Two weeks into the college baseball season, and we stand pretty much where we did two weeks ago. The teams expected to be good are just that.
However, the teams expected to be the SEC dregs, are not there yet. Part of it is, of course, this is the SEC. It’s the best league in the sport. Even the bottom-feeders of the conference are better than two-thirds of the rest of the sport. So when those SEC teams face off against most nonconference opponents, it’s no surprise when your Alabamas and Georgias hold records better than their ability against the rest of the SEC would suggest.
The biggest news of the week was with Mississippi State. Andy Cannizaro, in only his second season as coach, is out after some off-field revelations. The Bulldogs won three of four despite that. Still, they took the biggest tumble, and the wonder comes just what Mississippi State will be the rest of this season.
14. Alabama (14)
Last week: Beat Middle Tennessee State, swept Washington State (4-0)
This week: at Samford, vs. Alabama State, at Oklahoma (3 games)
The 7-0 start is impressive for a team that won just 19 games in 2017. Of course, the Crimson Tide haven’t beaten anyone considered an NCAA Tournament squad. Let’s see what they do against OU this week.
13. Tennessee (12)
Last week: Beat Lipscomb, won series against North Carolina-Greensboro (2-1)
This week: vs. Middle Tennessee State, vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, vs. East Tennessee State, vs. Memphis, vs. Middle Tenneessee
A schedule quirk has the Volunteers playing MTSU twice this week, but once Tuesday and once Sunday. The week is an opportunity for Tennessee to continue its winning ways. The Vols are better than all of their opponents and won necessary games last week. Still, long way to go.
12. Georgia (13)
Last week: Beat Kennesaw State, swept Charlotte (4-0)
This week: vs. Wofford, vs. Georgia State, at Charleston (3 games)
Like Alabama, the Bulldogs are beating the teams they should. A weak nonconference schedule, which continues this week, will bloat Georgia’s record and may make it difficult to tell just how good a team it is.
11. Missouri (11)
Last week: Beat Miami (Fla.), split series vs Northeastern (2-2)
This week: vs. Alabama A&M (2 games), vs. Maryland-Baltimore County (3 games)
The win over 24th-ranked Miami was quality, even if it did come in a midweek game. Splitting against a team from Boston, where teams aren’t even playing outside much yet, not so much. Five winnable games this week to turn it around.
10. Mississippi State (8)
Last week: Beat Jackson State, beat Cal Santa Barbara, beat Nicholls State, lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
This week: at Texas-Rio Grande, at McNeese State, vs. Louisiana, vs. Houston, vs. Sam Houston State
No one would have been shocked had Mississippi State folded up shop this week. The Bulldogs were left reeling after the sudden resignation of coach Andy Cannizaro. An extramarital affair, per a report, the reason. The team, instead, simply won. After an 0-3 start, it was paramount. Can’t knock them for beating the teams they should, nor can we for their former coach’s alleged indiscretions. Ignore the loss to TAMU-CC.
9. South Carolina (10)
Last week: Beat North Florida, beat Winthrop, won series vs. Charleston Southern
This week: vs. Furman, vs. Clemson (3 games)
We can all see, really, what the Gamecocks have this weekend. Clemson is, again, a Top 25 team. It being a rivalry series means both will try on top of that. South Carolina probably will be in a borderline at-large position for the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year, so taking a series against a quality opponent can help that cause.
8. Auburn (9)
Last week: Beat Georgia State, beat Troy, swept Bryant (5-0)
This week: at South Alabama, vs BYU (3 games)
Casey Mize, perhaps the best pitcher in the SEC, didn’t have the weekend most thought he would against Bryant. Long-term, though, doesn’t really matter. Auburn won despite a less-than-stellar effort from its best player and stayed undefeated. We’ll learn more this week against a Sun Belt team in the Top 25 and BYU, the expected winners of the West Coast Conference.
7. Vanderbilt (7)
Last week: Swept Presbyterian (2-0), swept UMass-Lowell (3-0)
This week: vs. Austin Peay, vs. Indiana State, vs. Sam Houston State, vs. Louisiana, vs. Houston
Probably no team in the SEC had an easier week than Vandy did. That changes this week. Sam Houston State has a bit of punch. Louisiana definitely does. Houston is a Top 25 team. Five games in six days can test the mettle.
6. Ole Miss (6)
Last week: Beat Memphis, swept Tulane (3-0)
This week: vs. Murray State, at Long Beach State (3 games)
Tulane isn’t the baseball power it once was, but the Green Wave aren’t terrible. Long Beach State will provide the first real, sustained test for a Rebels team we are not completely sold on just yet. The Rebels can pitch. Not convinced they can hit.
5. LSU (5)
Last week: Beat New Orleans, won series vs Texas (2-1)
This week: vs. Grambling, at Southeastern Louisiana, vs. Toledo, vs. Sacred Heart, vs. SELA
Quality bounce-back week for the Tigers after being embarrassed a bit against Notre Dame in the first week. Texas is a good team from a good league. The 11-1 final on Sunday is a bit high, but Sunday games can be that. LSU gets to take a breath this week, as the schedule is less than demanding.
4. Texas A&M (4)
Last week: Beat Stephen F. Austin, swept Cornell (3-0)
This week: vs. Houston Baptist, vs. Incarnate Word, vs. Louisiana Tech, vs. Baylor, vs. California
Full disclosure: The writer is a Cornell man. But let’s be real, the Big Red are not a challenge. Texas A&M, like Vanderbilt above, will get a real test this week with five games.
3. Arkansas (2)
Last week: Beat Arizona, lost to Cal Poly, beat San Diego State, lost to San Diego
This week: vs Dayton (2 games), vs. Southern Cal (3 games)
The week out west was important for an Arkansas team that will be consistently tested by its nonconference schedule. Both losses came by 1 run. The bats were a bit quieter than is comfortable, but three of the four games the pitching was outstanding. No sense to drop the Hogs far.
2. Kentucky (3)
Last week: Lost to Xaiver, swept Oakland (3-0)
This week: vs. Western Kentucky, at Houston, vs. Sam Houston State, vs. Louisiana
Practically everyone is losing in the SEC at this point. Only two unbeaten teams left. The Xavier loss is, accordingly, no sweat. Kentucky blasted Oakland in retaliation as Sean Hjelle nearly had a no-hitter. The Wildcats are scary and good and scary good.
1. Florida (1)
Last week: Beat Florida Atlantic, beat Bethune-Cookman, beat Miami (Fla.) 2-1
This week: vs. North Florida (2 games, 1 in Jacksonville, Fla.), vs. Stony Brook (3 games)
Miami beat Florida for the first time since 2016, and it’s still not enough to knock the Gators from the top spot. This isn’t football, or even basketball. One game does not make or break things. Florida is still the prohibitive national title favorite.
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