Sprints Forces Another Championship Game // 06.01.09

Play Ball! LSU, Florida and Arkansas all punched their tickets for the Super Regionals on Sunday.

LSU with face either (1) Rice or (2) Kansas State out of the Houston Regional. Florida awaits the winner of the game between (1) Georgia Tech and (3) Southern Miss in the Atlanta Regional. Arkansas will face (1) Florida State, which demolished Ohio State in the kind of epic clock-cleaning that only comes around once a lifetime.

Those 37 runs set a school record and an NCAA Tournament record on a day when FSU (45-16) set numerous other records. ...

- FSU's 15 doubles were a school record and an NCAA record.

- FSU's 66 total bases were a school record and an NCAA record. ...

Was this a baseball game or a BCS bowl?

Today's slate for the remaining SEC teams:

Oxford Regional: (1) Ole Miss vs. (3) Western Kentucky, 8 p.m. ET (Winner Advances)
Greenville Regional: (1) East Carolina vs. (2) South Carolina, 6 p.m. ET (Winner Advances)
Louisville Regional: (1) Louisville vs. (3) Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. ET (Winner Advances)

We'll have an Open Thread up at 5 p.m. ET.

Those knocked out of the tournament, meanwhile, weigh the fallout. Alabama head coach Jim Wells is thinking about his future, while the Mayor assesses the 2009 Diamond Dawgs.

If you're the sort of person who prefers to look at the glass as half-full, there's a lot to feel good about with respect to the 2009 season. The Diamond Dogs went 38-24, set a new school record with 109 home runs, and made the N.C.A.A. tournament field in an odd-numbered year for the first time in the David Perno era ...

While I'm sure I'll come around to that viewpoint by next February, for now, I am going to sit and stew for a while over the fact that a young team charged out of the gate with a 25-4 start and fizzled down the stretch to finish 13-20.

As Kyle says, young teams are supposed to get better with age. What happens when they don't?

I'm all for the 'STOP PAT FORDE'S HAIR FROM DESTROYING THE EARTH' group. Actually, I never saw Forde's mop as that big a threat to the planet, but if it's trying to destroy our home planet, it must be stopped. Leading these bold efforts to save the globe from sports columnists' folicles is Erin Calipari, whose father of the last name coaches the Kentucky basketball team. (HT: Clay) Actually, give her credit for a razor-sharp sense of humor. Might not be what you'd call a PR expert, but ...

Meanwhile, Clay says this is "more about Derrick Rose than John Calipari." How does he know? His gut.

Never mind that Rose took his (third) SAT in his hometown of Chicago before he ever reached the Memphis campus. Never mind that the person the NCAA thinks took the test for Rose was a high school teammate, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Never mind that three players (including Rose) on that team allegedly had their grades changed to help with college admissions.

I'm not naive enough to think a college coach couldn't be involved in such a thing. But does this seem like Calipari orchestration or a Chicago inside job?

Yep. Sounds like a Chicago inside job. Nothing to see here, folks.

Listen, Clay makes good point here about whether Calipari actually has anything to do with it. Any link between Calipari and the SAT results is tenuous at best. But to say Calipari could have something to do with it, but this "seem[s] like" something else, therefore the media are evil Kentucky-haters -- um, paranoid much?

Not as paranoid as Cal, apparently.

At least Calipari won't be alone if he has the NCAA tournament appearance vacated. He'll have the company of Lute Olson and Jim Calhoun ... and himself. Of course, we all know that Calhoun's was taken away because he didn't get paid enough.

Cheating at the university for which you play, in the meantime, is definitely something that can affect the school. Especially when you say, "Instead of ratting my team out, I just said it was just me." Ladies and gentlemen, Patrick Beverley.

Present "academic considerations" mean John Knox will not be with Georgia's football team this season.

The Blotter. Lavunce Askew really needs to check out the deals at Best Buy. They've got some nice credit plans.

Ozzie Newsome will come to Alabama -- eventually. Yes, sad as it might seem, Alabama will some day be without the wisdom of Mal Moore, the athletics director who has made such wise coaching hires as Dennis Franchione, Mike Price and Mike Shula.

And the man many Tide faithful want to take stewardship of the athletics program might just be willing to do it.

"I am coming back," Newsome said during a speech at the Eagle Luncheon put on by the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America. "I am coming back at some point. I have a lot of work to do in Baltimore, but I am coming back."

Asked specifically whether he was referring to a particular job or just the desire to return to the state, Newsome said, "I am just coming back home."

Seeing as how the Ravens have an actual quarterback now, I'm not sure how much more of a legacy Newsome thinks he needs. But when he's done ...

A slight logistical problem on that raise. There might be an issue with the would-be raise for Urban Meyer. Aside from the whole budget-cutting and tuition-raising issue.

"He should be (the SEC's highest)," Machen told the Sentinel. "He's the best." ...

Tigers Coach Les Miles is currently the SEC's highest-paid coach at $3.751 million per year, and his contract includes an escalator clause that must keep him the SEC's highest paid.

When Miles won the 2008 national title, his salary bettered Alabama's Nick Saban ($3.75 million) by $1,000.

So how would that work, exactly? Florida increases Meyer's salary and LSU has to increase Miles' -- I get that part. But then, Florida increases Meyer's salary again, so LSU has to raise Miles' again? "We'll give Meyer $11 billion!" "We have to give Miles $11,000,001,000!" It looks to me like Miles comes out of this the highest-paid coach in the SEC no matter what happens. Lawyers?

Not cool. Death threats in general come from the bottom of the gene pool, but to threaten to kill someone because they're not playing good football? Really, how tenuous does your grasp on reality have to be?

Yet [Jonathan] Crompton confirmed what the News Sentinel had been told months ago, that the cell phone calls and e-mails escalated to death threats as the Vols stumbled to a 5-7 season.

"I did have death threats," the senior quarterback reluctantly said. ...

He's not complaining about what he heard from dismayed fans last season. Doing so would be hypocritical. Crompton chose UT, in part, because of its passionate fan base.

Criticism is fine. These guys choose to play college football, they have to be open to taking the heat a bit. But death threats are not part of the deal, and shouldn't be.

'Mommy, what's a secondary violation?' Boy Wonder's newest RECRUITING idea is to get younger. Much, much younger.

"When you really get a recruiting machine going, you're into the ninth and 10th graders, because you know your (recruiting) area so well."

And if that ninth-grader is good enough, he doesn't mind offering him a scholarship.

Why stop there? I mean, if a third grader has a cannon for an arm ...

Meanwhile, Tennessee and N.C. State will start off the 2012 season in the Georgia Dome. I would say "N.C. State should prepare for Boy Wonder's verbal grenades," the odds he'll still be on Rocky Top when this game takes place seem remote at best.

Georgia might end up playing UNC next year, Westerdawg says, though LSU looks to have a better shot.

Wind Sprints. Percy Harvin running the Wildcat in Minnesota. What, now college coaches know what they're doing? ... The Gators are "Big Men on Campus," according to Spike TV viewers ... A head coach trusted Tyrone Nix and disaster did not ensue. I'm speechless ...

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