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Plainslinks abstains

Maybe just a tad more restraint this year, guys?

I am exhilarated and terrified. Kudos to Jay Tate for getting the first on-the-record commentary from an Auburn coach on this year’s upcoming Big Cat Weekend, a Q&A with Trooper Taylor that finds him both confident about producing similar positives as last year’s event … and hardly reassuring about not producing the same negatives:

On his expectations after getting hit with secondary violations last year: “The whole point is to get the kids here, to get them on campus and get to know them. If some of the pageantry is taken away, that’s fine. We always want to respect the rules. That’s never something we’re going to take lightly. At the same time, you want to be on the cutting edge. You don’t want to be in the box; you want to be on the outside.”

Well, if the box is made up of the NCAA’s rules, that’s a box we’d like to be inside, right? Forgive me if it sounds like Taylor’s looking for a loophole to exploit.

Oh well; as long as the damage is less substantial and no rules are broken intentionally a la last year’s de facto meet-and-greet, I’ll live. Especially if the 2011 equivalent of Trovon Reed ends up signing, of course. (One other note: I cannot hear the “outside the box” metaphor these days without thinking of this.)

Chaste Chadd returns. The second-best part of this SEC-football-teams-as-Star Wars-characters post is that it’s actually got some freshness that I’d have thought the “Team X is Pop Culture Thingy Y” genre had lost long ago (hell, it was already bordering on hoary cliche when I took my *cough* award-winning *cough* crack at it.) To wit:

If Georgia is Han Solo, then Larry Munson has to be Chewie.  He’s beloved by all, but only Georgia fans can understand what he is saying.

Ah, but the best thing about it? That the bloggeur behind the post is none other than Chad Gibbs, AKA “Chaste Chadd”, whose weekly Meditations at the long since defunct WarDamnTailgate were must-reads in the nascent mid-decade blAUgosphere. I’m personally not one to do much of the fanbase smack-talking thing, but if you can do it while quoting both Shakespeare and A Confederacy of Dunces or noting that Brodie Croyle’s name is an anagram for “Icy Beer Drool”, that’s worth something. Glad to see Chad back in the blAUgosphere and hopeful to see what he can bring come the 2010 season.

As for the whole “Ackbar for Ole Miss!” thing that spurred Chad’s post, apparently the campaign has gained enough steam that people seem to think it’s something with a snowball’s chance in hell of actually happening, which itself is funnier than the actual joke was to begin with. In any case, the important thing to remember is that random Mississippians have very strong opinions on the matter.

This is interesting. A RBR user highlights a Football Outsiders metric called “speed score” which takes into account both straight-line speed and weight, and–supposedly–helps predict which backs are going to have NFL success. And hey, look at who fares pretty damn well this way:

[W]hy should people care about the difference between the respective 40 times of projected first-round pick C.J. Spiller and mid-round prospect Ben Tate?

Because of an historically-effective metric suggesting that Tate might end up the better pro back …

[Speed score] shouldn’t be used as a be-all, end-all way to rank players, but instead as an “athleticism” marker to go along with game tape and a player’s constitution.

Now, with all that in mind, we return to Spiller and Tate. Although there was only 60 milliseconds of difference between their respective 40 times, Spiller weighed in at 197 pounds when he was measured in Indy; Tate, on the other hand, was at 220. Accounting for that difference, Speed Score pegs Spiller at 107.5, while Tate is at a Combine-best 114.2.

Considering the difference in their relative grades, that means a lot.

Now, just in case you’re wondering: Tate’s “speed score” is precisely equal to the one calculated for Ingram by the RBR user. Just sayin’.

This just in: Rick Reilly is an idiot. I’ve stopped reading him, but something about the “greatest moment in women’s sports” tagline sucked me in, and as it turns out the greatest moment in women’s sports according to Reilly is … a woman winning a major PBA tour event. Feel the dumb:

Bowling, the way I do it, is something to do between plates of nachos. Bowling, the way Kulick does it, is about endurance, brains, strength and will. I’d like to see [equally braindead Fanhouse writer David] Whitley throw a 15-pound ball at 17 mph, 18 times a game, for 90 games, over six days, averaging 226. You know who else can’t do that? Every guy in the Tournament of Champions field. Which is why the PBA gave Kulick a $40,000 check and a two-year exemption.

What Kulick just did is one of the single greatest female sporting achievements in history.

Reilly is griping that Kulick hasn’t gotten more attention for that achievement. Which it might if, you know, beating out a collection of men in a sport that involves rolling a ball at 10 stationary pins was really as a big a deal as achievements in women’s sports. Reilly’s trying to fashion himself as some kind of women’s defender in this piece; instead, he’s arguing that every gold medal just won by women in Vancouver was less impressive than Kulick’s bowling performance just became it came against men. He’s actually arguing that women’s sports have no value, and that if women really want to accomplish something, they’d better find a sport like bowling or chess or (theoretically) curling where men don’t have a raw physical advantage. He’s more misogynist than the people who are ignoring Kulick are by a factor of 10.

And he wonders why bloggers hate him.

Etc. Auburn’s got three new volleyball recruits, a solid-sounding setter and attacker and one 6-1 middle blocker that might need some seasoning … dude, Miss. St.’s baseball team got swept by Southeastern Louisiana.

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