LSU Baseball picked by coaches win SEC

The LSU Tigers are the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference Baseball Championship, as voted by the league's 12 baseball coaches in the 14th annual preseason SEC poll.

The Tigers seek to capture their 14th SEC Championship, having won or shared the title three times in the past nine seasons (1996, 1997 & 2003) and seven times since 1990.  LSU returns six starters and all but one pitcher from its 2004 squad which advanced to the College World Series.
In the overall SEC Champion vote, LSU received nine of the 12 championship votes in the poll. South Carolina received two votes while Florida received one.
"It's always nice to receive that kind of recognition from your peers," said LSU coach Smoke Laval, "but the poll is really based on what you accomplished last year. This is a whole new season that will be especially challenging because of the parity in our league. From top to bottom, the SEC is more balanced this year than it ever has been. The conference race will be extremely competitive."
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 Eastern Division, South Carolina was the  favorite with 63 points.  Georgia came in second with 50 points and Florida third with 48 points.  LSU was the predicted winner in the Western Division with a total of 66, collecting the maximum possible points for a single team. Ole Miss was second with 51, while Arkansas finished third with 46.
Points were compiled on a 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 2005 season gets underway this weekend with Auburn hosting Hofstra in a three-game series at Plainsman Park. The conference schedule is set to begin the weekend of March 18-20.  The 2005 SEC Tournament will be held May 25-29 at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.
The 2004 SEC Baseball Tournament drew 75,259 fans, despite inclement weather. That total was the second highest conference tournament attendance in the country in 2004. Over 1.3 million fans attended regular season games in the SEC last season, the third year in a row the SEC has topped the one million mark in regular season attendance.
Below is a complete look at the coaches' vote:
Eastern Division        
Team                    Pts.   '04 SEC Record/Finish  
1. S. Carolina (9)     63     17-13/t2nd
2. Georgia (1)          50     19-11/1st
3. Florida (2)           48     17-13/t2nd
4. Vanderbilt           39     16-14/4th
5. Tennessee          29     14-16/5th
6. Kentucky            16       7-23/6th
Western Division        
Team                     Pts. '04 SEC Record/Finish  
1. LSU (11)             66    18/12/t2nd
2. Ole Miss (1)        51    18-12/t2nd
3. Arkansas            46    19-11/1st
4. Miss. State         30    13-17/4th
5. Alabama             29    10-20/6th
6. Auburn               23    12-18/5th
( ) - First Place Votes
SEC Champion:  LSU (9); South Carolina (2); Florida (1)

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