Alabama Softball Moves To The Top

There was good news and bad news when this week's national college softball polls were released. The good news is that Alabama is number one in one of the rankings. The bad news is that it is obvious that softball is big time in the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama improved its record to 16-0 last week with its third tournament championship of the year in the South Florida tourney in Tampa. The Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy returns to action Friday as Bama returns to Florida for the Citrus Classic at Lake Buena Vista.

Alabama will play Fordham Friday morning and Louisiana Lafayette Friday afternoon. Saturday opponents are Notre Dame in the morning and Oregon in the afternoo. Bama finishes the tournament Sunday morning against Virginia.

Alabama will take the number one ranking from the Softball Collegiate poll to the tournament. The number one ranking marks the fifth straight season the Crimson Tide has sat atop the softball world. Alabama checked in at No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA poll.

Week three marks the highest ranking of the year for all three of the top ranked squads in the poll, but each has received at least one No. 1 vote in weeks prior. Alabama led the way in week three with 11 first-place votes.

The Tide is very familiar with the top competition in the poll. Georgia received five and Florida claimed the remaining four.

In 2011, no team has held the poll's top spot consecutively for more than one week with Arizona taking the No. 1 spot in the pre-season and week two polls and UCLA, the defending NCAA Women's College World Series Champions, taking the top spot in week one.

Arizona (14-2), dropped to No. 4 this week following an 8-0 loss to Georgia in five innings at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. UCLA (12-3), which tied at No. 3 with Georgia for week two, dropped to No. 9 with a 4-1 loss to Florida and a 7-1 loss to now No. 8 Tennessee.

After a 4-1 showing the Cathedral City Classic last week, including an 8-0 win over previous No. 3 Arizona, Georgia (14-1) is the No. 1 team in the nation for the second week in a row in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll.

The Bulldogs got 18 of 30 first place votes while undefeated Florida is second in the poll with 10 first place votes. Florida went 5-0 in the Cathedral City tournament, with the Gators biggest win coming against last week's No. 2 UCLA.

Rounding out this week's top five were Alabama in third, Arizona (14-2) in fourth, and another unbeaten, Washington (13-0), in fifth.

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