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SEC Baseball Weekend Preview: Remaining Undefeated or Facing Death

The teams without a loss face manageable opponents as Georgia prepares for its doom against Florida State. Florida plays Miami (FL)


Who stays undefeated?

Not having a loss at this point doesn't matter too much -- it doesn't even help you get to No. 1 in the Baseball America Top 25, and it can say almost as much about the strength of schedule as the quality of a team. But the SEC does has seven undefeated teams heading into this weekend, or fully half of its membership. Meaningless status symbol or not, managing to not have any out-of-conference defeats looks better on the resume come tournament time than having a puzzling loss to a mediocre mid-major.

Tennessee will try to keep its surprise start going against UNLV in Knoxville. South Carolina will host Eastern Kentucky, because apparently Western Kentucky wasn't available. Vanderbilt greets Illinois-Chicago, because apparently Illinois wasn't available.

Out west, Ole Miss faces Georgia State in Oxford. Texas A&M hosts Sacramento State. The two Western Division Tiger teams are both hosting tournaments. Auburn will play a round robin with California, East Tennessee State University and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. LSU will play host to Virginia Tech, Toledo and Texas Southern. Simply because they have some BCS opposition, Auburn or LSU might be the most likely bet to take a loss -- but it wouldn't be a surprise if all seven remained standing when Monday comes around.

Here be dragons

We're not going to make a season-long habit of mocking Georgia's misery, as much fun as that might be and as much as I might like to, being a South Carolina fan. But the Bullogs are in for a very, very long weekend when they head down to Tallahassee to take on Florida State.

When last we discussed Georgia, it had just dropped two of three to Georgia Southern. Since then, the Dawgs have also lost to Kennesaw State. In each of their three losses, Georgia has allowed at least nine runs.

Florida State, while not necessarily playing much tougher opposition, is undefeated at 4-0 and has scored at least 12 runs in all but one of those games. The Seminoles have a 1.025 OPS so far this season, while the pitchers have combined for a 2.31 ERA.

FSU is also a tradition-rich program with a nice home-field advantage, and the Seminoles hold an 11-game edge in what is actually a fairly regular series between the 'Noles and the Dawgs. Georgia winning one game in the series isn't out of the question, given the fluky nature of baseball, but taking two of the three could probably be classified as a minor miracle.

Sorting out

Florida and Miami (FL) had a similar opening weekend: They won a series against slightly underwhelming opponents -- Maryland and Maine, respectively -- but also managed to drop a game in the process. Both remained ranked based at least partially on their name and pedigree. But while the Gators defeated UCF and North Florida in intrastate games, Miami dropped a midweek game to Florida Atlantic.

In some respects, this series could give us a clue about which of these teams is real and whether one of them is terribly overrated. Florida is the most challenging team that the Hurricanes will face before its series next weekend with Florida State; all that stands between the bookended rivalry match-ups is a midweek showdown with the Miami Marlins.


LSU's game against Virginia Tech will air at 8 p.m. ET tonight on CST. Georgia's series with Florida State (4 p.m. ET Friday, 2 p.m. ET Saturday, 1 p.m. ET Sunday) goes on ESPN3, as does the Florida-Miami clash (7 p.m. ET Friday, 7 p.m. ET Saturday, 1 p.m. ET Sunday).