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SEC baseball playoffs just a power play

Published 10:14am Thursday, May 9, 2013

After going 2-0 last week, the Commodores (41-6) lead the nation for a second consecutive week.
North Carolina (42-4, 1-0 last week), Cal State Fullerton (39-7, 3-0 last week), LSU (43-6, 4-0 last week) and Oregon State (37-8, 3-0 last week) round out the top five teams.
Vanderbilt and LSU will no doubt be the top two seeds in the upcoming SEC baseball tournament.
The SEC tournament will be played for the 16th consecutive year at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium from May 21-26.
There will be 12 teams in the tournament, which means only two of the 14 eligible conference teams make it in the tournament.
In my humble opinion, that needs to change.
By allowing so many teams into the tournament, you have what amounts to as a watered-down version of an extension of conference play.
The teams are seeded based upon their conference winning percentage.
OK, I get that, but where is the incentive to do well when you are locked into the tournament by say, two-thirds into the season?
As of this date, there are only seven teams playing .500 baseball or better in the 14 team conference.
That is based on conference play only, and that is how they will ultimately be chosen.
Vanderbilt (21-2), South Carolina (13-10) and Florida (12-12) in the Eastern Division , and LSU (19-5), Arkansas (15-8), Mississippi State (13-11) and Mississippi (12-12) make up the Western Division leaders.
Then comes the under .500 club made up of teams such as Alabama (11-12, .478 win percentage), Auburn (9-15, .375 win percentage), Texas A&M (10-13, .435 win percentage) and Kentucky (10-14 , .417 win percentage).
But do not fret, all four teams would still make the tournament if the SECended play today.
The only teams that appear to be out of the race or on the bubble would be Georgia (5-16 SEC), Missouri (7-17 SEC) and Tennessee (6-16 SEC)
Auburn has six conference games remaining, three with three at Florida and three with Arkansas at home.
Alabama , who lost all three last weekend to Mississippi State, also has three games at home with Missouri and a final weekend at Vanderbilt.
Alabama looks to be in good shape but Auburn needs to win at least two of three from Florida and then scoreboard watch the final weekend while playing Arkansas.
As a baseball purist, I honestly do not care who makes the tournament. But if you are going to have something called a “tournament”, at least try and disguise the real reason for allowing so many teams into postseason play.
Don’t tell me this is not about money.  We all know how badly the SEC needs more funds to operate.
We will wait and see how the next two weekends turn out. Regardless, my pick is Vanderbilt to win the SEC Tournament.
Until next time…
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.