1. Kentucky Wildcats (36-9 / 14-7)
Yes, Kentucky showed some chinks in its armor with a series loss to lowly Vanderbilt, not to mention a very ugly mid-week pounding at the hands of Louisville. The 'Cats, though, still maintain the league's best overall body of work, so it's going to take more than one bad week for me to drop them from their perch.
2. LSU Tigers (35-10 / 14-7)
While Kentucky, in my mind, is definitely the top dog (or cat, as it may be), things are getting increasingly murky from 2-4. LSU seems like a solid number 2; outside of a series loss to Kentucky, they've been very solid since what now looks like an unexplainable series loss to Auburn early on. However, they haven't created as much separation as Kentucky has, and a trip to Columbia to close out the season is increasingly looking like gut-check time for this team.
3. Florida Gators (33-12 / 12-9)
Here's where it gets tougher. At 3, do you go with Florida, a team with a worse record but a tougher schedule thus far and a head-to-head road victory over South Carolina, or do you go with the Gamecocks, who have the better record but have done it by feasting on the league's bottom tier and lost the series to the Gators in Columbia? For now, I'm going with Florida--but there's no doubt that this ultra-talented team has looked increasingly vulnerable in recent weeks.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks (31-11 / 14-7)
The Gamecocks have a good argument for inclusion among the league's top three, but I really want to see this team win the series in Fayetteville before I push them up the ladder. The record looks fantastic, but it's hard not to attribute it at least partially to the soft mid-season slate.
5. Arkansas Razorbacks (31-13 / 11-10)
The Hogs gained some separation from the mid-pack teams with its big series win at Florida. They gave up only four runs over the weekend. Think that has Gamecocks fans worried about this coming weekend?
6. Mississippi Rebels (28-16 / 10-11)
One of the hardest teams to figure out, the Rebels have taken a feast-or-famine approach to the season, seeming to the turn the corner one week and to take a huge step back the next. Even with their unpredictable nature, though, you have to like their overall body of work a bit more than some of the teams below them.
7. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (27-17 / 10-11)
Here's where things start to get confusing again. Mississippi St. once looked like a team you could leave for dead after the pounding they took at the hands of South Carolina, but they're now fresh off a sweep of Tennessee and a 2-1 series victory over Ole Miss. Of course, a final two weeks featuring a road trip to Florida and a home series against Kentucky may make it difficult for them to finish above .500 in the conference.
8. Georgia Bulldogs (25-20 / 9-12)
This team can't seem to catch a break. Lots of very close, what-could-have-been losses on the year, including some in what could have been season-changing series wins. A talented team, though, and one that has a chance to make some noise down the stretch if it can maintain its focus.
9. Vanderbilt Commodores (21-23 / 9-12)
I had kind of given up on Vandy ever getting it together this year, but a series win over Kentucky proves that this team still has some bite. It needs a big finish to the season to carry it into the SEC Tournament.
10. Auburn Tigers (25-19 / 10-11)
Auburn took an important step towards earning its spot in the SEC Tournament by sweeping Tennessee over the weekend. Tough schedule down the stretch, though, and I could easily see them finishing outside the top 10.
11. Tennessee Volunteers (22-22 / 7-14)
There was a point in the year when I thought that maybe Tennessee baseball was going to have a breakthrough season. After being swept two straight weekends, the last by a combined score of 35-12 to Auburn, it's time to say, "wait till next year."
12. Alabama Crimson Tide (17-28 / 6-15)
17-28? Is it football season yet?