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An Early Look at the S.E.C. Baseball Tournament Seeding

Before we get started, I should call your attention to BCDawg97’s FanPost on the Swindle Industries Charity Bowl, which challenges us all to support our team while doing our bit for a worthy cause. While I believe donations to the United Methodist Committee on Relief should count toward a team’s total, I will not quibble, but I will encourage you to put your fandom to good use in this cause.

Provided that you didn’t spend Mother’s Day weekend living under a rock or in a Tibet, you are aware by now that David Perno’s Diamond Dogs had a good weekend in Nashville. Following Sunday afternoon’s action around the league, the Southeastern Conference standings look like this:

Eastern Division:

    1. Georgia (19-7-1)
    2. Vanderbilt (15-11)
    3. Kentucky (14-13)
    3. Florida (14-13)
    5. South Carolina (13-14)
    6. Tennessee (11-16)

Western Division:

    1. Louisiana State (15-11-1)
    2. Alabama (14-13)
    2. Ole Miss (14-13)
    4. Arkansas (13-13)
    5. Auburn (11-16)
    6. Mississippi State (7-20)

With the S.E.C. tournament scheduled to begin on Wednesday, May 21, next weekend’s season-ending series are slated to begin on Thursday instead of Friday. These are this week’s match-ups, although I hesitate to call this a weekend baseball rooting guide, since Georgia’s status atop the conference is secure, irrespective of what other teams do.

"Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic: the weekend baseball rooting guide involves neither rooting nor the weekend. Discuss."

Arkansas at Mississippi State: Believe it or not, this one actually matters. The Classic City Canines have secured the No. 1 seed and will face the No. 8 seed in the first round at Hoover’s Regions Park. Whichever team wins the Western Division will be seeded second and the six remaining teams will be seeded by winning percentage without regard to division. Had the season ended on Sunday, the Razorbacks’ .500 record in conference play would have earned the Hogs the No. 8 seed, as shown by Jim From Duluth’s chart, which was linked to by Quinton McDawg. Four teams are a half-game ahead of Arkansas in the standings, so Arkansas could move up, stay put, or drop out, depending upon the performances of the quartet of teams with 14-13 conference records. The Gamecocks, the Plainsmen, and the Volunteers all could overtake the Razorbacks for the last spot in the tournament and, hence, the opening-round game against the Classic City Canines.

Tennessee at South Carolina: These two teams are fighting for the chance to get to Hoover. The winner of this series is not assured of getting in, but the loser is guaranteed to stay home. This is the only S.E.C. series of the week in which neither participant currently is among the top eight teams in the conference standings, so this could be meaningless . . . but it could be of considerable importance, as the Palmetto State Poultry are a half-game in back of current would-be No. 8 seed Arkansas, so it is quite possible that Georgia could draw South Carolina in the first round.

Louisiana State at Auburn: There is no hotter team in the S.E.C. right now than L.S.U. The Bayou Bengals have won twelve straight games and they will secure the No. 2 tournament seed if they win the Western Division, in which the Fighting Tigers hold a one-and-a-half-game edge over Alabama and Ole Miss. Since a Louisiana State stumble could open the door for the Crimson Tide, the Rebels, or even the Razorbacks to steal the division title and, with it, the second seed, the Tigers’ continued good fortunes are quite consequential. If L.S.U. wins out and both top seeds perform up to expectations in Hoover, the Diamond Dogs and the Bayou Bengals could meet up in the fifteenth and final game of the conference tourney.

I, for one, am not anxious to see this again anytime soon.

Ole Miss at Kentucky: The Rebels and the Wildcats are two of the four teams tied with 14-13 league ledgers. Where more than two teams are tied, the first tiebreaker is total won-lost record in games played among the tied teams. Right now, Kentucky would be seeded fourth by virtue of the Bat Cats’ 5-1 record against Alabama and Florida, whereas Mississippi would be seeded seventh due to the Rebs’ 2-4 ledger against those same opponents. The Crimson Tide and the Gators both have gone 4-5 against Kentucky, Ole Miss, and one another, with ‘Bama earning the fifth seed due to the Tide’s 2-1 series victory over U.F. last weekend. Confused? You won’t be after this week’s episode of "Soap," but, in the meantime, just know that the Rebels, who have as much incentive to excel as any of the four currently tied teams, could greatly improve their seeding, especially if they secure the sweep. An Ole Miss leap from seventh to second is not outside the realm of possibility.

Vanderbilt at Florida: Here’s an interesting point to ponder . . . if the top-seeded Diamond Dogs win their first-round S.E.C. tournament match-up, their outing on Thursday, May 22, will be against the winner of the Wednesday collision between the fourth- and fifth-seeded squads; if the Red and Black lose on the first day, they will meet the loser of the No.-4-v.-No.-5 clash on Thursday. The Commodores currently would be seeded third and the Gators presently would be seeded sixth. Given the logjam in the middle of the league standings, it is not impossible that the Saurians, playing at home, could inch up a notch and/or knock the ‘Dores down a peg in the pecking order. In other words, Georgia could face one of these two teams in the second round in Hoover.

Go ‘Dawgs!