Still possible to win the West

LSU is first at 18-9. Moo U is 17-10, we’re 16-10 (that rainout at Tennessee could be critical; ditto losing one to a team that won’t be in Hoover).

First, we have to sweep the Aggies. A&M had been playing well but lost two of three to the Bears this weekend. If we don’t sweep, none of this happens.

Then we need Moo U to take two of three at home against LSU.

That would put LSU and MSU at 19-11, we’d be 19-10 and win the West. If LSU wins the series, we couldn’t catch them but we could pass MSU for second in the West, which could also be valuable.

As for hosting, I have no idea. I suspect our RPI will be somewhere around 16-17 after today’s win. A&M is a top 40 RPI team so a sweep there sure wouldn’t hurt. Then we might need to win a game or two in Hoover, which certainly can happen if Stephan and Knight pitch well. It would also help if we get into the top four (by passing Moo U) and thus get a first-day bye at Hoover. I’m thinking the SEC gets four regional host spots; five would be a stretch.

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I know we have won some games that other teams will look at and say “gee, we should have won that one” and it probably all washes out in the end, but dang losing that Saturday game to LSU, losing a game to Bama, losing a game to Tennessee, and losing the Ole Miss series (at home!) are all “dang it” moments. You don’t have to change all 4 of those events, just 2 of them (especially if we beat LSU that Saturday) and the world looks a lot differently.

I know MSU can’t believe we swept them, so what goes around comes around to some extent.

Blowing that 7 or 8-run lead to LSU at home probably trumps the rest. Just get that one, we’re in first place now and LSU and MSU have to catch us.

By the way, our current RPI at Warren Nolan is 18. We’ll see what the NCAA says tomorrow.

With our limited pitching depth, I’d love to finish in the top 4 to get the double bye at Hoover. I think it’s a stretch to think we might sweep A&M, but it’s important we win that series. Do that & an LSU series win, we’ll pass MSU. Those things happen & I like our chances of hosting. (Can we still host & be seeded second in our regional? If so, I could see that happening, but that’d probably be as the 5th SEC team to host.)

If we can finish in the top 4 to get the first round bye in Hoover, I like our odds of winning our first game. I’ve never particularly cared about winning the SECT unless we need the wins to improve our position in the NCAA. I’d rather not overuse the pitching arms. Of course, the it’s even worse to get to the championship game, use all the arms, & then lose. I don’t remember enough about the SECT tourney format to know the least number of games we can win & still win the tournament, but I certainly want to avoid finishing 5th & having to win that first game to advance.

A top four team can win the tournament with four victories: Wednesday, Thursday, off Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

The loss that just keeps coming back like a bad chili relleno is that second game loss to LSU. Just an inexcusable meltdown that altered the course of our season.

Yep. That’s the one that haunts all of us. Amazing how much difference that game made.

The sad thing is a few weeks ago, LSU looked dead in the water. But, as much as we are bemoaning that loss, it was that win that probably catapulted them into position to win the West. So, for a guy that lives much too close to LSU territory, that is an especially bad loss. I’ve had a few bad chili rellenos in my time. That loss is worse than any of them.

I’m not that concerned about winning the west. What I am really concerned about is hosting a regional. To play in Baum would be a huge advantage for the Hogs. We need to win at least two out of three in College Station.

I agree. I don’t remember the years Arkansas won the West; I do remember the years it hosted a regional.

If Arkansas can get through a regional, I like its chances of beating just about anyone two of three in a super regional. But getting through a regional is key, especially avoiding the losers bracket. Arkansas has been hard to beat at home - 26-6 this year.

I agree that hosting is more important than winning the West. But we probably wouldn’t be concerned about the chances of hosting had we finished out LSU in that second game. We would be winning the West, and hosting would likely be a done deal.

In spite of winning the series from Vandy, our RPI dropped from 17 to 18 on the NCAA list released this morning. RPI is not the end-all for either tournament bids or hosting, but that doesn’t help either one. Because the A&M series is on the road, it might help our RPI a little more if we win it even though the Aggies are 35th to 22 for Vandy.

I know most consider the SEC tourney a waste, and the only concern is making it to Omaha. But, I’d love to see the Hogs win a SEC Championship. You can do both.


That surprises me unless someone behind us had a more impressive weekend that justified them moving up. Regardless, I think we all agree our best shot at hosting will be determined by winning the series at A&M. If we win it, I think we’re likely to host. If we lose, I don’t like our chances unless we win or nearly win the SECT. I’ve decided I want LSU to beat MSU–maybe even sweep them. LSU is going to host regardless, I’d think, so I think our best chance of becoming the 4th SEC host team is for MSU to fall below us. We might need a combination of a series win at A&M and an LSU series win for us to host.

I think some teams can do both. I don’t think this team can. The pitching depth just isn’t there to make it through Hoover, then turn around five days later and play potentially five games in four days. I’ve seen good teams wreck their pitching staffs to win in Hoover, only to lose a regional the next week at home. It happened to Vanderbilt in David Price’s last year when the Commodores were the No. 1 national seed.

Auburn’s recent tanking and the Mississippi State series loss to Georgia hurts Arkansas’ RPI, plus home wins typically don’t provide much of a boost.

I think you might see some movement with a road series win at Texas A&M, depending on what happens ahead of Arkansas.