1. Kentucky Wildcats (35-6 / 13-5)
There shouldn't have any longer been any doubt that Kentucky is for real, but if there was, Kentucky put it to rest this weekend by taking the series from LSU, who is perhaps the conference's second-best team. The naysayers keep waiting for a letdown, and Kentucky keeps chugging along. Vanderbilt is next before the SEC EAST BASEBALL APOCALYPSE against Florida.
2. LSU Tigers (32-9 / 12-6)
I thought of dropping LSU below Florida, but the Tigers' series win over the Gators is still fresh in my mind, and you can't fault LSU for losing to Kentucky. It's difficult to imagine LSU not winning the West, with Arkansas and Ole Miss the closest contenders with 9-9 records.
3. Florida Gators (31-9 / 11-7)
The Gators gutted out a tough series victory over a feisty Georgia this weekend. One victory was a dramatic 16-inning effort on Friday night. Florida has a big series with Arkansas this weekend, followed by the showdown with UK.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks (30-11 / 11-7)
One of the SEC's hottest teams, the Gamecocks have eight straight SEC victories and two straight series sweeps. They're now back in the thick of the conference title race after their slow start.
5. Mississippi Rebels (28-12 / 9-9)
While there is a fairly clear pecking order among the top four, the next three teams are difficult to distinguish. Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Georgia have beaten up on each other, and they each look about the same in terms of being dangerous but flawed teams. I'm going to go with Ole Miss here based on RPI.
Again, not really much separating Arkansas from Georgia or Ole Miss. RPI does give the two Western teams a big lead over UGA.
7. Georgia Bulldogs (24-17 / 8-10)
Georgia has a worse conference record than the prior two teams, but it's playing in the clearly more difficult Eastern Division, which evens things out a bit in my view. What distinguishes them as the worse team is that they've lost quite a few mid-week games, some in ugly fashion. Talented team (as always), but too mistake-prone and snake-bitten.
8. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (24-16 / 8-10)
Mississippi St. bounced back from a crushing sweep to South Carolina with a sweep of its own against Tennessee. What separates this team from the three above it, to me, is its failure to win quality games.
9. Tennessee Volunteers (22-18 / 7-11)
10. Auburn Tigers (21-19 / 7-11)
They're falling fast, but it's hard to put them below Vanderbilt or Alabama. It's even harder to believe they took a series from LSU at one point.
11. Vanderbilt Commodores (18-22 / 7-11)
After their series loss to Alabama, I've given up on Vandy returning to form this year.
12. Alabama Crimson Tide (16-25 / 6-12)
The Tide have shown some fight in recent weeks, but there's little they can do to save their season at this point.