Maybe it’s time to focus on the other sport where SEC membership really does just mean more? No offense to that other roundball game going on in March, but SEC baseball is living up to its billing. The first weekend of league play led to some utterly unsurprisingly sweeps, but also a few surprises. Here’s our quick guide to the SEC week that was.

1. Vols roll, Ben Joyce scares us

Not only did Tennessee sweep its opening series with South Carolina (and do so while allowing just 5 runs and 11 hits in the 3 games combined), but the Vols definitely increased the “it” factor with Vol reliever Ben Joyce giving a quick preview as to how the Vols can quiet even SEC bats. Wonder how UT has a league-low 1.87 ERA. A better use of time and energy might be pondering how anybody ever hits this stuff — it’s that filthy.

2. Vandy’s bats continue to impress in Mizzou sweep

Vandy beating — and even sweeping — Missouri to open SEC play isn’t surprising. Neither is Commodore pitching allowing just 6 runs on 15 hits in the 3 games. But what might be surprising is Vandy slugging 28 runs on 31 hits in that same series. Dominic Keegan is hitting a robust .426 and he had 5 hits and 4 RBIs over the weekend. Enrique Bradfield is 12-for-12 on stolen base attempts, and Vandy is 2nd in the SEC in both ERA and batting average — 2nd to UT in both cases.

3. Arkansas sweeps to start

Similarly, Arkansas was impressive in all facets of the game in sweeping Kentucky to open their season. The Hogs gave up just 6 runs on 20 hits, while scoring 18 runs on 23 hits. One place that Arkansas continues to stand out is on defense. The Razorbacks have just 9 errors, fewest in the SEC — in fact, 5 SEC teams have more than twice as many errors as Arkansas. It’s kind of a no-superstar approach at the plate for the Razorbacks, where 8 Hogs have multiple HRs but nobody has more than 4.

4. The sad news on Landon Sims

Mississippi State ace Landon Sims made official early in the week what most of us had feared since an early hook due to elbow discomfort. He’s gone for the season and had Tommy John surgery. Sims isn’t the first top college baseball performer who is already shut down, sorry to say (and yes, fair to wonder how good UT would be with Blade Tidwell).

Hopefully, Sims will heal up and be back stronger than ever in 2023. The game is better with him pitching in it.

5. Georgia bests MSU, but with an odd finale

Given State’s tough start, it wasn’t surprising that Georgia won their opening series. After an 11-0 beatdown on Friday, Georgia walked off a 12-11 win on Saturday, thanks to Cole Tate.

But then, on Sunday, State roared back with a 20-3 win. A grand slam from freshman Hunter Hines was the big blow, but State, even while losing its ace and its opening series, served notice that they could still make plenty of noise in 2022.

6. Barco sharp as Florida bests Bama

Florida won 2 of 3 from Alabama, losing the Sunday game 8-7, but still winning the series. The Gators got off to a great start on Friday, with ace Hunter Barco giving them 8 innings of 4-hit, 1-run pitching, highlighted by 10 strikeouts. Florida’s bullpen struggled even then, hanging on for a 6-4 win, and getting beaten up late by the Tide on Sunday. If the Gators can get reliable bullpen work, they’re good. If not, it gets a little dicier.

7. Uneven week for the Rebels

Ole Miss moved up to No. 1 last week but might not stay there, even with a win in its first SEC series. Yes, the Rebels won 2 of 3 from Auburn. But the loss was a 19-5 bludgeoning on Friday… and in the meanwhile, Ole Miss lost to Southeast Louisiana 5-1 on Tuesday. In that game, the Rebels had as many errors as base hits — 3 of each. Some of the sting came out of Friday’s ugly loss (in which starter Derek Diamond couldn’t get through the 4th inning) after Ole Miss put up a 15-2 beating in the series-finale on Saturday. Still, up and down for Ole Miss.

8. Texas A&M surprises LSU

Texas A&M picked up the surprising series result of the weekend, besting LSU in 2 of 3 games. The Aggies picked up 6-4 and 11-7 wins on Friday and Saturday. LSU’s bullpen entered each of those games with a tie score in the 9th and promptly allowed 2 and 4 runs to net the losses. If there’s a silver lining for the Tigers, it’s that they won 7-6 on Sunday, with the bullpen holding the late lead. It’s all a question of pitching for the Tigers — the hitting will be fine.

9. An interview moment to remember

Look, we all get the idea. Fans want more insight. In the case of baseball, that can lead to some uncomfortable moments, though. If anybody still thinks we need in-dugout, in-game interviews, watch poor LSU coach Jay Johnson here, as he seems to be contemplating homicide as he gets interviewed while his starting pitcher gives up a home run.

Can we just let the coaches coach … and maybe interview them before or after the game?