THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

LAUREN HAEGER, RHP/1B, Florida

Not only does Haeger lead the No. 1 team in the country with 28 RBIs at the plate this season, she also leads it in the circle with a conference-best .45 ERA.

ALEX HUGO, IF/C, Georgia

The reigning NCAA home run leader and an NFCA All-American, Hugo has returned to the top of nearly every offensive category in the SEC, including a league-leading 1.035 slugging percentage.

HAYLIE McCLENEY, OF, Alabama

McCleney’s .518 batting average is “only” fourth in the SEC, but as a member of the U.S. national team, she is the Crimson Tide’s not-so-secret weapon.

THE CONFERENCE (in predicted order of finish)

No. 1 FLORIDA (22-0)

The defending national champions are at it again with a league-low 21 runs allowed on a 0.57 ERA, earning them a near-unanimous No. 1 spot in the NFCA coaches poll.

No. 5 LSU (22-0)

The Tigers are out to their best start in program history after outscoring opponents 176-27 so far. They’ll challenge Florida for their first conference title since 2004.

No. 4 ALABAMA (15-4)

Three of the Tide’s four losses came to top-10 teams, but getting Florida at home and not playing LSU at all could help Bama to another run at the Women’s College World Series.

No. 8 GEORGIA (19-2)

The Bulldogs are one of the SEC’s most efficient teams this season, hitting a league-leading .412 batting average, while holding opponents to a league-low .136 average.

No. 14 AUBURN (21-1)

It seems like every time the Tigers step to the plate, the ball goes out of the park. Auburn leads the SEC with 45 home runs, 11 more than the next-closest team. They could sneak up on a few teams.

No. 11 TENNESSEE (11-3)

Intense snowfall in the region has halted the Volunteers’ season. It’ll be difficult to regain that momentum once they finally start SEC play.

No. 10 KENTUCKY (13-3)

After losing five seniors from last season’s WCWS team, the Wildcats will have to pull some upsets if they want to return to Oklahoma City.

No. 20 TEXAS A&M (14-4)

In most conferences, a top-20 program would be expected to finish near the top of the standings. Unfortunately for the Aggies, that puts them near the bottom of the SEC.

No. 21 MISSOURI (10-3)

The Tigers are last in the conference with 101 hits and 69 runs this season after playing fewer games than any other program. A lack of games doesn’t explain the last-place .288 batting average, though.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (17-3)

The Bulldogs earned some votes with a win over No. 23 Notre Dame last weekend, but they’re still toward the back of the pack in the SEC. Their 54 runs allowed are third-worst in the league.

SOUTH CAROLINA (16-5)

The Gamecocks have some power in their lineup with 25 home runs this season, but that isn’t enough to carry them through the SEC.

OLE MISS (13-5)

Trips to Alabama and LSU this season will provide a less-than-warm welcome for former McNeese State coach Mike Smith in his first season with the Rebels.

ARKANSAS (12-7)

The Razorbacks have allowed more hits (130) and more runs (87) than any other team in the conference. That may be due in part to the league-leading 27 errors they’ve committed.