Fourth-Ranked Tide Takes To The Road

Going to the last weekend of regular season play, Alabama softball almost seems to be in a better position nationally than in the Southeastern Conference. Almost. The Crimson Tide would seem to have a bit of a schedule advantage to make the top four in the league and earning the SEC Tournament bye that goes with it.

Alabama has been ranked in the nation’s top 10 since the pre-season poll and continues among the nation’s top-rated teams going to the final regular season weekend. The Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy moved up to fourth in the latest USA Today/NFCA poll and stayed at No. 6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.

Meanwhile, Bama is not looking at the national scene. This week Alabama completes regular season play and SEC competition with a three-game series at Arkansas beginning with a 6 p.m. CDT Friday game.

The Crimson Tide is 38-11 overall this year and 14-7 in SEC play, tied with LSU for third place. While LSU and second place Auburn (16-5) will be meeting in a three-game series in Baton Rouge, Bama has an on-paper much easier task in going to Arkansas. The Razorbacks are a distant last in the conference at 1-20 (and 15-33 overall). The Hogs are 0-13 in home games.

Alabama has won six of its seven SEC series this season.

In the USA Today/NFCA poll, a trio of teams each moved up one spot to fill the vacancy left by LSU, which lost two out of three games to Missouri to slide from No. 3 to No. 6. Michigan, Alabama and Oklahoma each moved up one spot to round out the top five while Florida and Oregon remain in the top two spots for the second straight week. The No. 4 ranking is Alabama’s highest ranking in the NFCA poll since Week Four. The Tigers only dropped two spots in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll from No. 3 to No. 5, slotting in one spot ahead of Alabama, which remains No. 6 for the second straight week.

The SEC has nine ranked teams, including four in the top 10: Florida (1/1), Alabama (4/6), LSU (6/5), Auburn (8/8), Missouri (11/13), Tennessee (12/12), Georgia (14/15), Kentucky (21/21), and Texas A&M (25/RV).

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