Batting Around: Week 2

1.) Florida Gators (7-1) - Florida holds steady at #1 this week after sweeping the William and Mary Tribe and taking mid-week games from Bethune-Cookman and UCF. The Gators lead the league in home runs (12) and are second in opposing batters struck out looking (26). An upcoming weekend series versus in-state rival Miami in Coral Gables will tell us if we are, in fact, dealing with a UF team that should be favored to win the SEC again.

2.) South Carolina Gamecocks (6-0) - The Gamecocks had an impressive weekend at home which featured not one, but two no-hit bids by aces Michael Roth and Matt Price. USC now leads the league in ERA (0.83) and opposing batting average (.102). The Gamecock pitching staff appears not to have skipped a beat in transition from last year, but can the 'Cocks develop a solid one-through-nine lineup at the plate again? This week South Carolina will tour its namesake state for a rival series with the Clemson Tigers. They'll play a game each in Charleston, Columbia, and Clemson. A series win could propel South Carolina to #1 in our little poll.

3.) Arkansas Razorbacks (7-1) - Taking two of three from Valparaiso at home isn't exactly impressive, but the Hogs do lead the league in on-base percentage (.443), RBIs (68), and are second in batting average (.336). This weekend the Razorbacks will up the ante schedule-wise by playing Texas Tech, Houston, and Texas in the Houston College Classic Tournament.

4.) Ole Miss Rebels (5-1) - By virtue of their splitting the season-opening series with TCU, Ole Miss has the best win of any of the middle-tier SEC teams. The Rebels' sweep of UNC Wilmington last weekend didn't tell us much, and the picture won't get any clearer this week with the likes of Memphis, Jackson State, and a series with Miami of Ohio on the horizon.

5.) Georgia Bulldogs (7-0) - At 7-0 the Bulldogs have an impressive record against competition that is less so. So far Georgia has scheduled series with the only two college baseball programs in the state of South Carolina that aren't worth a damn in Presbyterian and Winthrop. Even a win against powerhouse Georgia State isn't enough to push them above number #5. In fact, UGA places this high pretty much exclusively due to the ineptitude of other SEC brethren.

6.) Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-1) - Miss State owns wins against Washington State, Kansas, and Mississippi Valley State. There's some name recognition in there, but not a whole lot of substance. A few wins this week against Memphis, Connecticut, and Lipscomb might help their cause, but probably not by much.

7.) LSU Tigers (5-2) - The Bayou Bengals dropped two to Appalachian State last weekend. That leaves a sweep against Air Force the previous weekend as their most impressive victory. Things could get hairy for head coach Paul Mainieri if the fortunes of Tigers don't change soon. Sure, he brought a National Championship to Baton Rouge in 2009, but what have you done for me lately?

8.) Vanderbilt Commodores (1-6) - Am I really saying that a 1-6 Vaderbilt squad is better than undefeated Kentucky and Tennessee? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Last week I expressed misgivings for leaving the Commodores at #3 in the poll. Well, this past weekend the 'Dores got swept at home by Oregon. However, their defeat at the hands of Stanford is starting to look a little better considering the Cardinal swept the Texas Longhorns last weekend by a combined score of 26-3. (Fun fact, Stanford's baseball stadium is called "Sunken Diamond") I'm still guessing that Vandy has some fight left in them this season, but they need to get it together quick. A series against Rhode Island might be just what the doctor ordered.

9.) Kentucky Wildcats (6-0) - After another series sweep, this time of Buffalo, the Wildcats move into the meat of their schedule... in three weeks. This week their weekend opponent is the University of Illinois - Chicago.

10.) Tennessee Volunteers (7-0) - The Vols held pat this week after sweeping Seton Hall at home. They actually have the chance to move up next week after playing in the above-mentioned Houston College Classic this weekend. Perhaps I've underestimated the smoking crater that is Tennessee athletics right now.

11.) Auburn Tigers (4-4) - Auburn dropped a series to Arizona in Tucson last weekend 2-1. They've played one of the harder schedules in the SEC to this point, but their history and their record are still working against them. Auburn is 3rd in the SEC in batting average (.326), 4th in slugging percentage (.454), and 4th in on-base percentage (.420). This is a team that has the potential to make the SEC tournament, but they need to show me something first.

12.) Alabama Crimson Tide (3-3) - The Crimson Tide moved to an even .500 on the season after sweeping Arkansas Pine Bluff. Color me unimpressed. They rank near the bottom of the SEC in all major statistical categories (but not last in any of them!).

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