Tide Needs To Play

The average weatherman bats about like the average second baseman when it comes to long-range forecasts, and this is a good week to hope the weekend outlook is in error. The soggy South being forecast is not in Alabama baseball's best interest.

In the Southeastern Conference, rained out games are not made up. A rainy weekend or two can alter the SEC standings significantly. A team particularly hopes it doesn't lose home games to the weather.

Alabama has a scheduled mid-week game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against South Alabama at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, then the Crimson Tide of Coach Jim Wells is scheduled to host Georgia for a three-game series beginning Friday.

In Tuscaloosa, the outlook for Friday is good, but Saturday has a forecast of thunderstorms and Sunday the prediction is for scattered thunderstorms.

Alabama, ranked 13th in the nation this week, is 11-7 in SEC play, leading the Western Division and a couple of games out of overall first place with the second best record in the conference. Alabama is 29-13 overall.

Georgia has not been strong this year. The Bulldogs are 21-18 overall and 6-11 in SEC play, ahead of only Kentucky in league standings.

On paper these are games Alabama really wants to play. Bama and Georgia are scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m. CDT Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

And Alabama has an interest in several other SEC series this weekend.

The Tide is trailing Florida for the overall SEC lead. Florida hosts Tennessee in a three-game series. The Vols are only a half game behind Bama in overall SEC standings. Just about anything that happens in the series at Gainesville can have a positive effect for Alabama.

LSU is a game behind Alabama in the SEC West. The Tigers go to Vanderbilt this weekend, and the Commodores have been tough at home, winning series against both Alabama and Tennessee.

Mississippi State and Ole Miss are in third and fourth place in the SEC West and they are scheduled to beat up on each other this weekend.

One series that looks likely to be bad for Alabama is Auburn going to South Carolina. The Gamecocks, nationally ranked all year, are just a game behind Bama in overall standings after the Tide took two-of-three from South Carolina in Tuscaloosa last weekend. The Gamecocks host Auburn, which is 8-10 after being swept at home by Florida last weekend.

There is a battle of last place teams with Arkansas going to Kentucky, but these are far different last place teams. Arkansas is 8-10, but only three games out of first place in the SEC West. Kentucky is 3-14.

Alabama does not play Tennessee this year.

Last weekend's series was the Crimson Tide's fourth weekend series in a row against a team ranked in the top ten in the nation. The Tide did very well in those battles, taking two of three from No. 9 Mississippi, No. 4 LSU and No. 8 South Carolina and one game at No. 5 Florida, giving Bama a 7-5 mark in the four series. Alabama is 8-7 in games against ranked teams this year.

Alabama now has one more win in SEC play (11) than the Tide had all last season and the same number of overall victories (29) as Bama had in last year's disappointing 29-26 season.

Alabama has won all three home series this season after losing all five home series a year ago. The Crimson Tide is 7-2 (.777) in SEC home games this season. Last year, Alabama posted a 4-11 home record in league play.


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