Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

State, Florida Share League Lead with Two Weekends to Go

Andy Cannizaro alerted everyone. In the aftermath of a lost home doubleheader and series, the coach did take pains to point out A) Mississippi State was still out front in the SEC; and B) “There wasn’t anybody under the sun that thought we were going to be tied for first place after seven weeks.”

Well, lookie here, everyone.                                                                                             

SEC season just passed eight weeks, and the 16-8 Diamond Dogs still share top rung on the league ladder. This time, with just one conference cousin as Florida also is 16-8. The Gators scored a home sweep of Ole Miss to move up a rung.

Mississippi State didn’t sweep at Texas A&M. Taking two-of-three was just about as impressive under both the matchup circumstances and the initial hole dug into by a Thursday loss. A lop-sided loss at that, albeit a dubious grand slam call inflated everything.

Still dropping the opener with the only regular rotation starter wasn’t a good sign. Wait. The only sign the Bulldogs need is another day to play. Or two in this case as State bounced back with two gritty victories in College Station. This sixth won-series in 2017, combined with nine last year, matches the most SEC series victories in consecutive seasons at State since 1983-84.

The more current result was holding-place for another league-leading weekend. It was good enough thanks to several series going as Cannizaro’s club needed.

A week ago the top spot was shared among State, Kentucky, and an Auburn team that had spoiled MSU’s series-won streak. Success must have taken a lot out of the Tigers because they were swept at home, by cellar-dweller Alabama at that. Kentucky, whom the Dogs defeated earlier, managed to drop two to Georgia.

Also a week ago, seven squads were bunched in a one-game range. The pack has spread-out with four clubs at either 16 or 15 wins. A 14-win Arkansas team might ultimately curse the weather that kept them from completing a series at Tennessee. Or, the Razorbacks might love it.

Remember that standings are set by percentages, not wins, and missing just one game might make all the difference in finishing order. After percentages comes all the tie-breaking. State and Florida don’t play this regular season.

Though there is a little separation now still the same seven squads are mathematically in SEC Championship contention. With, naturally, the goal of a NCAA number-one seeding. Mississippi State was still very much in that conversation even after the Auburn weekend.

Now the Bulldogs are again the talk of the town. Or the conference. They also are two weekends away from defending their 2016 SEC Championship, a Dog dream only in February that is shockingly real here in May.

State’s last back-to-back conference crowns came in 1970-71.

The NCAA will have updated official RPIs on Monday, though independent sites are able to put out the new numbers this evening.

 

SEC STANDINGS

1.Mississippi State 16-8, Florida 16-8

3.Kentucky 15-9, LSU 15-9

5.Arkansas 14-9

6.Auburn 14-10, Texas A&M 14-10

8.Vanderbilt 12-11

9.Ole Miss 11-13, South Carolina 11-13

11.Missouri 9-15

12.Tennessee 7-15

13.Georgia 7-17

14.Alabama 5-19

 

WEEK #9 SCHEDULE:

(Thu) Auburn @ LSU

Mississippi State @ Georgia

Florida @ Alabama

Tennessee @ Kentucky

Vanderbilt @ Arkansas

Texas A&M @ Ole Miss

South Carolina @ Missouri

 

REMAINING MATCHUPS:

Mississippi State: @Georgia, LSU

Auburn: @LSU, Ole Miss

Kentucky: Tennessee, @Florida

Arkansas: Vanderbilt, @Texas A&M

LSU: Auburn, @Mississippi State

Florida: @Alabama, Kentucky

Texas A&M: @Ole Miss, Arkansas

Ole Miss: Texas A&M, @Auburn

Vanderbilt: @Arkansas, Alabama

South Carolina: @Missouri, Georgia

Missouri: South Carolina, @Tennessee

Tennessee: @Kentucky, Missouri

Georgia: Mississippi State, @South Carolina

Alabama: Florida, @Vanderbilt


Gene's Page Top Stories