2016 Starkville Super Regional, Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

State, Auburn, Kentucky Tied for League Lead with Four-Team Pack One Game Back

It’s mighty crowded at the top. Again.

Seven weeks of SEC action have done much to entertain but little to truly separate the conference cream. The result? Going into May there are three squads sharing the top spot.

Wait, there’s more. Four more contenders are only a game behind. Though it isn’t mathematically settled, realists recognize the Southeastern Conference champion and Division winners will come from among these seven top teams.

For Mississippi State a first-place tie is something of a setback. Going into the weekend the Bulldogs were the surprising, make that shocking lone-leader. Auburn took care of that and muscled into a share of the lead by snapping State’s six-series win streak.

The Bulldogs did win on Friday though which meant the Tigers could only—only—have a share of top spot. Then on Sunday Kentucky came on in the late innings to take two from South Carolina and end seven weeks with 14 wins also.

Though they are still nicely in second spot it was a tough weekend for Arkansas. They lost twice to visiting Ole Miss, and had to rally in the third game to avoid a sweep. Arkansas of course is the only other team to beat the Bulldogs and that was seven weekends ago.

So. With three remaining series for everyone literally half of the conference members are still in position to win the crown, either outright or at least tied. Naturally there are plenty of direct series square-offs between most of these seven pacesetters ahead, insuring a frantic finish and ultimately deserving champion.

Well, probably. Taking just the current top three, the vagaries of SEC scheduling would certainly seem to give an edge down the stretch to Kentucky. The Wildcats are tied for that first place and poised to take charge of the East as well with remaining series against Georgia and Tennessee at home before a trip to Florida which is likely for that Division title.

Auburn and Mississippi State would seem to have rougher roads to the finish. The Bulldogs do follow their trip to Texas A&M this week with another road series, at Georgia. The schedule ends with LSU coming to campus.

The other Tigers, well, they do have the on-paper advantage of hosting cellar-dweller Alabama this weekend. Only the rivalry aspect adds any uncertainty to what is likely to happen. After that, Auburn is at LSU before finishing with an Ole Miss team trying to lock-up a NCAA at-large position.

The league standings going into the new week, with now the reminder that percentages determine order of finish. That suddenly matters, maybe, since the SEC just had its first game lost to rain: the Tennessee-Vanderbilt series could not be completed with a Sunday washout.

No tiebreaks are used in the following yet, as it’s just too complicated at the moment and meaningless anyway until the final week.

 

SEC STANDINGS

1.Auburn, Mississippi State, Kentucky 14-7

4.Arkansas, LSU, Florida, Texas A&M 13-8

8.Ole Miss 11-10

9.Vanderbilt 10-10

10.South Carolina 10-11

11.Missouri 8-13

12.Tennessee 6-14

13.Georgia 5-16

14.Alabama 2-19

 

WEEK #8 SCHEDULE:

(Thu) Mississippi State @ Texas A&M

(Thu) Arkansas @Tennessee

Alabama @ Auburn

Ole Miss @ Florida

Georgia @ Kentucky

Missouri @ Vanderbilt

South Carolina @ LSU

 

WHO PLAYS WHO:

Mississippi State: @Texas A&M, @Georgia, LSU

Auburn: Alabama, @LSU, Ole Miss

Kentucky: Georgia, Tennessee, @Florida

Arkansas: @Tennessee, Vanderbilt, @Texas A&M

LSU: South Carolina, Auburn, @Mississippi State

Florida: Ole Miss, @Alabama, Kentucky

Texas A&M: Mississippi State, @Ole Miss, Arkansas

Ole Miss: @Florida, Texas A&M, @Auburn

Vanderbilt: Missouri, @Arkansas, Alabama

South Carolina: @LSU, @Missouri, Georgia

Missouri: @Vanderbilt, South Carolina, @Tennessee

Tennessee: Arkansas, @Kentucky, Missouri

Georgia: @Kentucky, Mississippi State, @South Carolina

Alabama: @Auburn, Florida, @Vanderbilt


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