LSU remains at the top for the 4th straight week.
Including this weekend’s slate of games, just three weeks remain in the college baseball regular season before the top twelve in the SEC head down to Hoover, Alabama for the annual conference tournament. As is typical in any sport, the race for top seeding is starting to heat up. In the Western Division, four teams find themselves within three games of the second spot. Much like its divisional counterpart, the Eastern Division race is highly competitive as well, with three teams within four games of second place. Given the mass amount of movement in the standings during these highly volatile weeks, people often question the actual strength of their team. For those people, I’ve created SEC Baseball Power Rankings using a time tested formula.
The Pythagorean rating system can be found almost anywhere on the internet nowadays. Ken Pomeroy uses it to rate college basketball teams, a handful use it for football (including myself), and countless use it to rate baseball teams. If you’re unfamiliar with this style of team evaluation, allow me to fill you in. The Pythagorean system rates teams based upon the ratio of runs scored and runs allowed. In the most basic terms, if a team scores many more runs than they allow they’re considered a stronger team (vice-versa). Once the run totals are put into per-9 inning format for score prediction purposes, the system gives an estimation on how many games a team “should” win. People may disagree with this method given the political incorrectness of scoring margin systems, but it has predicted 70.1% (103-45) of SEC outcomes. Without any further explanation or delay, here are the ratings for this week.
Arkansas (30-15, 13-7) @ Kentucky (26-17, 9-12)
After numerous weeks of complete free fall, Gary Henderson’s Wildcats rebounded last weekend with a series victory over the Ole Miss Rebels. While winning on the road is always a difficult task, this weekend’s home series against Arkansas can be considered more difficult than winning in Oxford. Even though the Cats will be at home, the task at hand will be anything but easy as the Razorbacks are one of the conference’s elite. The Hogs, who are only three games behind LSU for first in the SEC West, have won five games in a row by an average of 3.8 runs. If you’re venturing out to Cliff Hagan Stadium stadium this weekend, you’ll be able to see Arkansas’ SEC best defense which has been suffocating people with elite pitching. Currently, the Hogs have nine players with ERA’s below 2, including starting pitcher, Ryne Stanek, who’s on the Golden Spikes Award mid-season watch list. Tonight’s game starts at 6:30 and can be seen on Fox Sports South.
Vanderbilt (39-6, 19-2) @ South Carolina (33-12, 13-8)
In the weekend’s best series, Vanderbilt will take their new #1 ranking in the national polls to Columbia where they’ll take on South Carolina. They’re #1 for good reason as well, winning their past six games by an average of 4.6 runs. While Tim Corbin’s Commodores have been making it look easy for the past few weeks, they won’t have an easy time defending their #1 ranking as the Gamecocks are a very strong ball club. Last weekend, Chad Holbrook’s Gamecocks traveled to Baton Rouge and did what no other team had done this season, take a series from LSU. Even though the numbers say Vanderbilt is the heavy road favorite, don’t count the Gamecocks and their massive home crowd out of this contest. In case you don’t live in Columbia, South Carolina, the series can be seen on the CSS network in its entirety.