SEC coaches have two strong cases to consider for COY

Early this week the SEC baseball award winners will be announced, selected by a vote of league coaches.

Mike Bianco and Kevin O’Sullivan, who guided Ole Miss and Florida to the division championships, will be the top two choices for coach of the year.

O’Sullivan’s team won the SEC overall title by two games, and his roster includes 15 true freshmen. Regardless of talent level all newcomers face an acclimation period when they reach college baseball, and getting them to perform at a championship level is no simple task.

SEC coaches, however, had an idea the Gators would be pretty good when they picked them third in the Eastern Division.

By that measure, the Rebels’ surge has been more of a surprise. If the voting criteria is who won the most SEC games, O’Sullivan will be the winner. If the criteria is who did more with less, Bianco will be the winner.

Ole Miss was picked sixth in the division and finished 19-11 in conference play.

Florida was ranked in the top 25 of preseason polls while Ole Miss was not.

The Rebels hit .277 last year compared to .304 now. With games still to play they have surpassed last season’s totals in double, triples and home runs and did that some time ago.

Pitching has also improved from last year’s team ERA of 3.07 to the current ERA of 2.73.

Bianco and his staff have gotten veterans who were not big producers a year ago to contribute at high levels – Auston Bousfield, Will Allen, Sikes Orvis, Chris Ellis. They’ve also gotten big contributions from newcomers in key roles – Christian Trent, Braxton Lee, J.B. Woodman.

Florida will be a national seed, Ole Miss may be as well.

There are two strong candidates for SEC coaches to consider.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to Kory Keys and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • JB

    PA, Very good, my two favorite teams, but it could be a big decision of which team to support, that decision could come in game 12, should both teams be undefeated at that time. I would need relive my boy hood days in SE Lafayette co, Tula community, me roaming those hills, fields rivers and Sardis dam, hunting and fishing, and I hope for the sake of both teams that it will come..Even tho I have lived in Florida for many years, Mississippi Mud still flows within me, and memories that i cherish each day. We were up there last weekend and I paid visit with happiness to some of my old stomping grounds, guess i am still an old Johnny Reb.

    • Parrish Alford

      JB, I know you like your Gators, but it sounds like it would be hard for you to pull against Mississippi Mud.

      • JB

        PA you are doing an outstanding job in coverage of ole miss sports, thanks, i I have been an ole miss fan all my life and its hard for me to turn my back on them now, this baseball team is very good and i believe they will continue to move upward. the football program under coach Freeze is on the way up as well. basketball is in trouble and a stagnated point and don’t see any movement upward for them at this time. i have never been much of an Ole Miss basketball fan, Have a good day and enjoy your sports reporting

  • JB

    pa mentioned 15 true freshmen on the roster of the gators, Some of the starters and productive, they also have 21 pitchers, one Karstin Whtison

    , Karstin one a veteran

    of the old Gators but he has an injury and don’t get on the mound often, but the other 20 see action frequently, there is still some of the old corp players and they are run producers, Taylor Gutshue catcher, along the order of Ole miss catcher Allen, and all star second baseman casey Curgeon and an all star freshman first baseman out field very good as well as the SS so should ole miss confront the gators, , if so, probably be in the championship game it could be a shoot out, Gators will use every pitcher on the roster to get the job done.Good luck to both teams

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