Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Southern Exposure: Getting to know SEC Baseball

Southern Exposure
Aggies frozen out by Texas? (mysanantonio.com)
In other sports, A&M baseball coach Rob Childress said Monday that he and UT counterpart Augie Garrido had yet to discuss whether to continue playing as nonconference foes. Childress added that, while he's respectful of playing a last round in the Big 12, the future should be exciting in a strong baseball conference.

“The SEC is a great league, just like the Big 12,” Childress said. “We've got a group of seniors who will never play in the SEC, so our focus is on the Big 12. But as you look to the future, the competitor in you knows it's going to be a great challenge because it's a great baseball conference. We look forward to that challenge.”

Vanderbilt tops Baseball America's Recruiting Class Rankings (SECdigitalnetwork.com)
Vanderbilt topped Baseball America's annual recruiting class rankings for the first time since 2005, when Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Flaherty and Brett Jacobson headlined a hallmark class.

The Commodores landed the nation's top recruit in unsigned first-round pick Tyler Beede, a bona fide ace with premium stuff, command and makeup. The early enrollment of power-hitting catcher Chris Harvey gives Vanderbilt a second marquee recruit. Athletic outfielder John Norwood and high-upside pitchers Adam Ravenelle and Philip Pfeifer join Beede and Harvey as the core of a very deep class.

Texas brought in the No. 2 class, its eighth top-10 class since the BA recruiting rankings started in the fall of 2000. Southern Mississippi welcomed its best class ever, landing in the recruiting rankings for the first time at No. 3. North Carolina State checks in at No. 4, surpassing its previous high ranking of 11th in 2009. Mississippi rounds out the top five with its highest-ranked class ever, marking the Rebels' seventh appearance in the 12-year history of the recruiting rankings.

The Southeastern Conference placed eight teams in the Top 25 for the second year in a row, leading all conferences once again. The Pacific-12 Conference followed with four teams in the Top 25, and the Atlantic Coast Conference produced three ranked classes. Nine different conferences appeared in the rankings.
MSU fall baseball update: High hopes for youngsters(NEMS360.com)
This fall has a different feel to it for Mississippi State's baseball team.

The Bulldogs, who are in the midst of their regular autumn work, are becoming the sort of team John Cohen envisioned when he took over as head coach in the summer of 2008.

There is a sense of starting over, as seven starting position players were lost off last year's team, but Cohen has a bevy of young talent from which he expects much.

"In terms of sheer talent, we have upgraded talent and skill," he said Tuesday. "But experience is hard to make up for in the short term. That'll be a challenge for us."
Nine innings: Checking for prom dates (sebaseball.com)
First Inning: 2012 schedules are trickling in - always interesting discussion fodder for the Fall. The proposed RPI changes for 2013 could affect scheduling practices as road games are rewarded and home games penalized. I'm still reluctant to believe this makes much of an impact. Sure, the ninth place SEC is going to have trouble making a Regional but most years they are bubbling anyway. Teams from the cold weather states will still be left out in the cold on Selection Day. The only teams that may benefit from the change are strong mid-majors that win road games. Other than that, color me skeptical.
. . .
Fourth Inning: Last season Auburn was a cupcake away from a Regional berth. Certainly the Tigers did not finish the way they would have liked, but one more win or one fewer loss would have had them postseason-eligible. This Spring's schedule may be just as tough (or tougher). Auburn hosts Missouri (maybe a future conference game preview?) for three before a desert trip to Arizona. Auburn hosts Purdue, Charleston Southern, and Southern Miss a game each before wrapping up the pre-conference with Belmont. This is a challenging road that could put the Tigers in a similar spot as last season come postseason invitation time.

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