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Gamecock baseball: SEC coaches pick South Carolina to win the conference

Finally, a preseason prediction that Gamecock fans have no choice but to be satisfied with.


The coaches of the Southeastern Conference have predicted that South Carolina will win the SEC East by a narrow margin and win the whole conference by an even narrower one. The ground rules for the voting were as follows:

In addition to picking a preseason SEC champion, the league's head coaches voted a predicted order of finish in the SEC Eastern and Western Divisions. In the Western Division, LSU was the narrow favorite with 84 of a possible 91 points.  Mississippi State came in second with 83 points, with Alabama and Texas A&M tied at third with 58.  South Carolina  received 86 points in the Eastern Division. Vanderbilt was second with 82, while Florida finished third with 69.

Points were compiled on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division.  Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.  Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

The results looked like this:

SEC East

Team Points
South Carolina (9) 86
Vanderbilt (5) 82
Florida 69
Kentucky 47
Tennessee 39
Georgia 38
Missouri 24

SEC West

Team Points
LSU (6) 84
Mississippi State (7) 83
Alabama 58
Texas A&M (1) 58
Arkansas 44
Ole Miss 35
Auburn 21

SEC Champion: South Carolina (5); LSU (4), Mississippi State (4); Vanderbilt (1)

The trend of high variance in preseason predictions for the Gamecocks continues. Baseball America ranked South Carolina No. 7 in its preseason poll while USA Today ranked the Gamecocks 14th. The latter poll ranks LSU and Mississippi State No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, but the SEC coaches picked South Carolina -- albeit by a plurality of five -- to win the league.

While some of these individual predictions seem odd, they make a certain amount of sense in the aggregate. South Carolina has an incredibly talented team with some serious question marks as which players will occupy a few key roles and how effective they'll be once they've been placed in them. If everything clicks, the Gamecocks could have the best team in the SEC. If there are still a few kinks to be worked out in the back end of the bullpen by the time May rolls around, USC could struggle.