Finishing Schedule Favors Bama

There's a couple of different ways Alabama Coach Jim Wells and his baseball team could look at the remaining games on the schedule, the conventional line of thinking goes.

You're facing two Southeastern Conference cellar-dwellers in you final to series

or…

You're facing two teams who went to the College World Series last year, one of which finished as the national runners-up and returns seven of nine position players, including the SEC Player of the Year (Florida's Matt LaPorta.)

"You certainly don't look at them being the last place in the league," Wells said of Florida, the Tide's opponent in its final home game this weekend. "I don't know their exact situation now but they've had some guys hurt. With (Junior outfielder Gavin) Dickey and LaPorta, if they get them all together they're pretty dang tough."

Coming off a sweep in Arkansas, in which Alabama "found three ways to lose instead of finding a way to win," Wells is more worried about his team than any opponent.

"Whether you're playing Arkansas, Florida or Tuscaloosa County High School doesn't really matter," he said. "It's not about the opponent. It's about being able to field a ball, throw a strike and get a hit when you need it."

But you would be hard-pressed to find any Crimson Tide fan willing to trade Bama's schedule in the final two weeks with any other team in the league. Even though the Tide trails SEC frontrunner Kentucky by a game, the Tide might still ripe to overtake the Batcats and win the regular season league title, something it hasn't done since 1996.

Alabama's two remaining opponents, Tennessee and Florida, are a combined 16-31 in league play this year. That's a full eight games better than Kentucky's remaining league opponents, Mississippi State and Georgia (24-23 combined), and two and a half games better than the next weakest finishing schedule, held by LSU.

Below are the Southeastern Conference standings, along with the remaining opponents for each team in the final two weeks of the regular season. The combined records of the remaining opponents are listed in parentheses.

SEC West SEC Record GB Remaining Schedule
Alabama 15-9 - FLA, @UT (16-31)
Arkansas 14-10 1 @OM, AU (22-26)
Ole Miss 13-11 2 ARK, @MSU (25-22)
Mississippi State 11-12 3.5 @UK, OM (29-19)
LSU 11-13 4 VU, @FLA (19-29)
AU 9-15 7 UGA, @ARK (27-21)

SEC East SEC Record GB Remaining Schedule
Kentucky 16-8 - MSU, @UGA (24-23)
Georgia 13-11 3 @AU, UK (25-23)
South Carolina 13-11 3 UT, @VU (21-26)
Vanderbilt 12-12 4 @LSU, USC (24-24)
Tennessee 9-14 6.5 @USC, ALA (28-20)
Florida 7-17 7 @ALA, LSU (26-22)

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