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{{ timeAgo('2019-04-16 14:50:04 -0500') }} baseball Edit

Who's got the edge in the SEC race?

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Thanks to Drake Fellows, Vanderbilt hasn't lost a Friday game yet.
Brent Carden, VandySports

The Southeastern Conference regular season is half over, with Georgia and Mississippi State tied atop the standings with 10 wins, and five clubs just a victory behind.

With that, we look at the league's composite standings, what's ahead for each team, and offer some analysis from that.

Teams are listed in won-loss order (SEC games only) with no attempt to break ties. Record of teams played doesn't include games against said team. League rank in terms of toughest to easiest schedule, both for games played and games ahead, is in parenthesis.

Southeastern Conference composite standings
Team (record) Record of teams to play Record of teams played HS

1t. Georgia (10-5)

35-39-1 (10)

26-34 (12)

3

1t. MSU (10-5)

41-33-1 (3)

28-32 (9)

2

3. Texas A&M (9-5-1)

36-39 (9t)

32-28 (4t)

2

4t. Arkansas (9-6)

38-36-1 (6)

31-28-1 (7t)

3

4t. LSU (9-6)

36-39 (9t)

35-25 (1)

3

4t. Ole Miss (9-6)

42-32-1 (2)

24-35-1 (13)

2

4t. Vanderbilt (9-6)

27-47-1 (14)

34-25-1 (2)

2

8. Auburn (8-7)

41-34(4)

31-28-1 (7t)

3

9. Missouri (7-7-1)

35-40 (12)

32-28 (4t)

2

10t. Florida (6-9)

36-38-1 (7t)

27-33 (10)

2

10t. Tennessee (6-9)

36-38-1 (7t)

32-28 (4t)

2

12t. Alabama

45-29-1 (1)

26-33-1 (11)

3

12t. Kentucky

34-41 (13)

34-26 (3)

3

12t. South Carolina

40-35 (5)

23-37 (14)

3

The first thing that pops off the page is Vanderbilt, a game out of the lead, not only has the easiest schedule, but that the Commodores have it by a mile.

On the other hand, the Commodores (just 3-4 on the road, though six of those were games at Georgia and A&M) have just two remaining home series, which hurts a bit.

Meanwhile, Georgia and LSU each have better-than-average schedules and three home series.

Of the top seven, Ole Miss and Mississippi State have the toughest roads remaining, not just in terms of record, but also because each has just two home series.

Still, things are really tight, so let's look at some indicators of team quality:

SEC predicted wins to date/BoydsWorld ISIRs
Team Predicted wins League (national) ISIR rank

1. Ole Miss

10.4

8 (21)

2. Vanderbilt

10.1

1 (5)

3. MSU

10.0

2 (6)

4. Texas A&M

9.8

5 (11)

5. Georgia

9.8

3 (7)

6. LSU

9.6

7 (14)

7. Missouri

8.4

10 (29)

8. Arkansas

8.0

4 (9)

9. Tennessee

6.7

6 (13)

10. Auburn

5.9

9 (23)

11. Florida

4.9

11 (46)

12. South Carolina

4.3

14 (70)

13. Alabama

3.8

13 (56)

14. Kentucky

3.7

12 (54)

Predicted wins is more commonly known as "Pythagorean wins," which takes the number of runs a team scores and a number of teams it allows and determines what your record would normally be under those circumstances. Every team except Auburn, which has overachieved by two wins, is within one win of what the formula predicts. (Ole Miss, at 1.4 wins over its prediction, is close.)

BoydsWorld ISIRs have been a popular measure of team quality, and I link the national rankings here. They include all games and don't account for just weekends.

Handicapping the field

If I had to order teams from most to least-likely to win, here's how I'd rank them:

1. Vanderbilt: The Commodores are the league's best team, according to the ISIRs, and are just a game back despite the league's second-toughest slate. VU has, by far, the easiest schedule left, and its three road series are against, by far, the league's three worst teams. You could argue that VU doesn't have an opponent left on the schedule that ranks in the top half of the league.

2. Georgia: Perhaps I could just as easily put Georgia in the top spot. The Bulldogs are legitimately good by any measure, and are a game ahead of Vandy already (not to mention, UGA owns the tie-breaker.) However, Georgia travels to Mississippi State and gets Auburn on the road, whereas VU gets the Tigers at home.

3. LSU: Having three home series helps, plus, the Tigers have proven themselves by going 9-6 against a brutal league slate thus far. There may also be an element of "water rises to its own level" with LSU, which was either No. 1 or 2 by most national experts before the season.

4. Texas A&M: It's a close call between the Aggies and Mississippi State, but A&M gets MSU in College Station, not to mention, has road series at South Carolina and Alabama.

5. MSU: Ranking State--third in D1Baseball's poll this week--in the fifth spot tells you all you need to know about the quality of SEC baseball.

6. Arkansas: Last year's national runner-up won't be fazed by much, and has three remaining home series against a middle-of-the-road schedule.

7. Ole Miss: The Rebels are the wild card; Pythag record says the wins are legit; opponents' record so far and schedule ahead cast doubt.

8. Missouri: The Tigers can pitch with the best in the league, but will they be motivated if NCAA appeal isn't granted?

9. Auburn: Python record calls Tigers into question, but having three home series and a great coaching staff helps.

10. Tennessee: Vols are a legit 2-seed in a regional, if they can bank enough wins.

11. Florida: Data above isn't encouraging, but Gators are too talented to count out of getting back to a regional.

12. Kentucky: Wildcats have easiest slate of remaining teams.

13. Alabama: Crimson Tide have been competitive, but when a road trip to Auburn may be the easiest remaining part of your schedule...

14. South Carolina: Stats suggest Caroilna is the league's worst team, and they're already last with possibly the league's easiest slate to date.