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College

    As we turn the page from regular season baseball to conference tournaments, college baseball rankings are as hot a topic as ever as fans try to predict where their teams may land in the NCAA baseball tournament’s field of 64. The league placed seven teams in the new D1Baseball.com Top 25, which was released on Monday. The league added Auburn and Vanderbilt to the poll, while Kentucky was dropped out of the rankings. RELATED:  2018 SEC Baseball Tournament: Bracket, schedule, dates, teams (May 21, 2018) Florida, the defending national champion, maintained the No. 1 spot in the rankings in spite of being swept by Mississippi State on the final weekend of regular season play. The Gators will be the top seed in the SEC baseball tournament in Hoover, Ala. Ole Miss moved up one spot from No. 5 to No. 4 after closing out SEC play with a series win against Alabama. Georgia jumped nine spots in the poll from No. 16 to No. 7 thanks to a home series win against Arkansas. As a result, the Hogs dropped from No. 6 to No. 8. Vanderbilt swept Kentucky to jump back into the rankings at No. 25, while also knocking the Wildcats out of the Top 25 in the process. Auburn took two of three in a series against LSU to get back into the rankings at No. 24 after dropping out the previous week. South Carolina moved up two spots from No. 25 to No. 23 after winning two of three on the road at Texas A&M. Here’s a look at the complete Top 25 entering the SEC baseball tournament: College baseball rankings: D1Baseball.com Top 25 Records current as of May 21. Rank Team Overall Record Record Last Week Previous Rank 1 Florida 41-15 0-3 1 2 Oregon State 42-9-1 4-1 2 3 Stanford 43-8 4-0 3 4 Ole Miss 42-14 3-1 5 5 North Carolina 37-17 3-1 7 6 Clemson 43-13 4-0 8 7 Georgia 37-17 2-1 16 8 Arkansas 37-17 1-2 6 9 Florida State 39-17 2-1 11 10 NC State 40-14 1-2 4 11 Minnesota 37-13 3-0 12 12 Texas 37-18 4-0 17 13 Stetson 41-11 1-0 13 14 Southern Miss 39-15 3-1 14 15 Texas Tech 38-15 3-0 15 16 East Carolina 39-15 2-2 9 17 Duke 39-14 1-2 10 18 UCLA 35-17 4-1 18 19 Tennessee Tech 46-7 2-1 20 20 Coastal Carolina 38-17 2-1 21 21 Houston 33-21 2-1 22 22 Connecticut 32-18-1 2-2 23 23 South Carolina 32-22 2-1 25 24 Auburn 37-19 2-2 NR 25 Vanderbilt 31-24 4-0 NR Dropped out: Kentucky, Oklahoma St. College baseball rankings: SEC baseball standings Here’s a look at the SEC standings as of May 21, courtesy of SECSports.com. SEC EAST CONF CONF % OVERALL HOME ROAD  Florida 20-10 .667 41-15 28-6 12-9  Georgia 18-12 .600 37-17 24-6 13-11  South Carolina 17-13 .567 32-22 24-9 8-10  Vanderbilt 16-14 .533 31-24 22-10 7-11  Kentucky 13-17 .433 34-21 20-9 11-12  Missouri 12-18 .400 34-21 22-8 10-11  Tennessee 12-18 .400 29-27 20-13 8-12 SEC WEST CONF CONF % OVERALL HOME ROAD  Ole Miss 18-12 .600 42-14 28-4 13-10  Arkansas 18-12 .600 37-17 30-3 6-12  Auburn 15-15 .500 37-19 29-6 7-13  LSU 15-15 .500 33-23 29-8 4-14  Mississippi St 15-15 .500 31-24 18-7 8-16  Texas A&M 13-17 .433 36-19 27-8 7-10  Alabama 8-22 .267 27-29 22-13 5-15 The post College baseball rankings: 7 SEC teams ranked in latest D1Baseball Top 25 (May 21, 2018) appeared first on SEC Country.
  • In this South Carolina recruiting update from SEC Country, reporter Ben Wolk catches up with 4-star defensive end Curtis Fann Jr. Fann, who’s ranked by the 247Sports composite as the No. 18 weakside defensive end in the Class of 2019, told Wolk that he does not have a leader. It’s been that way for much of Fann’s recruitment, even though he clearly has an affinity for the Gamecocks, especially if you follow him on Twitter. South Carolina, along with Auburn, Florida State, Louisville, Notre Dame and LSU are the top programs vying for the 6-foot-2, 251-pound prospect from Emanuel County Institute in Twin City, Ga. The Gamecocks and Seminoles are recruiting him the hardest. “They offered me first,” he said of South Carolina. “Our relationship has always been good. It’s two hours away from house, not far at all. That’s why I go so much. They offered me last year. It’s Coach [Will] Muschamp and [offensive coordinator] Coach [Bryan] McClendon. “They need me. They want me. Coach Muschamp says he’s not going to take no for an answer.” Official visit No. 1 is set for the end of this month. Louisville, for now, is his only official destination. For Fann, who has no timeline for a decision, several factors will be considered as he moves through the rest of the recruiting process. The reasons are no different than many other recruits. “I want to know they’re going to develop me right for the next level because that’s my ultimate goal,” Fann said. “I don’t want to be around someone I feel like I can’t trust or talk to about everything. I need like a family away from home — and somewhere I know I can be successful at.” The 2019 South Carolina recruiting class currently list a commitment from junior college defensive end Devontae Davis, the No. 13-ranked JUCO prospect in the country. Including Fann, the Gamecocks are pursuing a handful of other defensive ends: 5-star Zacch Pickens, 4-star Savion Jackson (Clayton, N.C.) and 4-star Joseph Anderson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). South Carolina recruiting updates Juwan Gary lists top five The latest on Zacch Pickens Major visit weekend takes shape Gamecocks evaluating son of former NFL WR The post South Carolina recruiting: 4-star DE Curtis Fann Jr. lists no favorite, talks Gamecocks appeared first on SEC Country.
  • Most of the time you don’t have to spell out that you’re rooting for the Tennessee Volunteers. All it takes is the Tennessee Volunteers logo on a Nike t-shirt, and people will just know you’re serious. There is always strength in simplicity. Details Regular Fit: Not too slim, not too loose. Designed with a relaxed fit through shoulders, chest and waist. Material: 100% Cotton Crew neck Short sleeve Screen print graphics Machine wash Officially licensed Imported Brand: Nike $25.99 The post Tennessee Volunteers Nike Alternate Logo T-Shirt appeared first on SEC Country.
  • When grieving the loss of someone as important and inspiring as former SEC commissioner Mike Slive, sometimes it’s therapeutic for everyone to take a step back and have a hearty laugh at a memory from the good times with the dearly departed. Enter Paul Finebaum, who almost always knows just the right thing to say. After all, he talks for a living. On Friday, Finebaum delivered a sincere and emotional eulogy at Slive’s memorial service. By Monday, he was being asked to repeat the story he told during said service that had the whole room enjoying laughter during such a sad time. During his weekly appearance on WJOX-FM’s The RoundTable, Finebaum obliged the show’s hosts and gave radio listeners a taste of the classic yarn, which involved Slive’s handling of former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin and former Florida coach Urban Meyer during the 2009 SEC spring meetings in Florida. “This is who Mike Slive was,” Finebaum said, setting the stage for his story. “He was this grandfather who you always saw holding Abigail, his grandchild. It was the simple, quiet man who quoted Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and Churchill. but it was also this man who in late May of 2009 at the SEC spring meetings sat down with the 12 football coaches at the time and a kindergarten class broke out between Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer.” Kiffin, who had not yet coached at game at Tennessee in what was set to be a one-year stay over in Knoxville before taking the USC job, was already on edge about the rise to national prominence of Urban Meyer’s program at Florida. The Gators had won a pair of national championships under his watch in 2006 and 2008. “Kiffin had accused Meyer of cheating, if you remember,” Finebaum continued with the story on WJOX-FM. “Meyer came back at Kiffin, and they were arguing like petulant children. And Mike slammed his fist on the table and uttered a string of free but mostly four-letter words. “The room turned stone silent. And what I said Friday was this: [Slive] telling Lane Kiffin to shut the blank up even brought a smile to Nick Saban’s face.” Though the duration of the story is cut out in AL.com’s video from Finebaum’s actual delivery of the eulogy, the media outlet did capture the roar of laughter from those at memorial service reacting to the punchline of that story. It can be found starting at the 3:50 mark of this video: You can listen to the entire WJOX-FM interview with Finebaum here: The post Paul Finebaum brings laughs at Mike Slive’s memorial with hilarious Urban Meyer-Lane Kiffin story appeared first on SEC Country.
  • By virtue of conference titles in six sports, the Florida Gators have taken home the SEC’s All-Sports title for the 12th consecutive year. UF won the SEC in softball, baseball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s swimming and volleyball. The Gators won the men’s title by a large margin while finishing a close second to Georgia on the women’s side. “The level of competition across Southeastern Conference sports is so challenging, with many league teams contending for national titles,” Florida AD Scott Stricklin said in a press release. “To win the SEC All-Sports trophy is a credit to the efforts of our coaches and the Gator athletes.” Florida took home the overall crown with an impressive 159 points. Points are awarded based on how many competing teams are in a given sport. For example, the SEC football champion receives 14 points, while the runner up receives 13 points, and so on. Here’s the full explainer, per the press release: Points are awarded based on the number of competing teams in a sport (e.g. – 14 teams compete in SEC baseball, giving the winner 14 points, second gets 13, etc. Four teams compete in equestrian, awarding four points to the winner). A program’s points total is divided by the total number of teams competing in the sports the school fields and that quotient ranks the teams in the final GateHouse Media standings. The sports of cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field are combined. A program’s outdoor track finish makes up half, while the remaining two quarters are based on the cross country and indoor finishes. UF’s next accomplishment could come on June 29 when the final director’s cup standings are released. The Gators have placed in the top 10 in that event every year since 1983, the only program in the country to accomplish such a feat. Before that, Florida’s softball team will look for national redemption after losing in the Women’s College World Series a year ago, and the Gator baseball team will try to repeat as champions. The post Make it a dozen: Florida takes SEC All-Sports title for 12th straight year appeared first on SEC Country.
  • Alabama football drives the conversation here at  the Rammer Jammer , SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap, but we’ll cover news for every facet of the Crimson Tide. Every morning, we’ll be here for the latest on Alabama football, basketball and every other sport on campus. Tua Tagovailoa qualifies transfer comments Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa told a group of seventh and eighth graders that he was going to transfer if he did not play in the national championship. Those comments sent shockwaves throughout social media. Tagovailoa, however, said the comments  were taken “out of context.”  MORE: Sign up  here to get this roundup in your inbox Monday through Friday In other headlines … Former Alabama offensive lineman Dallas Warmack chose Oregon as his next destination. Former Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett revealed  he had a blood transfusion while at Alabama. Alabama lands 4-star defensive lineman Four-star defensive lineman Antonio Alfano committed Friday to Alabama over Georgia and Penn State. Alfano ranks as the No. 5 defensive end in the country and the No. 58 overall recruit, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Alfano’s commitment pushed Alabama to the No. 1 recruiting class for 2019. Built by Bama Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones wants a new contract and will not be at OTAs. Around the Capstone Alabama softball won its 14th-straight regional title. Alabama women’s golf is in the lead after three rounds at the NCAA Championships. Miss a previous edition? Find every installment of SEC Country’s daily Alabama newsletter  right here. The post Alabama football: Tua Tagovailoa says transfer comments were taken ‘out of context’ appeared first on SEC Country.
  • KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — There was a time when Tennessee football had the most feared set of linebackers in the SEC. The 1998 National Championship Vols had a group that wreaked havoc each Saturday, to the point of quarterbacks hearing footsteps and tailbacks prematurely bouncing runs outside. Tennessee fans would give most anything for just one player on the level of an Al Wilson, Raynoch Thompson or Eric Westmoreland. For now, Vols fans will have to settle with a somewhat anonymous and banged up group headed by tough luck linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr., and the inconsistent Daniel Bituli. Kirkland and Bituli have both shown flashes of NFL talent. Kirkland has had trouble staying healthy. Bituli has been nicked up and played hit-or-miss from week to week. Part of Tennessee’s move to a 3-4 scheme has involved Darrell Taylor moving from end to outside linebacker under the direction of position coach and defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer. To this point, Taylor has not appeared to make significant progress. For Tennessee’s defense to do anything relevant this season, the Vols will need their linebackers to step up and become playmakers. Pruitt did say that incoming freshman linebacker JJ Peterson is talented enough to play most any of the linebacking spots, so that’s a positive. But others must soon emerge: Quart’e Sapp, Will Ignont, Shanon Reid, Deandre Johnson or Salon Paige. Perhaps Austin Smith will become the player former coordinator Bob Shoop once thought he was, or junior college transfer Jordan Allen will pan out. Linebacker keys Projected starters: OLB: Darrell Taylor, Austin Smith; MLB Darrin Kirkland Jr., Daniel Bituli. Pressing issue: New defensive scheme must become second nature. Big concern: Kirkland and Bituli injury issues. Tennessee 2018 football previews PODCAST: Tennessee wideouts have lacked the YAC Vols receivers looking to catch on with new football staff Defensive line podcast, talk of Jeremy Pruitt challenging defensive line Vols defensive line needs to add power, toughness Tennessee offensive line dealing with weighty issues podcast Vols offensive line preview: Will Friend triggers big improvements Tennessee tailbacks: Can Ty Chandler play big enough to win starting job? Vols running backs podcast: Who will Jeremy Pruitt turn to for a yard? Tennessee quarterbacks podcast: Discussing Vols issues at QB Vols quarterbacks: Don’t call it a controversy, but it is a competition The post Tennessee football position preview 2018: Linebackers must grow into feared force appeared first on SEC Country.
  • LSU football is in the news every day, and  the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy! Joe Burrow report LSU fans received the news they wanted on Friday when Ohio State graduate transfer quarterback Joe Burrow announced his intention to play out the remainder of his eligibility at LSU. A former Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio, Burrow was a 4-star QB out of Athens High School in Ohio before spending the last three seasons backing up Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett at Ohio State. MORE:  Sign up here to get this roundup in your inbox Monday through Friday By adding Burrow, the Tigers now have four quarterbacks to choose from for 2018. None has ever started a college game, but Burrow is the most game experienced of the bunch with 39 attempts and 2 touchdowns as a college passer. Besides him, LSU has returning veterans of the competition in Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan. Brennan was the Tigers’ backup as a freshman in 2017 and attempted 24 passes with a touchdown and 2 interceptions, while McMillan has 1 pass attempt in three college seasons and Narcisse redshirted in 2017. Bringing in Burrow is definitely a sign that LSU felt it could improve its quarterback room. Whether that’ll be achieved by making Burrow the starter or by using the addition to motivate Brennan, Narcisse or McMillan has yet to be decided. Now graduated, Burrow should be available to start working with the team when summer session begins, meaning he’ll have a full summer to learn Steve Ensminger’s playbook and find a rhythm with his teammates. With the Burrow news fresh, I leave this up to you, LSU fans: Which quarterback do you want to start for LSU in 2018? Be sure to submit a vote in the poll below and we’ll discuss your answers in Bayou Bengal Briefing on Tuesday. (function(t,e,s,n){var o,a,c;t.SMCX=t.SMCX||[],e.getElementById(n)||(o=e.getElementsByTagName(s),a=o[o.length-1],c=e.createElement(s),c.type='text/javascript',c.async=!0,c.id=n,c.src=['https:'===location.protocol?'https://':'http://','widget.surveymonkey.com/collect/website/js/tRaiETqnLgj758hTBazgd7qcOCLfOIY86QMTtMYaQG5_2BwkcePC5Rn_2F_2FSIRW7BMoc.js'].join('),a.parentNode.insertBefore(c,a))})(window,document,'script','smcx-sdk'); Create your own user feedback survey Rest In Peace LSU legend Billy Cannon passed away at his home early Sunday morning at the age of 80. A star running back for the Tigers in the late 1950s, Cannon helped lead LSU to a national championship in 1958 and won the school’s only Heisman Trophy in 1959. Support and respect poured LSU’s way after Cannon’s death. Here is a smattering of some of the praise and honors Cannon was given Sunday: Athletic director Joe Alleva salutes Billy Cannon Current and former players and prominent figures remember Cannon’s legacy Tennessee Titans organization mourns loss of Billy Cannon Checkin’ in with the ‘croots Burrow wasn’t the only standout in the world of LSU recruiting during the weekend. In case you missed anything, here’s a recap of the weekend that was: Priority RB target John Emery Jr. inching closer to decision News from the recruiting trail: Southern Lab Tigers in great spot for two 4-star running backs Latest updates on the 2019 recruiting class In LSU softball news Despite a close loss Sunday afternoon, the No. 11 LSU softball team advanced to the Tallahassee Super Regional next weekend by winning the Baton Rouge Regional over in-state rival UL-Lafayette. The Tigers will match up against Florida State next weekend, needing two wins to advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. LSU defeated Florida State in the Tallahassee Super Regional a year ago, setting the precedent for this happening. In case you want to relive the regional victory from this year, be sure to watch the video below: In LSU baseball news The LSU baseball team lost two out of three games against Auburn on the road over the weekend, finishing the 2018 regular season with a 15-15 SEC record. Sitting still at league average, LSU qualified for the SEC Tournament as the No. 8 seed, setting the stage for a matchup with Mississippi State in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. CT. LSU played Mississippi State in Baton Rouge earlier this season and took two out of three games from the Bulldogs. Expect sophomore left-hander Nick Bush to start for the Tigers, as he went unused last weekend at Auburn. For more info about Tigers baseball, be sure to check out Out of The Box, SEC Country’s weekly LSU baseball column, at 10:30 a.m. ET. Today in made-up holidays According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, May 21 is National Waitstaff Day. So, if you go out to dinner, be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses. They work hard and they deserve it. Especially if they’re cool. And more competent than this guy: Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns  right here. The post Which QB should LSU fans want Tigers to start in 2018? appeared first on SEC Country.
  • Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web. Truth is a fickle beast in sports. Most only want to hear it when it reflects positively on their team. If it’s negative, better to sweep it under the rug. Or, at least, find some alternative talking point to distract. Fake news, sports. Fake news. Certainly, it’s that way with the Arkansas baseball team this year. There are beauteous truths and ugly ones with the Diamond Hogs. Arkansas’ season, as a whole, has been exceptional. The Razorbacks had an all-time great season at Baum Stadium, the best home record ever there. They’re top 2 or 3 in the nation in strength of schedule and RPI. They won a share of the title in the SEC West, the best division in college baseball. Then there are the negatives. Arkansas’ record on the road is poor. Not poor compared to its home record. It’s bad regardless. Dave Van Horn’s team is 7-14 away from Baum Stadium. They didn’t win an SEC series on the road, going 0-5. Both paragraphs are true. Both have caveats. The air is let out of the first paragraph’s balloon by the second. The over-the-moon crowd can be brought to Earth simply by bringing up the road difficulties. Those who gripe about Arkansas’ road difficulties have a counter from the uplifting crowd about how good Arkansas is overall. The question is which is closer to the truth. Actually, the question is whether the answer to that question even matters. Arkansas baseball doesn’t exist in a vacuum. To say the Diamond Hogs are going to have a rough week in Hoover, Ala., starting in a couple of days, simply because they were bad on the road all year is disingenuous. Why were they bad? How bad were they? Bad against everyone? Bad against good teams? Bad against bad teams? Eight of Arkansas’ 14 losses on the road came by 1 run. Eight. Another four of the remaining six losses came by 2 runs. That means, of all 14 losses, Arkansas was only out of the game twice. They aren’t a team getting drilled when they go out on the road. They’re a team about 3 hits away from being the No. 1 team in the nation. Turn a 1-run loss at Florida, at Ole Miss and Georgia into 1-run wins and not a soul is doubting Arkansas’ credibility. Instead, Arkansas finds itself in the position of insecurity. Maybe they need a win this week, or two, to make a top-8 national seed. Maybe they have already locked it up. Or maybe, this is baseball and the wildest game in the world will reveal when it’s time. Have fun this week. Arkansas gets yet another quarterback of the future Mississippi prep quarterback K.J. Jefferson, Class of 2019, pledged his commitment to Chad Morris’ Arkansas football team Friday afternoon. It seems a good get. Jefferson is a dual-threat quarterback who held offers from Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and several others. Impressive, definitely. It also means when Jefferson arrives, Arkansas could have six scholarship quarterbacks on its roster. Ty Storey, Cole Kelley and Daulton Hyatt are already at the school. Connor Noland and John Stephen Jones, Class of 2018, are set to arrive in the coming weeks. Alas, there is only one football. Someone is going to transfer at some point before Jefferson arrives. Six scholarship quarterbacks is excessive. Competition will weed out someone, maybe far before Jefferson arrives. But with Morris already locking in three quarterbacks in his six months on the job, it’s clear where he wants this program to go. MORE: Sign up here to get this roundup in your inbox Monday through Friday. ICYMI Arkansas softball is off to the super regionals for the first time in school history. Courtney Deifel’s bunch went 3-0 at Bogle Park to win the Fayetteville Regional. Arkansas gets a trip just across the state line to Oklahoma. The Sooners have won the last two national championships. Speaking of Noland, the Greenwood High right-hander pitched his Bulldogs to a state baseball championship Saturday. He isn’t only playing football for Morris next year, but he’s arguably even more touted on the mound and will throw for Van Horn, too. Arkansas’ punt return game has been brutal. Will it change under Morris? Not likely. Tweets and the like What a year. WOOO PIG SOOIE! @RazorbackSB IS HEADED TO SUPER REGIONALS!! pic.twitter.com/9FLkzCXdMi — Arkansas Razorbacks (@ArkRazorbacks) May 20, 2018 KJ Jefferson is happy to be a future Arkansas football player. Stamped ‼️‼️‼️ @ChadSimmons_ @_daGLOden1 @KatorieM pic.twitter.com/u38IlJSsqr — KJ Jefferson (@KJ_Jefferson2) May 18, 2018 Skip breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here. The post Arkansas baseball being ‘terrible’ on road is fake news appeared first on SEC Country.