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SEC Power Ranking: The Postseason Stretch

Photo by Cayce Smith/Tennessee Athletics

As we enter May, the SEC has 3 weekends left in its regular season. Teams are battling for postseason position, postseason births, or sometimes both at the same time. Every team has 9 games left to play that could alter their postseason fates, but it is time to evaluate how we here at CBC feel about the SEC as a whole. Who is finding their groove? Who is slumping? Who is primed to catch fire? Power Ranking the SEC teams this week is going to look a lot different than before Hoover, but this is how they currently stand. Our method was a combination of recent performances and conference standings. We used RPI as a tiebreaker when needed, but we tried not to factor it in very much outside of that.

1.     Texas A&M Aggies

No team in the SEC has been more dominant for the entire season than the Aggies. Pitching was their calling card early in the year, but the offense has been the most explosive in SEC play. While their series against Arkansas might determine who wins the West, their 6 straight conference series victories has them locked in the top spot.

2.     Arkansas Razorbacks

The Razorbacks have had the best pitching staff in not only the SEC, but the entire country. They lead all of NCAA in ERA, WHIP, and Strikeouts. Hagen Smith has been one of, if not the, best pitcher in the nation. The offense struggles to produce at times and tends to produce close late-game situations that might come back to bite them in postseason play, but they are undoubtedly one of the top teams in the SEC.

3.     Tennessee Volunteers

The offense on Rocky Top is always explosive, but this season has one for the record books. After dropping the opening series in SEC play, the Volunteers have mowed through conference play. They lead the SEC in Batting Average, Hits, Runs Scored, and Home Runs. They have won series with both offense and defense, and it would not be a shock to see Tennessee in the hunt for the SEC crown in a few weeks.

4.     South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks are coming off one of the most difficult stretches across the entire SEC with a winning record (7-5 against Vandy, @ Bama, A&M, @ Florida, Arkansas, and Kentucky). Georgia at home and Mizzou on the road are two series the Gamecocks need to have to feel good about their hosting chances before finishing the regular season in Knoxville. The offense is looking more like what many thought it would before the season started, and the pitching staff has more than held its own against some of the best teams in the conference.

5.     Mississippi State Bulldogs

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season, at least positively, has been the resurgence of Mississippi State. This group just keeps themselves in every series and nearly every game. At 12-9, they are 3rd in the SEC West. After shocking Vandy on the road this past weekend, avoiding a sweep at Arkansas and winning the series against Mizzou and Alabama should have them right in the middle of the hosting conversation. The Dawgs might just be back.

6.     Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats had been absolutely rolling to start SEC play before dropping their past two series at home against Tennessee and on the road at South Carolina. The offense is one of the most lethal in baseball; they can manufacture runs or leave the ballpark in the blink of an eye. They will need more consistent pitching, especially out of the bullpen, to get back on track against a tough finishing stretch.

7.     Georgia Bulldogs

Charlie Condon and the Bulldog offense have been tearing the cover off the ball. Behind Tennessee, Georgia hits for more power than any team in the SEC. Pitching has to be more consistent if they want to be comfortably in the postseason picture before Hoover, but there is no doubt the offense can win them games when the pitching fails to show. Taking a game at A&M makes the path to .500 more achievable, but it will take a strong showing against good opposition (Vandy, @ SC, Florida).

8.     Vanderbilt Commodores

Perhaps there has been no team harder to pin a ranking on this season than Vanderbilt. The Commodores struggle on the road (swept @ SC and @ A&M), and usually hold serve at home, but a dropped series against Miss State is a cause for concern. Two away series and a home series against Tennessee to finish the year will make for a rough finishing stretch for Tim Corbin and company, and it will be very interesting to see if Vanderbilt can keep themselves in the hosting conversation.

9.     Alabama Crimson Tide

With a manageable finishing schedule, the Crimson Tide have likely positioned themselves comfortably within reach of the NCAA Tournament. The path to a regional host still exists, but the likelihood of a run against teams also fighting for their postseason lives, especially with two series on the road, seems unlikely. Series wins against Tennessee and South Carolina show the upside this team has; they just need some consistency to finish the year in a good position

10.  Florida Gators

No team in the SEC has a wider gap between ceiling and floor to finish the year than the Gators. With an overall record barely above .500, a rough finish could mean missing the NCAA Tournament entirely. However, with a hot finish, Florida could very well be a host. The offense thrives on the long ball, and pitching seems to be improving with the return of Pierce Coppola. If the Gators can get out of their own way, they have the talent to be one of the most dangerous teams in the country down the finishing stretch.

11.  LSU Tigers

If the NCAA Tournament were to start today, LSU would not be included in the field. Failing to sweep Auburn and Mizzou really narrows their window. Taking a game from A&M while winnings @ Alabama and against Ole Miss to finish the year would comfortably have them in Hoover, but they would still need to win a couple games to feel good about their chances. Anything less than a 6-3 finish to SEC play would be very problematic for the Tigers.

12.  Ole Miss Rebels

For the second year in a row, the Rebels find themselves battling for Hoover down the home stretch. Unlike last season, this team has been able to win a couple conference series to put it on the right side of elimination, for now. Taking care of business against Auburn will likely secure Hoover, but any slipping will make the final two series (A&M, @ LSU) extremely stressful for the Ole Miss fanbase. Winning against Auburn and LSU while avoiding a sweep by A&M might position the Rebels for a NCAA Tournament berth with a couple wins in Hoover.

13.  Missouri Tigers

Mizzou probably deserved better than getting swept at Tennessee because of how they pitched against that lethal offense, but their own offense really could not muster much of anything. That has been a common trend for the Tigers this season, who sit dead last in the SEC in nearly every offensive category. Getting to Hoover will be difficult for Coach Kerrick Jackson and his squad, but the path is absolutely there.

14.  Auburn Tigers

Not much you can really say about the Auburn Tigers that hasn’t already been said. Pitching has let them down, the offense has been a huge disappointment, and they are 3 games behind Missouri, who is second-to-last in the conference standings. Unless they unleash a historic run through the rest of the season, Hoover is off the table.

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