Power Rankings – Week 9: The Curse of Being on Top Continues
Oh the peril of being on top. One minute its fanfare and platitudes from the masses. Then, its desolation and forgotten-ness. This week this distinguished honor goes to the Georgia Bulldogs who fell haaaaaard from on high at Rocky Top like they were a bunch of lawmen looking for a shine still. There were definitely some other surprises to be had across the land this weekend, looking at you Ole Miss and LSU. Let’s get to it, and remember, these are power rankings and don’t effect, nor reflect the C&M Top 25 that will come out Thursday around noon.
#1 Vanderbilt – LW 2 – (27-9)
- vs Arkansas, FRI: 3-2 W, SAT: 12-2 W, SUN: 14-12 L
If you just love baseball, all 3 of these games were fun to you. Friday was a pitcher’s duel that also had a ton of strategy. Saturday was just a whipping while Sunday was that offensive showcase that both teams are built for. Ah, the Sunday no pitching left firework show. However, the beat down shot came Saturday…Goodness.
#2 Georgia – LW 1 – (29-8)
- @ Tennessee, THU: 2-0 L, FRI: 3-0 L, SAT: 7-1 W
This one looks bad but it really isn’t. Georgia knew that if they couldn’t generate runs that it would have trouble and the offense was handcuffed for the first 18 innings of this series. The good news you can take from this if you are the Dawgs is that it wasn’t a sweep so nothing was truly lost in Knoxville.
#3 Mississippi State – LW 3 – (31-6)
- vs Alabama, FRI: 6-0 W, SAT: 9-1 W, SUN: 13-3 W
It can’t get much better for you if you are a State fan than it was this weekend. At no point did you feel like Alabama had a shot to threaten you after things started going. Everyone looked good on a cold weekend in Starkville and you reclaimed the top spot in the West and are tied for the league lead. No bad Bulldogs, not bad.
#4 Texas A&M – LW 5 – (27-10-1)
- vs Auburn, FRI: 4-0 W, SAT: 7-0 L, SUN: 4-1 W
The sign of a good team is winning when you don’t have your best stuff and that’s exactly what Texas A&M did in game 3 of this series. John Doxakis was fantastic against Auburn Friday, limiting the Tigers to 7 hits with 6 Ks but more importantly, just 2 walks. Sunday however, the Aggies used five different arms to keep Auburn off balance and only give up 1 run for the series clincher that they had to have.
#5 LSU – LW 4 – (24-13)
- @ Missouri, FRI: 12-11 W/10, SAT: 4-1 L, SUN: 11-5 L
This one is a tough one to wrap my arms around. Yeah, you are LSU and this was a series loss. Yeah, it was on the road to a hot Missouri club that is starting to put it together. All this really does is continue the roller coaster season that the Tigers are on this year. If you are an LSU fan, you got a win on the road and you didn’t get swept, now head back to the Box and get ready for the Gators.
#6 Tennessee – LW 10 – (26-11)
- vs Georgia, THU: 2-0 W, FRI: 3-0 W, SAT: 7-1 L
Earlier this season, I mentioned that if you had dominant pitching, then you had a good shot against Georgia. TA-DAAA! Tennessee got that from their pair of Garrett’s (Crochet and Stallings) who combined to go 14 innings including a CG from Stallings in a masterful 5 hitter to take the series from the Dawgs. Yeah, that Saturday game got away from them but who cares. This was all about just getting the series and Tennessee did that one in style.
#7 Arkansas – LW 7 – (26-10)
- @ Vanderbilt, FRI: 3-2 L, SAT: 12-2 L, SUN: 14-12 W
At the beginning of the season, I think if you offered Dave Van Horn a split of this back to back road swing, he would have taken it in a heartbeat. Winning at Plainsman Park is tougher than you would think but scratching even one at Hawkins Field is an even taller task. The Hogs were able to do that and now get to head home for a much needed (and pivotal) home series with State this weekend.
#8 Ole Miss – LW 6 – (25-12)
- vs Kentucky, FRI: 8-2 W, SUN G1: 4-1 L/7, SUN G2: 4-2 L/7
WHAT IN THE WORLD?! You mean to tell me that the Rebels can PUNISH Florida last weekend, but they let the Bat Cats in and take the series at Swazey Field?! This was a jaw dropper to follow on Sunday, even if it was in 7 innings. Both teams knew how long both games would be so don’t use that excuse. The rare -1 home series from Ole Miss is a hit but can be made up. Can they do it against a desperate Auburn team? We will see.
#9 Missouri – LW 12 – (25-12-1)
- vs LSU, FRI: 12-11 L/10, SAT: 4-1 W, SUN: 11-5 W
After doing some reading, since Missouri appealing their athletics ban, means that they should be able to participate in the postseason which is perhaps why the Tigers are playing like gang busters. A monster series victory over LSU this weekend is just the latest conquest. Good on you Mizzou. Now the real question, can you keep it going now that everyone knows who you are.
#10 Florida – LW 9 – (24-14)
- vs South Carolina, THU: 9-5 W, FRI: 6-3 L, SAT: 6-4 W
If there has ever been a deflating series win, you are looking at it. Reid Morgan has been the only thing going for South Carolina from a pitching stand point and the Gators were able to touch him up for 7 runs on Thursday night. After that game when final, I thought to myself, “well, there goes a series sweep for Florida and they kind of erase the Ole Miss series from last week.” Welp! South Carolina pitching was able to scatter 11 Gator hits to only account for 3 runs and they took an important game from the Gators. Tough luck series win I guess. At least the series clincher came in dramatic fashion…
#11 Auburn – LW 8 – (24-12)
- @ Texas A&M, FRI: 4-0 L, SAT: 7-0 W, SUN: 4-1 L
At the beginning of the season, the one place Auburn felt pretty firm was on offense. Auburn lost Brett Wright and Brendan Venter but returned Holland, Julien, Williams, Davis, and an improved Judd Ward while adding Bliss, Howell, Woley and (what’s turned out to be the biggest surprise of all) Scheffler. While hits have come earlier in the season, it seems like a slump has hit everyone at the same time. Currently, Auburn only has 3 hitters over .275 and no one hitting over .300. When you take the 4 big returning names (Holland, Julien, Davis and Williams) by themselves, they are hitting a combined .257 which is much too low for this team. The pitching was good enough to win this weekend, the offense wasn’t.
#12 Alabama – LW 11 – (23-14)
- @ Mississippi State, FRI: 6-0 L, SAT: 9-1 L, SUN: 13-3 L
To say this is a surprise would be wrong, but I guess there was a hope that Alabama could salvage a game. However, there was just too much State and not enough fight. Now the question will be does the season unravel from here, or can Coach Bo circle the wagons and turn this season around.
#13 Kentucky – LW 14 – (20-16)
- @ Ole Miss, FRI: 8-2 L, SUN G1: 4-1 W/7, SUN G2: 4-2 W/7
Talk about coming out of nowhere. The Friday result isn’t a shocker but to get a +1 day in Oxford is as close to a unicorn as Kentucky can probably get this year. What a huge weekend for the Bat Cats as they were able to take advantage of Rebel pitching mistakes when they made them.
#14 South Carolina – LW 13 - (21-15)
- @ Florida, THU: 9-5 L, FRI: 6-3 W, SAT: 6-4 L
SO CLOSE! The Gamecocks were an out away from a monster road series win in Gainesville but it wasn’t to be. They do get the road win though and avoid the nasty sweep, which is huge since Reid Morgan wasn’t who he has been all season.
SEC STANDINGS (and projected Tournament Bracket)
I’m having trouble getting the image to come up so here is the link to the standings if you can’t see it and want to.