Sprints Watches the College World Series and the Updyke Trial // 06.18.12

It's a critical day at the College World Series for all the remaining SEC teams.

COLLEGE WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE

Kent State vs. Florida, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2
This is the first elimination game in the SEC bracket, featuring the remaining Cinderella team in the College World Series against the No. 1 overall seed. The winner would then have to win three straight games just to get to the championship series. Not an easy path.

Arkansas vs. South Carolina, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The winner of this game, meanwhile, would need to just win one more to get the final three-game set. The loser will be in the same win-three-in-a-row situation that the Kent State-Florida winner would be in. It's a big game.

THE NEWS

The question is, are the rest of us ready for the Updyke trial?
Harvey Updyke is about to go on trial -- finally. You would think that you could try someone for killing trees inside of, I don't know, a year, but you would be wrong. In any case, Updyke's lawyer describes what he will be looking for when jury selection gets underway today.

"A juror who can look at only the evidence presented, a juror who can follow the law and make decisions based on the evidence and credibility of the witnesses. Those are the type of jurors we're looking for. Someone who can look at things separate from any emotions or prejudices or biases."

And I would like to find a unicorn carrying two satchels with a $1 million a piece inside. Finding either in the state of Alabama seems highly unlikely. But the entertainment value in the trial ought to be sizable, especially if you enjoy arguments about whether trees count as "venerated objects."

The road ahead for the SEC's newest members
This is a pretty good summary of the issues that face Texas A&M and Missouri as they enter the SEC. I think some of the issues are a bit overblown -- for example, one reason that so few players from the 12 traditional SEC schools come from Missouri is that a lot of Missouri prospects go to Missouri, and the numbers from those 12 schools are going to be tilted toward the home states of those 12 schools.

Otherwise, you have to accept the idea that there is more SEC-grade talent in South Carolina than in Texas, because 6 percent of SEC players come from the Palmetto State and 5 percent from the Lone Star State. I'm proud of South Carolina, but there ain't that much SEC talent in the state.

But, yes, there are some real challenges ahead for both the Aggies and the Tigers. Mizzou might be a dark horse in a jumbled SEC East this year, but TAMU is going to get knocked around a bit in the SEC West. Long-term, the schools will do what Arkansas and, later, South Carolina learned to do: Compete.

It might not come naturally or easily, but it will come eventually.

Of course, A&M also has other concerns
It's hard to know which is going to be tougher for Texas A&M: Getting used to a league where they have to play the last four national champions in the same season, or getting used to being Texas A&M.

"When you're putting in three new systems on offense, defense and special teams, there's going to be some growing pains," new Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin told a group of fans at a San Angelo steakhouse this week. "But I think our guys are starting to pick up the basics and philosophies of those three systems, and the whole team is there this summer working out."

I'm sure Nick Saban and Les Miles will be eager to point out to Sumlin some areas where his team needs extra growth.

Sure
You can almost hear the mock-innocent tone in the voice of Kentucky officials when they describe how a UK billboard just happened to show up near the Louisville campus.

"We didn't even consider the proximity of that billboard to another campus when we made the decision to purchase the space," said Jason Schlafer, a senior associate athletics director at the University of Kentucky.

Louisville fans, of course, are now raising money to put up their own billboard in Lexington. Probably just in time for basketball season.

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