Sprints Had a Long Day at the Ballpark, Like Many SEC Teams // 05.16.12

It might have been a long day for Missouri, too, if he's not healthy in time for the season.

BUSTBALL: A LONG DAY FOR THE SEC
In the final round of midweek games before the regular season-ending series this weekend, conference teams jockeying for position in the NCAA tournament didn't look so good. Not exactly a way to match up with Baseball America's projection of nine bids for the SEC.

Kentucky loses to Murray State, 7-3
Though, in fairness, Murray State sent every one of its weekend starters to the mound to try to get a win in this one. Still, the Racers are 210th in RPI. Kentucky was on the bubble for a national seed in the baseball tournament -- which guarantees you home-field advantage up until Omaha -- but this loss might burst that bubble.

Florida lost 12-7 at Samford
It was Senior Night for the Bulldogs, so that was nice. Samford is 63rd in the RPI while Florida is -- was? -- No. 1.

Mississippi State got blanked by Central Arkansas, 2-0
Central Arkansas is 191 in the RPI, which is probably just a bit better than the Houston Astros.

Ole Miss lost to Arkansas State, 10-5
Losing to the 140th team in the nation in RPI is probably not the best way to close out your non-conference schedule.

At least South Carolina got rained out
LSU is coming to Columbia in the Gamecocks' last chance to actually play a baseball game in the last week of the season.

Tennessee loses to Middle Tennessee State, 11-4
Not that the Vols are in the running for anything, but Dave Serrano is still not happy. This is some of what he's quoted as saying in the university's press release about the game.

"I am the leader of this program and am very proud of that, but I'm not proud of the product we are putting on the field right now. ... I'm not pointing fingers, but we just aren't good enough right now. That's the bottom line. We aren't good enough and right now we aren't showing a toughness to show up every day."

You can't knock a guy for being honest.

THE STORY THAT NEVER ENDS: CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT

This doesn't sound like a man leading a raiding party
Bob Bowlsby, who's taking the reins at the Big 12ish, appears to be ready to try to at least slow down all this realignment talk. Best of luck.

"My opinion," he told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday, "is college athletics would be well served by some period of smooth water and not all of the angst and disorganization that goes with moves from one league to another."

Of course, all the pressure for realignment right now would come from Florida State, and it would be very hard for the Big 12ish to say no if the Seminoles seemed ready to make the jump. But if the head of the would-be landing spot is trying to cool down talks, that would seem to be a good sign for the ACC.

ESPN: Enough already
That ESPN put out a statement on the ACC contract in light of all the discussions of Florida State moving to the Big 12ish is unprecedented. It's also probably a subtle sign from the network that it would like that talk to go away.

The new agreement with the ACC provided a win for all involved. Fans will be served with more ACC content than ever before through a wide variety of outlets, devices and technologies. ... The ACC has received significant additional financial compensation and unprecedented exposure for the added value and the longer term.

The reasons that ESPN would like to put an end to all of this is pretty clear. Since the 2010 realignment, the network has had to negotiate new or renegotiate old deals with the B1G, the Pac-12, the ACC and the Big 12, not to mention the negotiations that are currently underway with the SEC and the trouble that they're having getting the Big East to agree to a contract. Realignment has now spun out of ESPN's control, and there's nothing a near-monopoly like ESPN hates seeing more than things getting out of its control.

The importance of the statement is that ESPN is still a big player in the decisions that conferences make about expansion, because the goal of expansion is to get more money from television networks -- and much of that money comes from ESPN. The question is whether the conglomerate that helped fuel realignment in the first place can now put the genie back in the bottle.

Gene Stallings defends Texas A&M's move to the SEC
Though he says that success will probably take a little time -- it did for Arkansas and South Carolina -- the former A&M and Alabama head coach suggests that there was no way to preserve the status quo in the Big 12ish.

"First I didn't want to go to the Pac-10," Stallings said. "I would have rather kept the conference intact. Since it wasn't going to be intact, I would rather go the SEC than anywhere else."

Stallings is probably right on both counts about the future of the Aggies in the SEC West: It will take a while for them to win, but it will work out for TAMU in the end.

I'm sure he meant this as a compliment
Will Muschamp is one of the few SEC coaches to have actually visited Texas A&M as a coach for the opposing team. So what does he think?

"You ever been to College Station?" Muschamp asked. "It'll be the only time you go."

I'm sure Aggie fans will take that in the good-natured way in which it might have been intended.

More SEC officials: A good thing or a bad thing?
The conference is also making a move toward trying to better explain calls.

OTHER NEWS

Missouri QB arrested for leaving scene of accident. And returning. And leaving again
This is just not bright. Missouri's backup quarterback, Corbin Berkstresser, hits a parked car belonging to fellow Missouri student Jeremiah Willis. Berkstresser then apparently flees the scene -- briefly.

After Willis and his roommates called police, two white males walked down the street and asked about the accident. They said they were looking for a lost dog. After later seeing Berkstresser’s mug shot from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Willis and his roommate, Andy Rosenberg, identified Berkstresser as one of the two males.[para] If you're going to hit-and-run, then hit-and-run. Don't come back.

The arrest could end up being something of a big deal for the Tigers. If James Franklin (MO) faces a setback in his recovery -- he's expected to be back in time for the season opener and certainly for the Sept. 8 inaugural SEC game against Georgia -- Berkstresser would likely be the signal-caller for the Tigers.

But if the damage is more than $1,000, Berkstresser could face felony charges, and university policy would bar Berkstresser from playing until the case is wrapped up.

Watch that second dismissal. It's a career-ender
Few people managed to get kicked off the same football team twice in their lifetime, much less twice in a year. Missouri safety Tavon Bolden is one of those people.

The source indicated Bolden's most recent dismissal would be permanent.

At this rate, there might not be anyone left to play for either team in the Georgia-Missouri game.

Leon Orr has a unique defense
The Florida defensive tackle was charged with driving with a suspended license, an issue he's had in the past. But he's got a defense that has now apparently been removed from his Twitter page.

First off I wanna apologize to the (Gator) nation for this bad publicity, but I'm being depicted as a criminal of some sort and I've never had handcuffs put on my wrist or been pictured in a stripe jumpsuit!

Well, that's encouraging.

Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee), R.C. Slocum (A&M), Charles Alexander (LSU) to the Hall of Fame
How long before Fulmer turns in one of the other members for buying votes?

But not Wuerffel
Danny Wuerffel is probably not the worst snub by the College Football Hall of Fame, but he's certainly a notable one.

Saban restores sanity to interdivision schedule nonsense
I'm not sure if this is good or bad for the proposal -- Nick Saban is not exactly a beloved figure outside of Tuscaloosa -- but the Alabama head coach said in no uncertain terms Monday that he doesn't like Steve Spurrier's cockamamie idea about interdivision SEC games.

"I think the other division games you play on the other side are important to our fans and there's a lot of tradition involved in some of those games. I think if you minimize the importance of those games, that wouldn't be in the best interest of our league."

The fact that at least two other SEC coaches have said they support Spurrier's plan isn't great, but at least now we know that there are concerns beyond Mike Slive's with the proposal.

Jim Delany isn't the only problem in the B1G
It appears that many of the officials in his league are also trying to make sure that somehow, some way Pasadena will be a part of the postseason.

"For us it's critical to keep the Rose Bowl in the equation," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said.

The next time a Yankee says anything about the South trying to hold onto long-ago and archaic traditions ...

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