Batting Around: Week 3

1.) Florida Gators (10-1) - The #1 ranked Gators took their talents to South Beach this weekend for a series with the #15 Miami Hurricanes. Florida added to an already impressive early-season resume with a sweep of the Hurricanes by the combined score of 28-15. Coach O'Sullivan and crew can now lay claim to the most impressive series sweep in the conference. The Gators reached double digits in hits in every game and only committed two errors on the weekend. They're for real, folks.

2.) South Carolina Gamecocks (9-1) - The #3 ranked Gamecocks notched a gritty win against the Clemson Tigers on Friday at a neutral field. The bi-partisan crowd included such distinguished guests as Bill Murray, but even the star of Groundhog's Day couldn't provide enough magic for the 'Cocks to give the Tigers the same nightmare three days in a row. They seemed like they might put it in cruise control after Saturday's 9-6 victory, but errors and mental miscues continued to plague the Gamecocks on Sunday. The Gamecocks committed 8 errors over the weekend, half of which belonged to talented freshman shortstop Joey Pankake. They also are last in the SEC in hits (88), RBI (50), doubles (10), on-base percentage (.340), and walks (31). The pitching staff is carrying this team right now with the lowest batting average against in the league (.153). Something has to give for the two-time defending national champions.

3.) Arkansas Razorbacks (11-2) - The #4 ranked Razorbacks had a decent week, sweeping a two-game mid-week series with BYU and taking games from Texas Tech and Texas but falling to Houston in the Houston College Classic. Arkansas did not allow more than four runs to be scored on them at any point in the week.

Catch the rest of our ranking beyond the jump...

4.) Ole Miss Rebels (7-1) - The #14 ranked Rebels won mid-week games against Memphis and Jaskson State before taking two of three from Miami of Ohio at home. This weekend they'll host Houston in a three-game series and try to succeed where Arkansas could not.

5.) Georgia Bulldogs (10-2) - The 'Dawgs' first losses last week whittles the number of undefeated SEC teams is down to one (Kentucky, but we'll get to that later). Number 9 ranked Georgia dropped a mid-week game to Western Carolina and only notched two out of three wins against Western Illinois. I don't know anything about these two western schools, and, frankly, that's all I need to know. I think UGA is still on track to make the SEC and NCAA tournaments, but we'll have to see what they can do against decent competition first. They play their first away game this week against Kennesaw State at the Gwinnett Braves' facility in Lawrenceville, GA. Then UCLA comes to town for the Dawg's first real test before SEC play begins.

6.) LSU Tigers (10-2) - The #13 Bayou Bengals got back to their winning ways this week by pounding out 65 runs in 5 games. Sure, their opponents were a combination of Grambling, McNeese St., and Dartmouth, but averaging 13 runs a game is impressive no matter the opponent. That's why LSU is the only team to move up in the week's Batting Around. If LSU can show up this week against the likes of Michigan and Notre Dame they just may be ready to move up our little poll even further. First baseman Mason Katz is one to watch for the Tigers. The Junior is batting .500 and slugging an insane .950(!) right now. Look for LSU to go on a tear at some point this season.

7.) Mississippi State Bulldogs (10-2) - The #23 ranked Bulldogs are treading water in our standings this week after dropping a mid-week game to Memphis but taking two a piece from Connecticut and Lipscomb. About what you'd expect from a middle-of-the-pack SEC team. They do lead the league in strike outs (82), which could indicate the potential to upset some big-time opponents down the road.

8.) Vanderbilt Commodores (4-7) - The Commodores swept Rhode Island this week, but only after dropping a mid-week game to Louisiana Tech. Vanderbilt may own one of only two losing records in the SEC to date, but they get credit as the only team to travel out of state for a series -- against what is probably the #1 team in the country, no less. I'd hate to drop the 'Dores below Kentucky because I really do think that Vandy is the better team. However, if they don't shape up soon I'll be left with only one logical choice. Vandy is worst in the SEC in both batting average (.258) and ERA (5.53). When was the last time you could say that?

9.) Kentucky Wildcats (11-0) - Kentucky swept a menagerie of opponents last week that included Morehead St., Xavier, and Chicago-Illinois. An 11-0 record is nothing to sneer at, but considering the highest RPI that one of their opponents ended 2011 with is Eastern Michigan at 123, I'm not drinking the blue Kool-aid just yet. In fact, the average 2011-ending RPI of Kentucky's opponents this year is a robust 210. That number climbs to 223 if you take the number of games played against each opponent into consideration. Kentucky leads the league in batting average (.334) and fielding percentage (.983). Could we be seeing the rise of a new power in the East this year?

10.) Tennessee Volunteers (8-3) - The Vols earned a victory over Texas last weekend at the Houston Classic. Victories over Texas don't carry as much weight as they used to around these parts (The Longhorns are 4-7 on the year with losses to Duke, UT-Arlington, Stanford (3), Houston Baptist, Tennessee, and Arkansas). Of course, Tennessee also lost to a good Rice squad and what looks like could be a decent Houston team. The Vols will have to do a little more to impress me if they want to move up in our little poll... or wait till Kentucky finally stumbles. You know, whichever comes first.

11.) Auburn Tigers (7-6) - Aurburn took a pair of mid-week games from Alabama State before dropping a pair to Purdue and Southern Mississippi during the weekend. They rounded out their slate with a 13-1 victory over Charleston Southern on Saturday that's less than impressive. The Tigers may be sitting on the right side of .500 for now, but that could change after Tuesday's non-conference game with rival Alabama (yeah, you read that right). Auburn leads the league in runs scored, but a team ERA of 4.14 may make this a long season for them.

12.) Alabama Crimson Tide (5-6) - Speaking of long seasons, the Tide went 2-3 last week with one loss to Southern Mississippi and two to Tulane. A victory a piece over cupcake South Alabama and Tulane isn't enough to budge the Crimson Tide from our poll's lowest rung. The Tide could reach .500 by defeating Auburn on Tuesday at a neutral field in Montgomery.

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