Solution to SEC Football Schedule Problem
When you have a 14-team conference the more teams you play the better your chance of determining a true champion and a true division winner. That’s why I’m in favor of a 9-game SEC schedule. But I'll take it a step further; since there's no way that team’s can play the same schedules there's always a question of fairness. I say score wins like hockey; I call it the Steve Spurrier idea. Division wins are worth two points and inter-division wins are worth one. This would help off-set the fact that even with a 9-game schedule some teams are going to play a harder schedule than others.
Not convinced Georgia and South Carolina are 4th and 5th Best Teams in the Country
Athlon’s pre-season Top 25 is out and I don't know that I’m sold on Georgia and South Carolina as #4 and #5 respectively with their losses on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs are replacing virtually their entire DL and LB corps including Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, plus their top two safeties Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo. Now while South Carolina does have Jadaveon Clowney back, the Gamecocks have to replace their top four tacklers from last season in Shaq Wilson, DJ Swearinger, Reginald Bowens and Devonte Holloman plus DE Devin Taylor. Not to mention Marcus Lattimore and Ace Sanders on offense. The Bulldogs and Gamecocks might be the fourth and fifth best teams in the nation, but defense is the most important thing in the SEC and that leaves Georgia and SC with big question marks in my book.
South Carolina Might have been Short-Changed in NCAA Baseball Tournament
If the two-time defending national champ and 3-in-a-row finalist South Carolina Gamecocks win the Columbia, SC Regional, they will likely play #1 seed North Carolina in the Supers. I’m thinking that maybe the Gamecocks got short-changed a little bit. The NCAA doesn't seed beyond the top eight but by virtue of slotting the winner of the Columbia Regional to meet #1 North Carolina in the supers, the Gamecocks are in essence the #16 seed. Carolina probably would be seeded higher (if you will) than K-State or Louisville if they NCAA seeded through the Top 16, so that would have put the Gamecocks (if they win) going to Oregon State in the Supers rather than UNC. Don't know if that's any better but I do know the Tar Heels might be the best team in the nation outside of the SEC.
Problem with Auburn Baseball Program: Not Enough Talent
Coach John Pawlowski's lack of success at Auburn certainly was a big mystery to me. He had been highly success at C of C reaching the 2006 Super Regional’s but he only reached one NCAA Regional with the Tigers and outside of winning the 2010 West Division title, had a losing SEC record in each of the other four seasons he was there. So when Pawlowski was fired on Monday it wasn’t a surprise although I certainly feel bad for him because on my side of the business, he was a great guy to work with. The bottom line is Auburn just isn't getting enough talent in their program. To this point only one of the players that Pawlowski’s staff recruited was a Top-10 round draft pick and that was pitcher Derek Varnadore selected in the 9th round 2012.
SEC Award Winners
For just the second time ever, a Vanderbilt Commodore has won SEC Baseball Player of the Year honors. That goes to Tony Kemp who led the SEC with a .402 BA, tied for the league lead with 96 hits, led in runs scored, OBP and played a spectacular 2B. Kemp becomes just the second player in the last 6 years to win the award and not lead the SEC in homers (in fact Kemp has hit just one in his 3-year career).
LSU's Aaron Nola is the SEC Pitcher of the Year. He was 10-0 pitching on Friday nights and had four complete games. He was 2nd in the conference in total strikeouts, averaging 9 per 9 IP. He had a 1.94 ERA in 102 innings pitcher and opponents batted only .194 against him.
Here's a look at the All-SEC First Team; including SEC Freshman of the Year SS Alex Bregman of LSU who is a future first round draft pick. Certain first round pick Hunter Renfroe leads the OF contingent and Pitcher Ryne Stanek will most likely be the first SEC pitcher taken in the first round of the MLB Draft.
SEC First Team
1B- Mason Katz, LSU
2B- Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt
3B- Christian Ibarra, LSU
SS- Alex Bregman, LSU
C- Stuart Turner, Ole Miss
OF- Hunter Renfroe, Mississippi State
OF- Mike Yastrzemski, Vanderbilt
OF- Raph Rhymes, LSU
DH/UTL- Keaton Steele, Missouri/ A.J. Reed, Kentucky
P- Ryne Stanek, Arkansas
P-Aaron Nola, LSU
RP- Jonathan Holder, Mississippi State