The Arkansas Razorbacks are predicted to win the 2013 Southeastern Conference baseball championship, as voted by the league’s 14 baseball coaches in the 22nd annual preseason SEC poll.
The Razorbacks, ranked No. 1 nationally in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll, seek to capture their third SEC Championship and first since 2004. Arkansas returns five position starters and 10 pitchers from its 2012 squad which advanced to the College World Series semifinals.
Since 1996, the SEC has named a regular season champion as well as a tournament champion. Prior to 1996, the tournament champion was considered the SEC Champion.
In addition to picking a preseason SEC champion, the league’s head coaches voted a predicted order of finish in the SEC Eastern and Western Divisions. In the Eastern Division, Vanderbilt was the favorite with 89 of a possible 91 points. Florida came in second with 67 points, with Kentucky and South Carolina tied at third with 59. Arkansas received 90 points in the West. LSU was second with 75, while Mississippi State finished third with 59.
Points were compiled on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.
The 2013 SEC regular season begins Friday, February 15, with conference play set to begin Friday, March 15. The SEC Tournament will be played at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala., May 21-26. The 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament drew nearly 130,000 fans, a new record for the event. Seven times in the last 10 years the tournament has surpassed the six-digit mark in total attendance. An NCAA-record 2,191,785 total fans and 5,181 per game attended games in the SEC last season. That marked the 11th year in a row the SEC has topped the one million mark in attendance, leading the nation once again in that category by a wide margin.
1) Vanderbilt 89 (12)
2) Florida 67
3) Kentucky 59 (1)
South Carolina 59 (1)
5) Georgia 41
6) Tennessee 29
7) Missouri 23
1) Arkansas 90 (12)
2) LSU 75 (1)
3) Mississippi State 59 (1)
4) Ole Miss 54
5) Texas A&M 51
6) Alabama 26
7) Auburn 24
SEC Champion: Arkansas (9), Vanderbilt (3), Kentucky (1), LSU (1)