Sprints Acknowledges Tragedy But Focuses on Baseball // 05.18.10

Bennie Abram died from complications due to sickle-cell anemia
The official autopsy results are out. The NCAA should require all college teams to test for sickle cell, but Ole Miss does and even Abram's father says the university apparently did all it could for him. Sometimes, there are simply tragedies that come from the risks we take to live rather than to exist. That doesn't make it understandable. Nothing does.

The SEC Pythagorean wins are out
Because Jerry likes doing the math and stuff. South Carolina and Auburn are the leaders, with Vanderbilt, Florida and Arkansas next in terms of winning percentage. Ole Miss is No. 8 despite arguably being better (in your humble correspondent's opinion) than LSU and Kentucky. (I'm still not sure what exactly to make of Vanderbilt, though losing most of the series against Georgia probably skews how good they really are.) But the numbers say ... yeah, yeah, yeah. Still good stuff and worth a read.

Who will get the regionals?
From a piece on Auburn trying to host a regional:

Though there's no maximum number of teams from one conference that can host an NCAA regional, it's unlikely that more than four teams from the SEC will get to be host sites. Last year, there were three from the conference.

Florida has the league's top RPI, but Arkansas, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, LSU and Ole Miss could also be in the discussion. That makes for a crowded field.

Assuming nothing truly surprising happens in the SEC this weekend (a sweep either way in Columbia, Vanderbilt shellacking Arkansas, Mississippi State sweeping LSU -- okay, so that might not be that surprising at this point), you would have to think South Carolina or Florida goes into the SEC tournament with a national seed locked up barring a collapse. The second-place team in the East could get one with a nice showing in the tournament.

The West champ could also get a national seed -- though I don't think three would come from the SEC, so it would probably be one or the other. The West champ will get a regional -- write that one down. If you count Florida, South Carolina and the SEC West champ as regional hosts, that probably leaves one or two left.

Here, it depends on what happens this weekend. Boyd's World has Florida No. 4 in the RPIs, Arkansas No. 9, Vanderbilt No. 13, South Carolina No. 14, Alabama No. 15 and Auburn No. 16. (The official RPIs are released later today.) The Arkansas-Vanderbilt winner has an edge on the fourth spot going to Hoover (unless it's a Western division champion Arkansas, in which case they're probably in), and Auburn has a very good chance if it takes two of three from Ole Miss. At this point, I have a hard time seeing LSU hosting a regional, and Ole Miss would need at least a solid series win against Auburn (in which case they might have already won the West) and maybe a run in the tournament.

But things could look very different next weekend. Stay tuned.

Tough questions
Barnhart gets past the question of what will happen to Southern Cal in the NCAA realm and looks at Reggie Bush's Heisman and Southern Cal's BCS title. The Bush part of it seems easy to me: If it's determined that he was ineligible, the award should be vacated (or given to Vince Young, who deserved it more to begin with -- that was one of the worst cases of a hype-driven Heisman selections that I can remember).

I suppose I could cheat on the title question and say the NCAA should vacate the wins affected and let the BCS decide what to do, but I think the question is what the BCS should do. One the one hand, Southern Cal would not have won the national championship if they hadn't won the games that got them there. On the other hand, vacating national titles is a dramatic step. But if you're trying to deter cheating in the future, what message does it send if the wins are vacated and the championship stands? That as long as you only get caught later, it's worth trying?

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