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Plainslinks looks a title in the mouth

Maggie McAlary hunt set equitation IN YOUR FACE.

War Eagle and good luck. It didn’t happen for Auburn this year in swimming, but there’s still a potential national championship on the line for the Tigers this weekend in equestrian. Competition begins today with Auburn getting a first-round bye through to tomorrow.

The Tigers are the highest-seeded overall team in the competition and coach Greg Williams sounds pretty confident about his team’s chances:

“I’ve said over and over that we just need to peak this time of year,” said Auburn head coach Greg Williams. “In eight years as a varsity team, we just had the two best practices I’ve seen. Coach Helfer and Coach Neubarth have set the girls up perfectly and they can execute all that’s asked of them. Now let’s see how bad they want it.”

Given Auburn’s track record in equestrian and the beatdown they put on “No. 1” Georgia a couple weeks back, I’d guess they want it pretty bad. Bring it home, ladies.

In more closely-followed sports … I’d suggest checking out the AJC write-up of Thomas O’Reilly’s commitment. Pretty clear that Georgia and Stacy Searels just weren’t impressed enough with O’Reilly to offer; we’ll see who’s right over the next couple of years. (My bet is, of course, on Auburn and Jeff Grimes.)

At PPL, Kevin rounds up a whole bunch of Auburn baseball-centric links and info. Tigers are still projected as a 2-seed in Regionals, but now they’re in Atlanta or Charlottesville.

Acid asks five questions for A-Day at Track ‘Em.

Tony Barbee is looking to fill in the last couple of holes in the hoops recruiting class. Frankly, holding onto four (of six) of Lebo’s recruits is a pretty damn good ratio. The only problem: Auburn lost both of the guards in the class and Barbee doesn’t appear to have any backcourt players on the radar. Meaning that the leading–and potentially only–candidate to replace Dewayne Reed at starting PG is … sophomore walk-on Josh Wallace. Oy.

This is way old, but P-Marsh has a brief list of spring breakouts. Ikeem Means and Frenchy are old news by now, but seeing Blake Burgess’s name pop up is encouraging. Seems like quite the walk-on program Chizik and Co. are developing.

All-Decade. So this has been posted everywhere already, but Auburn announced its All-Decade team as chosen by YOU, the fans! The team will be honored at A-Day on Saturday, and if even a quarter of the honorees show up, that’s going to be just about the biggest gathering of Auburn football talent since … I don’t know, maybe just the 2004 team itself?

I’d quibble with a couple of choices–I would make room for Tommy Jackson, Ben Nowland, and Devin Aromashodu–but there’s nothing egregious. Greats, one and all, and they’ve got (or rather, the Advertiser’s got) the bios to prove it.

Around the SEC. Lots of quickie links worth your perusal: Andy Staples claims the SEC West will be the toughest division in college football, and he’s right; the Citrus Bowl’s going to turf, so thankfully there won’t be any Mud Bowl (or Torn ACL Bowl) rehash this January; Arkansas’s baseball team may be leading the SEC West, but it’s not without its problems, as one player is out for the year with a torn ACL and their Sunday starter is facing a suspension after his second alcohol-related arrest in a year; and it looks like Montavis Pitts might finally have some company in the “left team to pursue rap career” trivia file, as the HOT RUMOR out of Knoxville yesterday was that Aaron Douglas–the Vols’ only returning starter on the offensive line before departing this spring–has left in order to get his hip-hop house in order. If this is the case, I wish him the best of luck.

So charming. Josh Moon relates this conversation between the Coachbot and “a female student reporter from the school’s student newspaper”:

Reporter: People are saying that Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram are the best running back combo in the country. Do you have any comments on that?

Saban: What people? Who are these people? I mean, I don’t know who’s saying that. I mean, you say people, but I haven’t heard anybody saying that.

Reporter: Students say that a lot.

Saban: So, the students here are experts about all the running backs in the country? I just don’t like those kind of questions.

Admittedly, “do you have any comments on that” isn’t the best way of phrasing the question, but given that we’re talking about a cub reporter from the Crimson White, you’d think she could be cut a little slack. As always with Saban and matters of common decency involving the press, you’d think wrong.

If you’re interested in the goings-on at the Tide’s spring practice, RBR has your write-up. The major developments are in the secondary, where an Achilles injury to JUCO recruit Dequan Menzie and the season-long suspension of Robby Green has left the Tide intriguingly thin; only two upperclassmen (Mark Barron and ex-LSU corner Phelon Jones) are even on the projected two-deep.

Photo by Leffie Dailey.

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