SEC Outlook for 2016

The SEC has begun to dominate College Softball like they have done in College Football when it comes to National Championships. The SEC has won 8 of the last 10 national titles in college football. Currently the SEC has won 3 ( Alabama 2012, Florida 2014,2015) of the last four Women’s College World Series.  In the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll, the SEC has 9 teams ranked in the top 25. Florida was picked by the SEC coaches as the favorites to win the SEC regular season title.
2016 SEC Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll (First-Place votes in parenthesis)
PLACE  (Ranking from ESPN.com/USA Poll) SCHOOL POINTS
1.                                       # 1 Florida (10) 142
2.                                       #3 LSU (3) 128
3.                                      #6 Auburn 121
4.                                      #5 Alabama 113
5.                                     #9 Tennessee 102
6.                                   #14 Georgia 85
7.                                      #12 Missouri 82
8.                                    #18 Kentucky 59
9.                                     #24 Texas A&M 58
10. Mississippi State 45
11. South Carolina 40
12. Ole Miss 27
13. Arkansas 12

The SEC has tons of talent returning as shown below with the conference announcing the pre-season All-SEC team. Among them is the Gators Kelsey Stewart who was the SEC player of the Year in 2015.

2016 Preseason All-SEC Softball Team
NAME SCHOOL POSITION CLASS HEIGHT HOMETOWN
Emily Carosone Auburn IF Sr. 5-4 Orlando, Fla.
Kasey Cooper Auburn IF Jr. 5-4 Dothan, Ala.
Kelsey Stewart Florida IF Sr. 5-6 Wichita, Kan.
Alex Hugo Georgia IF Sr. 5-8 Olathe, Kan.
Bianka Bell LSU IF Sr. 5-5 Tampa, Fla.
Haylie McCleney Alabama OF Sr. 5-4 Morris, Ala.
Tiffany Howard Auburn OF Sr. 5-5 Pembroke, Ga.
Kirsti Merritt Florida OF Sr. 5-4 Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.
Alaynie Page South Carolina OF Sr. 5-6 Boiling Springs, S.C.
Alexis Osorio Alabama P So. 5-8 Riverside, Calif.
Kelsey Nunley Kentucky P Sr. 5-10 Soddy Daisy, Tenn.
Carley Hoover LSU P So. 6-2 Clemson, S.C.
Aubree Munro Florida C Sr. 5-10 Brea, Calif.
Rainey Gaffin Tennessee DP/UT Sr. 5-10 Thornton, Colo.

On In the Circle Podcast, I along with Victor Anderson spoke to Justin McLeod of Justin’s World about the SEC.  Among topics we addressed with Justin about the SEC was the following:

  • How will the Florida Gators replace National Player of the Year & WCWS MVP Lauren Haeger?
  • Between Auburn & Alabama who has better chance of getting back to WCWS and possibly knocking off the Gators?
  • Is LSU the team to beat this year with possibly deepest pitching staff in SEC?
  • How will the Lady Vols replace Annie Aldrete and Taylor Koenig who transfered to California.
  • What impact will new Georgia Asst Coach  and former LSU All-American pitcher Rachele Fico have on Chelsea Wilkerson and Bulldogs program?
  • Who is the sleeper  team out of he SEC ?

In The Circle Podcast : SEC Preview 

You can also listen to the entire In the Circle D1 College Softball season preview podcast

Some key Players to watch in the SEC this season according to Justin McLeod :

6_3622435
Kasey Cooper Looks to get Auburn back to WCWS. Photo Courtesy Auburn 247 Sports

 Kasey Cooper, Auburn – There is no better evidence of the impact Clint Myers has had on Auburn than Cooper. In two seasons under his tutelage at AU, Cooper has been twice an all-American and owns a career .404 batting average to this point. She’s clubbed thirty-six home runs and driven in 141 runs during that time. Effective at the hot corner, and despite playing in a loaded conference, it’s a surprise to me that she hasn’t added SEC Player of the Year to her laundry list of honors. This could be the year that changes.

 Sami Fagan, Missouri – After finding her new home in Columbia, Fagan has thrived. She was selected an all-conference second-teamer a year ago, a season that also included a .368/13/66 slash line. She led the Tigers in nine statistical categories, including runs scored [58] and total bases [120]. Now a redshirt senior, she could play herself into consideration for a conference Player of the Year nod.

 Alaynie Page, South Carolina – Almost overnight, Page went from a sub-.230 career hitter to an all-American. In her junior campaign, she more than doubled her career hits total from the previous two seasons. She went from a mediocre outfielder to an ace in the hole for the Gamecocks. Page’s .436/15/45 slash line earned her first-team all-american honors, as well as a first-team all-conference nod. If she can retain her form from a year ago, she could be a catalyst to SC winning some ballgame.

 Sandra Simmons, LSU – Simmons’ trophy case may be light, comparatively, to others in the SEC, but she is one of the most consistent performers and is assuredly a game-changer for Beth Torina’s Tigers. I expect an all-SEC honor for her in her final season and I also classify her as the #2 first baseman in the senior class. Another year of improving offensive statistics could set her up for a selection in the professional draft.

Eric Lopez’s projections for SEC teams in NCAA Tournament – 11 Teams

Florida

LSU

Alabama

Auburn

Tennessee

Georgia

Missouri

Texas AM

Kentucky

Mississippi State

South Carolina

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5 thoughts on “SEC Outlook for 2016

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