How The 2004 SEC Pennant Race Shakes Out

This is how it things stand for the Gamecocks and the rest of the SEC for the remainder of the 2004 pennant race ...

With the 2-0 win over Tennessee Saturday, coupled with a 3-1 loss by the Florida Gators in Gainseville, the South Carolina Gamecocks moved to within one game of second place in the Eastern Division. Georgia beat Auburn at Auburn 4-0 to take sole possession of first place in the East for the time being. But the Gamecocks and Dawgs both control their own destiny when they face one another in Athens for the Eastern Division Crown next weekened.

In the meantime, the race goes as follows - with the Gamecocks still mathematically in the hunt for the overall SEC Crown - given the tie breaking system.

Current Standings:

SEC East


UGA - 17-9
UF  - 16-10
USC - 15-11

SEC West

Ark - 16-9 (Two Games On Sunday)
UM  - 16-10
LSU - 16-10

Remaining Schedules:

UGA - at Auburn, South Carolina, South Carolina, South Carolina.
UF - Ole Miss, at Tennessee, at Tennessee, at Tennessee
USC - Tennessee, Wofford, at Georgia, at Georgia, at Georgia

Arkansas - MSU, MSU, Auburn, Auburn, Auburn
Ole Miss - Florida, LSU. LSU, LSU
LSU - Vandy, at Ole Miss, at Ole Miss, at Ole Miss

The first thing South Carolina must do is operate under the assumption that Georgia will sweep Auburn. With that in mind South Carolina must sweep Tennessee on Sunday. Also, Ole Miss needs to sweep Florida.

Tiebreakers

South Carolina owns tiebreakers over Florida and Ole Miss should all three finish in a tie. The Gamecocks control their own destiny against Georgia and therefore a tie between USC and the Dawgs would be techincally impossible. Arkansas and LSU own the tiebreaker over South Carolina.

If South Carolina beats Tennessee on Sunday and wins two of three against Georgia, Georgia would still have to lose at least three of their next four for the Gamecocks to claim the SEC East Pennant.

For South Carolina to win the overall SEC Pennant the Ole Miss Rebels would need to win the West outright and tie for the overall crown with the Gamecocks. It is as simple as that.

Therefore, Gamecock fans should pull for Arkansas to lose as many games as possible, (a minimum of three out of the next five including Sunday's double-header against MSU), for Ole Miss to win three of their next four SEC games, for Auburn to beat Georgia on Sunday and for their Gamecocks to beat Tennessee on Sunday, and for Florida to do no better than 2-2 over their next four SEC games as of Saturday night. And finally for their Gamecocks to win the series at Georgia next weekend.

The 2004 SEC Pennant race is as simple as that for Gamecock fans.

What's On The Line?

The overall SEC Pennant winner is all but assured not only a Regional Host award but a Super Regional Host award as well. The second place finisher, winner of their regular season Division Title, is assured a Regional Host award and possibly a Super Regional Host award. It is expected that at least two other teams from the SEC will host regionals for a total of four from the conference.

Regardless of how the remainder of the season plays-out, South Carolina has already secured a berth in the SEC Tournament and the NCAAs. But all SEC teams, with the exception of Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and MSU, are playing for seeding from this point forward ... and the final weekend will mark some of the most intense and telling SEC series battles in years. The given so far appears to be that home teams will have the advantage in the final weekend.

Speaking of home teams ... as it stands right now there will be no team from Alabama playing in the SEC Baseball Tournament held in Hoover, Alabama for the first time since the conference expanded in 1992. Auburn and Alabama have dominated the Conference Tournaments since expansion - some claim because of their home field advantages playing the games each year in their home state. Auburn is a long shot to make the field but to do so they almost must win their final four SEC games of the season. One against Georgia and three against Arkansas in Fayetteville.

This has been generally regarded as the most competitive year in SEC Baseball in more than a decade. The pennant race is going down to the wire and there are a total of six teams with a chance to win it all headed into Sunday's action.

Magic Number

We believe, based upon our calculations, that the magic number for South Carolina to win the SEC East is five (5). Any combination where South Carolina wins more games, with Florida winning fewer, totaling five (5), will result in another SEC Eastern Divison Title for the Gamecocks.

For example: USC wins three (3) more conference games and Florida loses two (2) of their next four SEC match-ups or, South Carolina wins their remaining four (4) and Florida loses one (1) ... any combination of five (5). This would also result in a series win over Georgia and a SEC Eastern Division Title for the Gamecocks. The same holds true against Georgia. Any combination totaling five ... three wins by the Gamecocks and two losses by Georgia, four wins for the Gamecocks and one loss for Georgia, results in an SEC Eastern Division Title for South Carolina.

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