An innocent Tweet from the Southeastern Conference's media relations staff caught my attention last weekend.
With victories by the LSU women and the Florida men at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Des Moines, Iowa, the SEC has claimed nine national titles this school year. The conference record is 10, set in the 1998-99 school year.
One sport has yet to decide its school year champion – baseball. The College World Series begins Friday in Omaha, Neb. And only one of the two Cinderella entries in this year's field, Kent State, can keep the SEC from having one of its teams play in the championship series.
Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas are all in Omaha, and all on the same side of the bracket. On Saturday, Arkansas takes on Kent State in a matchup of super regional upset winners, while Florida and South Carolina meet in a rematch of last year's title series.
The website Boyd's World, which replicates college baseball RPIs throughout the season, also puts percentages on teams advancing through the postseason. (For what it's worth, Boyd's World gave Stony Brook the best chance of any No. 4 seed – better than 5 percent – of advancing out of its regional.)
The odds of an SEC team making the final? Ninety-seven percent, according to Boyd.
So could this be the greatest year ever for the SEC? You could certainly make that argument, especially since a win in Omaha would give the conference champions in football, men's basketball and baseball in the same academic year.
The Alabama football team started this amazing six-month run with its 21-0 win over LSU in the BCS National Championship Game in January in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Three months later in the same building, the Kentucky men's basketball team hoisted the hardware at the Final Four.
Florida won the men's indoor track title for the third straight year, then captured its first-ever outdoor title. LSU claimed the women's outdoor title for the 15th time in the last 26 years.
Florida also won the national title in women's tennis, while Alabama claimed three other women's crowns – gymnastics, tennis and softball.
Though we have only a year's worth of CWS games at TD Ameritrade Park as a sample on how the ballpark will play, I like the team with the hot pitching. And that would appear to be the team that's hoisted the trophy each of the last two years – South Carolina.
Apparently, national championships aren't the only titles on the SEC's mind.
Georgia alumnus Bubba Watson won the Masters two months ago. Now, Alabama alumnus Michael Thompson has the first-round lead at the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Were it not for a little thing named Katrina, we could be talking about Tulane alumnus Michael Thompson.
Thompson, an Arizona native, played his first two years at Tulane, where he earned Player of the Year honors in Louisiana and competed in the NCAA East Regional in 2005 as an individual. When Tulane disbanded its golf program after Katrina, Thompson transferred to Alabama, where he earned All-America honors and reached the final of the 2007 U.S. Amateur ... at The Olympic Club.
"If Katrina had never happened," Thompson said last year, "I would have stayed at Tulane, and who knows where I would be now."
At least if Thompson hears the word "roll" this week - as in "Roll Wave" or "Roll Tide" - he will know it's probably directed at him.
|< Prev||Next >|