Barry's Tuesday thoughts on SEC baseball
Barry Allen • 3/23/2021 in Baseball
Our Barry Allen has some mid-week observations.
Reuben Church/Coltyn Kessler photo courtesy of Kentucky athletics.
The SEC is the best conference in college baseball.
The SEC Western Division is the toughest division in sports.
After two weeks of league play, the SEC has the No. 1 RPI according to WarrenNolan.com. Arkansas holds down the No. 1 spot in the latest RPI rankings. South Carolina (#8) and Tennessee (#9) are the only other SEC teams in the Top 10 RPI. Ole Miss (#12), Vanderbilt (#14) and Alabama (#17) are in the Top 20.
Entering the third weekend of league play, seven teams have a losing conference record. Four of those seven teams have one win or less in SEC play. Five teams have yet to win a series.
Should there be concern?
Or are the teams in the best baseball conference beating up on one another?
Ole Miss (20-4, 6-0) and Arkansas (19-3, 5-1) are the only two teams in the SEC Western Division with winning conference records. The Rebels and Hogs are a combined 11-1 in SEC play.
Things haven’t gone as well for the rest the division.
The other five teams are a combined 6-24 (.200) as the teams have beat up on one another the first two weeks. Ten of the 14 SEC series this season have been within the division.
Mississippi State and Texas A&M are both 2-4 in league play. Alabama and LSU are 1-5. LSU has dropped its first two SEC series for the first time since 2016. The Tigers host Vanderbilt this weekend in Baton Rouge. LSU has not dropped its first three SEC series since 2006. Auburn is 0-6 and plays Arkansas and Miss. State the next two weeks.
The SEC West hasn’t fared very well against the SEC East the first two weeks. The East is 10-2 (.833) against the West this season and has won three of the four series. All three series wins were sweeps.
Florida swept Texas A&M in the first weekend of the season. The Gators looked like the preseason No. 1 team in the country against the Aggies.
Tennessee and Kentucky swept SEC Western Division teams last weekend. Tennessee swept LSU for only the second time in school history, winning two of the three games in walk off fashion. Kentucky won all three games at Auburn, picking up its first SEC road sweep since 2017.
The SEC Western Division’s lone series win came last week when Texas A&M won two of three at home with Georgia. The Aggies have not played a series against an SEC Western Division foe in the first two weeks.
Five of the seven teams in the SEC Eastern Division have a .500 or better record in league play. Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are all 5-1. South Carolina is 4-2 and Florida is 3-3. Georgia (2-4) and Missouri (1-5) both have losing records through two weeks.
Five of the seven series this weekend are cross-division series. The only SEC Western Division matchup is Auburn at Arkansas, while the lone Eastern Division series is South Carolina at Georgia.