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Power Rankings – Week 8: A New Number One

Not much movement in the Power Rankings this week, except near the top. We are starting to see the levels a bit more clearly within the conference four weeks in. At the top we have our 1-4 teams (all up for national seeds), in the middle 5-8 are the regional locks, while 9-12 are the bubble teams for now and then 13-14 bringing up the rear. Remember, these ranking are my personal opinion of how the teams look and are not necessarily representative of the Composite Rankings we use here at C & M that we put out on our Twitter account late Thursday morning before the weekend slate begins.

#1 Georgia – LW 3 – (27-6)

  • vs Vanderbilt, FRI: 3-2 L/11, SAT: 8-3 W, SUN: 3-1 W

Now this was an absolute battle. Congrats to the Bulldogs for getting the win and proving me wrong. Before the season, I didn’t see enough pitching (they were going to be plenty good) and I thought the loss of their top home run guy from last season would hurt them too much, but it has not played out that way. The Bulldogs find themselves at the top of the SEC standings with a 9-3 mark, have a 2 gmae lead on their closest competition (Vandy) and have an astonishing 5 game lead over the Florida Gators. Not shocked, but definitely surprising.

#2 Vanderbilt – LW 1 – (24-8)

  • @ Georgia, FRI: 3-2 W/11, SAT: 8-3 L, SUN: 3-1 L

I have said plenty of times, a road loss is not the end of the world as long as you get a win. While a series win here would have been extra nice for the Dores, it isn’t the end of the world by a long shot. Vandy sits at 7-5 in the conference and still has one of the scarier pitching staff’s in the conference. Don’t worry about the Dores. They will be back.

#3 Mississippi State – LW 2 – (27-6)

  • @ Tennessee, FRI: 6-3 W/11, SAT: 2-1 L, SUN: 7-5 W

This is a series that won’t get a lot of press but State should be congratulated for what they did. After a few weeks of figuring things out, Tennessee circled this series as one to announce they were ready to play. Friday was a battle that went into extras before the State offense let loose, Saturday was an absolute war that the Vols took. Then Sunday State used the base hit below to take the series. Good teams find ways to win on the road, and State is a good team.

#4 LSU – LW 5 – (23-10)

  • vs Texas A&M, FRI: 2-1 W, SAT G1: 6-4 L, SAT G2: 9-3 W

Another, did what they had to get done series for LSU. I had completely left the Tigers for dead after an unimpressive start to conference that now doesn’t look bad at all (series loss at Georgia). LSU is tied for the lead in a log jammed West and now they get set to take on a suddenly hot Missouri Tigers team in CoMo. Not sure if that one will make the Order of Preference for this weekend but it’s a set of scores I will be interested to check on. As for this past weekend, fantastic series win over a really good Aggies ballclub.

#5 Texas A&M – LW 4 – (25-8-1)

  • @ LSU, FRI: 2-1 L, SAT G1: 6-4 W, SAT G2: 9-3 L

You should never, ever, go in to Alex Box and expect a series win. And yet A&M was a base hit away from doing just that if Friday had gone a touch differently. Like Vanderbilt, this is not the end of the world by any means because they were able to get the one thing you must get on the road, at least one win. Now A&M heads back home to take on Auburn this weekend in what should be an interesting battle as both team really need to have this series.

#6 Ole Miss – LW 7 – (23-10)

  • vs Florida, FRI: 12-4 W, SAT G1: 16-4 W, SAT G2: 12-10 W

Talk about a whipping… Goodness Ole Miss, don’t hurt’em! Make it 2 series wins on the road for the Rebs after dropping a head scratcher to Mizzou. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a normal Florida team like we have seen over the past couple of year but still, this is a talented bunch of Gators that the Rebs just made road kill. Good on the Rebels as now they get Kentucky at Swazey Field.

#7 Arkansas – LW 6 – (24-8)

  • @ Auburn, FRI G1: 6-3 L, Friday G2: 9-6 W/15, SAT: 8-0 W

This was a bounce back that the Razorbacks needed after a surprising home series loss to Ole Miss the previous weekend. Auburn probably should have taken the series after a slip on the grass rounding 3rd in game 2 of the series however, Arkansas went on to take that game and bludgeoned the Tigers in the rubber match of the series. It doesn’t get any easier for the Piggies as they head up 65 to take on a Vanderbilt team that isn’t in the best of moods after their trip to Athens.

#8 Auburn – LW 8 – (23-9)

  • vs Arkansas, FRI G1: 6-3 W, FRI G2: 9-6 L/15, SAT: 8-0 W

The past couple of seasons, Auburn has somewhat had things go their way. Think back to 2 years ago, Conor Davis with a 3 run blast to propel the Tigers over South Carolina. Last season Brett Wright with a monster slam against UAB for the comeback win when all looked lost. Julien’s base hit over Kentucky in the SEC tournament that advanced the Tigers and sent the Cats packing. This season is beginning to look like it is different. Auburn was a wet blade of grass away from taking the series over Arkansas, they are two injuries away from having one of the scariest weekend rotations in the country. Yet all those things considered, Auburn sits just 1 game out of first place in the West after 4 weekends of play. The Tigers still have everything needed to do damage in this conference, it’s just a matter of putting it together and the newcomers stepping up even more to fill the gaps.

#9 Florida – LW 9 – (21-13)

  • @ Ole Miss, FRI: 12-4 L, SAT G1: 16-4 L, SAT G2: 12-10 L

Ouch Gator…ouch. Florida entered beautiful downtown Oxford riding high on a 5 game winning streak. That, however hit the wayside early Friday night….then Saturday…followed by Sunday, in which Florida had an 8-0 lead going into the bottom of the 4th…only to see Ole Miss take a 10-8 lead after the 5th inning. Such is life in major College Baseball, sometimes you can reload and young talent is ready, and sometimes you struggle to make things right. The good news is that Florida returns home this weekend to play South Carolina, where the Gators have won 10 of their last 12 games.

#10 Tennessee – LW 10 – (23-10)

  • vs Mississippi State, FRI: 6-3 L/11, SAT: 2-1 W, SUN: 7-5 L

It is a home series loss but this one shouldn’t get the normal finger wag. Tennessee did all it could against State but it just wasn’t enough. Tennessee is a rapidly improving team and should be taken seriously. If Georgia isn’t ready to go from first pitch, Tennessee can surprise them. I expect a similar result for this Vols this weekend but I also expect them to not give up and fight to the last out.

#11 Alabama – LW 11 – (22-11)

  • vs South Carolina, FRI G1: 9-0 W, FRI G2: 4-1 W, SAT: 5-4 L/12

Thaaaat close to a series sweep for the Tide that would have been a HUGE feather in the cap. The great thing about sweeps and road series wins is that it puts you +1 on your weekends. If you can do the unicorn and get a road series sweep it’s even better as a +2 weekend but I digress. Alabama did what was prescribed getting the 2 home wins but that 3rd one…so tantalizing. Why do I harp on this you ask? Cause Starkville is on the horizon for the Tide…and that could be the dreaded road series sweep…again…

#12 Missouri – LW 12 – (22-11-1)

  • vs Kentucky, FRI: 4-2 L, SAT: 5-4 W, SUN: 9-2 W

Another series win for the Tigers. I think the Tigers are starting to believe in their spoiler role for now, and if they are given good news by the NCAA review board and are given the post season back, they are putting themselves in great position to make Hoover (currently they would be the 9 seed and knock out South Carolina in the process). Just keep winning, and if they get a series win over LSU this weekend…man that would be big.

#13 South Carolina – LW 13 - (19-13)

  • @ Alabama, FRI G1: 9-0 L, FRI G2: 4-1 L, SAT: 5-4 W/12

You have to feel for Carolina. Injuries and a new lineup have just crippled the Gamecocks this season and this conference is so unforgiving. They did what they had to do and got the road win but that only makes them 3-9 in the SEC, good enough to just make Hoover…for now…

#14 Kentucky – LW 14 – (17-15)

  • @ Missouri, FRI: 4-2 W, SAT: 5-4 L, SUN: 9-2 L

Speaking of new lineups, the Bat Cats new lineup for this season is still getting acclimated to the competition level in the conference. The bad news, they get to see what Oxford is like in mid-April this weekend…uh oh.

SEC Standings (with Projected Tournament Bracket)