
Thoughts on the Bulldogs:
-- The Bulldogs are not satisfied with just letting Missouri claim that dead-last spot in the league. Oh no sir. They are going to keep fighting until the final out this season to try and reclaim what would be theirs right now had the league not expanded a few years ago.
14. Missouri (Average: 14.00)
Overall Record: 20-24, 6-15
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Wichita St. & Illinois, 0-3 vs. Florida
Thoughts on the Tigers:
-- Somebody has to be the worst team in the league. Congrats, Missouri!
-- We can make all the jokes we want to about the Tigers of Missouri, but what we can't do is call them inconsistent.