The first month of SEC play may well tell the tale of 2018

Bottom line - when you’ve got the type of program and winning tradition we have, with a history of making the NCAA Tournament every year . . . combined with this many returning (and productive!) veterans, a truly talented and deep group of incoming freshmen, and Coach DVH . . . anything short of making it to Omaha will be a disappointment this season.

That’s a LOT of pressure to put on the team. And that’s, frankly, what worries me the most. It’s easy to have a bad game or two at any time in baseball, and if you do that during tournament play - poof - you’re out! But we are, frankly, one of about 6-8 teams with the best chances to win it all this year. Of course, that means we’ve got a 80-90% chance of NOT winning it all.

But it ought to be an entertaining season . . . IF we can survive the first 4 weeks of conference play. Hosting a red-hot Kentucky, then making consecutive road trips to defending National Champion Florida, then to also red-hot Ole Miss, before coming home to face EQUALLY red hot Auburn. If we can split those 12 games, we ought to be in good shape. But we’re going to have to play very good ball even to do that. It’s unusual and hard to face arguably the best 4 SEC teams we will play this season all right out of the gate.

This is - truly - big boy baseball.

I am truly concerned about our pitching entering conference play. Obviously we have Knight on Fridays but he will be pitching against some real studs where one run allowed might be too much. But the jury is out on Campbell and the Sunday starter seems to be a tossup. And Rutledge is not available in relief in the short term.

Hope some of the freshmen can step into the weekend void.

nobody should have to start the way we do the 1st 4 series…we could very easily be out of it if we are not careful

Of course, there are two sides to that coin. If we can win, say, 9 of 12 (a tall order), then we can get some separation from some of those other teams that figure to compete with us for the SEC title. Where there is great challenge, there is also great opportunity.

It certainly makes for compelling games to watch.