Sprints Is Giving Out Championships Like Candy // 05.25.10

SEC BASEBALL TOURNAMENT

Auburn the real SEC regular-season champ and South Carolina with the East title?
Works for me. Alas, they give trophies (or don't, in the case of regular-season baseball titles) based on actual wins -- not the Pythagorean variety. But Jerry predicts an end to Florida's luck in the tournament.

SEC baseball sets attendance record
Can we get a bit more attention now? Maybe college baseball as a whole?

In 2009, attendance records were smashed as total numbers neared 1.9 million, an average of almost 4,700 per game.

The top teams aren't a surprise: LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss and South Carolina. Then we have Mississippi State?! Florida, the SEC and Eastern division regular-season champions, drew the seventh-most fans; Auburn was ninth. Tennessee, unsurprisingly, was last. (HT: Red Cup Rebellion)

Does this mean Manic Kyle is back?
The Mayor takes a look at the Dawgs' 2010 season and finds it not all bad, and in fact reason for a small bit of optimism.

In the season’s final five games, Georgia put up 71 hits and 45 runs, all against SEC opposition. ...

From May 14 forward, however, the Bulldog starters lasted five or more innings five times in six games. During that concluding stretch of the season, starting pitchers for the Red and Black surrendered more than three earned runs just twice and combined for 35 strikeouts and just fifteen bases on balls.

I don't think anyone who knows SEC baseball expects Georgia to be bad for long. So it comes as no surprise that there are hopeful signs for Perno and Co. next year.

CHAMPIONSHIPS, EXPANSION AND MONEY

Auburn to win a national championship from the past?
That's a possibility that Track Em Tigers is considering now that the Trojans could have to vacate their No. 1 ranking from 2004.

How likely is the BCS to pick a new champion? I'd put it somewhere between slim and none. USC will almost surely be forced to vacate, but a new champion will not be crowned.

The Associate Press is an entirely different story.

Many believe the writers will crown a new champion. ESPN analysts Craig James and Ed Cunningham clearly favor giving the title to Auburn. An undefeated season in the SEC coupled with the throttling Oklahoma took from USC in the championship game, makes it a no brainer -- at least according to those two.

I'll pass up the obvious joke about Craig James and "a no brainer" -- really, I shouldn't get paid to write that one, so I'll let you do it -- and point out that you're treading on dangerous territory if you approvingly cite Mr. James in your argument.

(That said, TET also makes the point that "It has taken twice as long for the NCAA to convict the Trojans as it did for the United States to invade Iraq, remove Saddam Hussein from office and have him executed.")

And The Valley Shook replies.

The question for me is "should the AP award a new title or just leave the champion vacant?" And honestly, I think they shouldn't. Yes, Oklahoma got creamed by USC in the title game, but that was a team that has been ruled to have been cheating (well, if they are stripped of the wins). I don't believe we can hold that loss against OU. 2004 was a long time ago, and I don't think voters can make a judgment based solely on the results of the 2004 season.  OU would still have the best win that season, over otherwise unbeaten Texas.

More than anything, I'm just not comfortable scrubbing the past of things we don't like. Sure, we can strip SC of the title because they cheated, but I don't want Auburn, or Oklahoma, or even Utah, to be awarded the title on the simple ground that they didn't win it. I don't like the AP going back and pretending Auburn or OU did win, if not for SC's cheating. Auburn or OU would have won, but we simply don't know which one would have. We can make a good guess, though.

Especially since we're talking about a Bob Stoops team that would have been playing in a BCS game.

Your humble correspondent is probably closer to ATVS than to TET on this one. I say that as someone who thought long before the 2004 championship game that the Sooners weren't better than the Tigers and shouldn't have gone. (I'm not sure Oklahoma was that much better than Utah, but I digress.) That said, we can't know whether Auburn would have defeated Oklahoma in the game. On the other hand, it doesn't seem right to give the trophy to Oklahoma after that game.

So give it to no one. Vacate the title and let it be.

The new SEC: Bigger, faster ... more thuggish?
Year2 said a lot of what I would have said on Monday, so I won't spend too much time on this. First of all, most of the expansion plans discussed make sense and are likely on the conference's list of possibilities, regardless of whether they've discussed it with CBS or not. While the SEC's denial is pretty strong as those things go, there's still room for something like this to have happened. (If someone other than Slive has discussed the expansion plans with CBS, for example, the statement could still be true.) Texas, A&M, FSU and Clemson would all fit in the SEC. But I also agree that Miami is a bad choice. It's more about money than the move that would make the most sense culturally should the Texas schools not join the SEC: West Virginia.

A reasonable point
Tony Barnhart argues that the SEC essentially can't afford to ignore the Big Ten's expansion plans.

What if every Big Ten school is suddenly making $35 million a year and the SEC is still at $17 million? Over ten years that’s $180 million more per school that is invested. Would that not make a competitive difference over a decade?

I don't know. Does money make you faster?

It pays well to get $3 billion in television contracts
Especially for Mike Slive, commissioner and king of the SEC. Like him or not, he appears to be here to stay.

Slive received a $1 million bonus from the league in 2008-09, a period of time that saw him receive some $2.1 million in compensation from the conference. A year earlier, he was paid $650,688.

In other words, he made almost as much as Lane Kiffin. And with the new contract lasting through 2012, he might be in Birmingham longer than Bobby Petrino is in Fayetteville.

OTHER NEWS

So he's not the Grumpy Ol' Ball Coach?
Garnet And Black Attack questions the conventional wisdom regarding Spurrier and how outdated his offense is. Part of the conclusion: Spurrier has changed.

We are now running much more option and zone-blocking approaches than we did in Spurrier's first few years, making our approach something of a combination of Spurrier's old approach and the zone read. Based on who we're recruiting, moreover, it appears that this is what we're going to continue doing. It hasn't turned our offense into the unstoppable juggernaut many of us would like to see, but it's not like Spurrier is this old curmudgeon that just won't change. The facts say otherwise.

But he's still going to retire after this year. Just like he did after 2009, and 2008, and 2007 ...

Failure
Despite the efforts of your humble correspondent and other bloggers, Lane Kiffin lost his Sweet Sixteen bout with Heather Mitts in Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive contest. I demand a recount, or at least an inspection of the vote to make sure that the magazine didn't use bots to achieve this "victory."

Meanwhile, Natalie Gulbis is protesting her loss in the first loss.

"This is why I came here. I'm trying to seek revenge on that," quipped Gulbis, who posted photos on her Twitter account of throwing darts and standing next to a Kiffin dart board during her time here.

"That was a pretty big upset. In fact, it's probably going to be the low part of my year, getting beat by him in that poll."

Speaking of those pictures: I wish I had voted for Gulbis. Anyone who's willing to throw a few darts at Kiffin is okay in my book. By the way, Natalie, if you need a shoulder to cry on ... (HT: Dr. Saturday)

Florida Supreme Court: NCAA must follow law
This shouldn't be hard for the Association to get: There are laws. Even the NCAA has to follow them, which should be easy to understand for an organization that, um, enforces rules.

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