SEC is now the top college softball conference
SEC Softball season starts this week. As we sit here, currently the top three ranked teams in ESPN.com Top 25 poll are all SEC members. #1 Alabama, #2 Georgia and #3 Florida. Tennessee, LSU, Kentucky and Auburn are all also ranked in the top 25 poll. Can you believe the SEC started softball back in 1997 and now has occupied most of the top spots in the national polls?
The one thing the SEC has been unable to conquer is the National title in softball. No SEC team has ever won the WCWS (Womens College World Series). Tennessee in 2007 and Florida in 2009 have been the only two SEC members to even make it to the WCWS Final. The Pac-10 has been the kingpin since the installation of the WCWS back in 1982. Pac-10 schools have won 22 of the 29 titles (UCLA'S title in 1995 was vacated) or it would be 23 titles.
The Pac-10 have won the last five straight titles and nine of the last ten national titles overall. I personally feel this may be the year the SEC busts through and takes the title from them. In 13 games among SEC and Pac-10 schools this season, the Pac-10 only has a 7-6 advantage and twice SEC members knocked off the #1 ranked Pac-10 school this season. Its more than just on the diamond that the SEC has closed the gap on their Pac-10 counterparts. The SEC has recruited many of the top players in the softball ranks and now have many of the top coaching staffs as well.
The state of California is the most fertile ground for softball recruits, Pac-10 schools have known this for years, and SEC members now have recruited that state well and steal their share of good talent from that state every year. The biggest difference maker in the SEC closing the gap so quickly in the sport has been the development of the high school softball players in the southeast.
If you look at many SEC rosters, you will see many players from the southeast now mixed in with the California talent. Is this the year the SEC breaks through and grabs a title from a sport in which it hasn't been able to yet? We will all watch and see, but this year so far, the SEC is displaying to the world that it is ready to be heard.
Thanks to Ollie Walden for writing this article for SEC Sports Fan.
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