SEC baseball starts conference playPublished 2:05pm Friday, March 14, 2014
The Southeaster Conference opens conference play today and going into today, there are eight teams ranked in the top 30 of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll.
There are various other polls, but I prefer to use this as my guideline. It is the one poll that the voters actually see who they are voting on. Writers attend each game, so rather than take someone’s word for it, I would go with the NCBWA.
Regardless of which poll you choose, the unanimous choice for the top spot is South Carolina (16-0).
The Atlantic Coast Conference has six teams listed in the top 30, but the SEC is by far the dominant conference in college baseball.
Here is the slate for the first weekend of conference play.
South Carolina (16-0) will host No. 14 Mississippi (16-2).
No. 5 Vanderbilt (16-2) is at home with No. 6 LSU (16-2)
No. 20 Mississippi State (13-7) visits Georgia (12-6). The Bulldogs have won 10 straight games.
No. 21 Kentucky (13-4) travels to Alabama (10-5). Bama has won six- straight games.
No. 23 Texas A&M (13-5) will play at Auburn (11-6). Tigers have won five straight games.
No. 26 Tennessee (15-1) plays at Missouri (8-7).
Florida (11-6) hosts Arkansas (8-5).
The SEC has the distinction each year of being the “Best conference in the nation.”
You will not get an argument from me, but what really impresses me is the top to bottom records of each of the 14 teams across the board.
If you believe in early numbers, by now you would have noticed that every team has a winning record. How about all but two teams have at least 10 wins, and the season is only one month old today?
The only difference between SEC college football and baseball is that in football, they only have one opportunity to take out the other conference opponent.
Baseball plays three head-to-head conference games within their division against each team, so the SEC will undoubtedly beat each other up during division play.
When the two divisions (Eastern and Western) finish regular season play, only 12 of the 14 teams will advance to the annual SEC Baseball tournament. The tournament is double-elimination.
The winner of the SEC tournament is automatically qualified for the NCAA tournament, which expanded from 48 to 64 teams in 1999. With the SEC being so competitive, most likely there will be eight teams receiving at-large bids to play in the NCAA tournament.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has six teams ranked in the top 30, with Florida State (14-2), Virginia (8-2) and North Carolina State (14-2) in the top 10.
The ACC began conference play last weekend with N.C. State, No. 22 Miami and No. 17 Clemson all going 3-0.
The key matchup this weekend will be between Atlantic Division foes, N.C. State at FSU. Like the SEC, the ACC is split into two divisions, the Atlantic and the Coastal.
Baseball is in full swing (sorry, I couldn’t resist), so unless there is breaking news that I just can’t stay away from, it will be baseball for the next few months.
I will not discuss the goings on during spring football and I am sure that I will continue my perfect record of never attending either A-Day game.
In my many years in Southern California, I never attended one Trojans spring game, which was called the “Trojan Huddle.” Now it is just called the “spring game.” I was just never that bored.
Notes on a scorecard: I will attempt to give you short anecdote at the end of the column regarding an ex-player. The sport is not important as the side note will tell you everything you need to know.
I will begin with one of my favorite names, Duke Carmel. He had a perfect baseball name – brief, virile, alliterative. He just didn’t have anything else to go along with it.
This is a tragedy of a different order and one which I am not prepared to go into in great detail at this time, except to say that should you be considering a name such as Babe, Pee Wee or Rocky, for your first born son, it would perhaps be best to check out the little rascal’s reflexes before you go about making it official.
Until next time …
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.