Batting Around: Week 1

1.) Florida Gators - Florida proved itself the best team in the SEC, if not the country, this weekend when it took two of three from perrenial baseball power Cal State Fullerton. The gators may have won the series, but they didn't quite look like the unstopped force that some thought they might be... at least not yet. They allowed 13 runs over the course of the three games, which is only good enough for a 4.33 ERA. The Gator offense was in full swing, though. Preston Tucker and Mike Zunio lead the team by hitting .545 and .417, respectively, en route to posting 18 runs. Tucker belted two home runs.

2.) South Carolina Gamecocks - As we've previously covered, the Gamecocks took care of business this weekend, winning three games against a scrappy VMI team. Michael Roth was his usual self, while the Gamecocks defense shored up after Friday night's game. The USC bats were mostly quiet until the second game of the Saturday double-header, but combined to still slug .485 on the weekend. Perhaps most surprising offense-wise was a little show of power out of freshman TJ Costen. Costen belted a homerun in the eighth inning of a 13-1 blowout, but it was an encouraging sign none-the-less.

3.) Vanderbilt Commodores - Ouch. Vanderbilt traveled across the breadth of our great country to Palo Alto, California to take on the Stanford Cardinal in their season-opening series. The Commordores got swept - albeit by the second best team in the nation according to Baseball America. You've probably noticed that I haven't dropped them in the poll even though they were outscored by a combined 35-13 margin over the weekend. Yeesh. Frankly, I'm already rethinking my position, but it's a long season and I'm willing to give the Commodores one more week to prove they can be the team I thought they were. You're officially on notice, Vanderbilt.

4.) Arkansas Razorbacks - The Hogs did me proud by sweeping Villanova in convincing fashion. They outscored their opening weekend opponent by a combined 41-7 margin. This might just be the best team in the conference, but I'm not willing to go there until I see how they play against a ranked opponent.

5.) LSU Tigers - In a weekend that makes no sense to me, LSU took two games from Air Force and one from Alcorn State. The Tigers appear to be back to their winning ways, but like the above caveat with the Razorbacks, the strength of opponent must be taken into consideration.

6.) Georgia Bulldogs - The Bulldogs took on the mighty Presbyterian Blue Hose at home this weekend, winning each contest decisively. Their schedule is chock full of mid-major programs until the middle of March when they face UCLA at home prior to the start of SEC play. I foresee the Bulldogs winning a lot of games between now and then, but I also don't see them moving very far up the poll. Go figure.

7.) Mississippi State Bulldogs -Other than the obvious exceptions of Florida, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss, MSU probably had the toughest opening opponent of any SEC quad. The Bulldogs took two of three from Washington State, which is a good omen for a team looking to build on a surprisingly strong 2011 campaign.

8.) Ole Miss Rebels - Splitting a series a TCU - at Fort Worth - is pretty good way to start the season. Thus, the Rebels are up to number eight in a little poll. Unfortunately, the middle game of the series was rained out, so we don't have a decisive swing game to mold our perception of this team. The Rebels are largely an unknown quantity at this point, but with so much young talent on the roster they have a big upside.

9.) Kentucky Wildcats - I'm not quite sure what possessed the Wildcats to do such a thing, but they traveled to Spartanburg, SC to begin their season last weekend. The 'Cats won a game each against Wofford, Eastern Michigan, and USC Upstate. Maybe not big names in the college baseball world, but all you can do is win the games you play. Kentucky's schedule will be plenty hard once SEC play rolls around.

10.) Tennessee Volunteers - By sweeping Northern Illinois over the weekend the Volunteers have already matched their number of three-game sweeps from a year ago. Congratulations to the Volunteers, but something tells me they still have a few seasons of climbing before they get out of the hole dug by seasons' past.

11.) Auburn Tigers - Speaking of digging holes, Auburn lost 2 of three to Missouri over the weekend. Missouri, by way of being a future SEC squad, must own a pretty decent baseball program, right? I'm not really sure about that, but what I am sure about is that the state of Alabama had a tough weekend on the diamond.

12.) Alabama Crimson Tide - Got swept by Florida Atlantic. At home. And didn't score more than four runs in any one game in the process. Perhaps Florida Atlantic is actually a much better team than, say, Northern Illinois. I'm not sure. But you don't get swept on opening weekend - at home - by an unranked team and not drop to last place in my power poll.

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