News from around the Plains!
War Eagle, everybody! Friday is here once again, and we've got a number links of interest for you today. A number of Auburn spring sports are winding down towards a close this time of year. We'll kick things off with track star Harry Adams, who was the recipient of the Tiger Torch Academic Achievement Award this week. It's a great redemption story for the All-American Tiger sprinter. Harry Adams joined the Auburn family in 2008 as a wide receiver. He moved to defensive back in his second year, but ran afoul of the football coaching staff and was dismissed from the team. Harry certainly turned things around, on the track and in the classroom! Fellow teammates Keenan Brock and Stephen Saenz took home individual SEC Titles in the SEC Outdoor Championships this week also.
Things weren't quite so rosy for the Auburn softball team. Head coach Tina Deese had the team off to a really hot start this year, but the team had trouble generating hits down the stretch. The team was defeated in a pitchers duel in the first round of the SEC Tournament by Tennessee. The squad still made the NCAA tournament, and will take on the Houston Cougars this afternoon in Austin, Texas.
The Tiger men's tennis team lost a close one in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Illinois, 4-3. Despite that, head coach Eric Shore was named the ITA Regional Coach of the Year, and assistant Zoltan Pelva was named the Regional Assistant Coach of the year. Kudos to the men's tennis team! Auburn's women's golf ended the season finishing 12th in the NCAA Central Regional.
An Auburn name that's been in the news a bunch in recent months is Bo Jackson. Us Auburn fans tend to remember Bo mostly for his exploits on the gridiron. It was quite a treat this week to read the take of SBN writers Jon Bois and Bomani Jones, who viewed Bo's career nearly entirely from a Major League Baseball perspective. Sometimes we forget that Bo was an All-Pro in two sports! Bo certainly continued to blow folks minds with athletic feats after he left the Plains.
In scheduling news, Auburn's first solid football start time has been announced. The showdown with Clemson in the Georgia Dome has been set for 7:00 PM Eastern time on September 1st, on ESPN. Tigers vs. Tigers will be the Primetime opener for the season. Can't beat that for exposure!
Speaking of the Clemson game, the SBN Clemson blog Shakin the Southland has an interesting bit of Xs and Os football up this week, detailing some of Clemson's Malzhan-like offensive strategy against us last year. The author was questioning why an unbalanced offensive formation would be of any use. My answer is that a Ted Roof defense is going to take at least a half to make any adjustment. We had trouble recognizing Clemson's use of that technique, and LSU just killed us with it later in the year.
In news outside of Auburn this week, former Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer was named to the College Football Hall of Fame. Some might argue, but there's little debate that Fulmer won often, and won big in Knoxville over his 16 year career. His teams made 5 trips to the SEC Championship Game during that span, and he averaged 9.5 wins per year in his tenure.
Everyone's talking college realignment this week, and the latest wild rumor is of course Florida State to the Big 12. In every walk of life, there are things that go on, that are not cool to talk about. A singer forgets the lyrics, and just lets loose some lyrical noise. You don't tell 'em you forgot, you call it "improvisation." Some folks think that most big college football programs cheat. Not cool to talk about. Members of management disagree all the time, but you don't conduct those arguments publicly. And finally, a college board of trustees shouldn't air their differences in the media. Apparently, Florida State's brass haven't gotten that memo. Here's a really interesting take by former FSU star and current trustee Derrick Brooks. Not cool, Derrick. On the other hand, there looks like there's a lot more to the story than fanciful thinking.
The wackiest idea on college realignment this week is the idea of relegation, such as what is done in English soccer leagues. The idea is that lower performing teams can be dumped down to a lower division, and promising lower division teams can rise to the big league. Bill Connelly of SBN actually did a fairly involved simulation of this over at the SBN mothership. He starts in 2005, and has a year by year break down of which college football teams move up and down. By 2012, Ole Miss is gone from the SEC, and Appalachian State is in. Teams like Toledo and Northern Illinois crack the Big 10. Wait, maybe this isn't any wilder than what's actually gone on the past few years in reality! In any even, this simulation is one that's going to take a while to read and digest. Might be a good one for a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon with no football on.