Get well soon. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since I’ve lived close enough to Birmingham to watch “The Zone,” but I’ve got a few friends who do. And so I’ve gotten a handful of e-mails over the past, oh, couple of years letting me know that none other than Mike Raita had name-dropped the JCCW during a discussion of Kodi Burns or something else Auburn-related. He’s a reader. I thought that was pretty cool. I still do.
So for both that and his excellent work over the years, it was tough to read that Raita will be leaving the show and ABC 33/40 as he battles cancer. Here’s to hoping (and praying) he feels better soon. August is going to be right around the corner.
Besuboru! Not surprisingly, Auburn put in their bid to host a baseball Regional last Friday. This tidbit was interesting:
The bid encompasses nearly everything that goes into making the regional run — from parking, to tickets to media facilities.
There’s also the money. Each site makes a certain financial “guarantee” to the NCAA for getting the right to host. Auburn’s figure wasn’t disclosed, but Mines said he and coach John Pawlowski made some calls to help get a feel for the right number. And Mines cautioned that money won’t make up for lack of credentials.
“It’s now more about your RPI, your standings, how you finish,” he said. “We called some people to try to find out some of the (financial) numbers over the years. One school bid a quarter-million dollars and still didn’t get it.”
Pretty odd that even if the NCAA is focusing more on performance than bribery these days, that 1. bribery is still an element at play 2. they can still nix your bid if they think your parking lots are unsafe, or whatever.
The more important thing, of course, is that people seem to think Auburn might actually win their bid. According to that projection Auburn is just a hair ahead of Vandy, who’s getting shipped to Connecticut. The nice thing is that if Auburn can win the series in Oxford, Arkansas and Vanderbilt should cancel each other out; they both can’t keep pace with the Tigers.
For a more thorough breakdown of the situation, check out BaseballAmerica’s overview. They agree; beat Ole Miss, host a Regional. Also fun: Auburn leads the nation in home runs and slugging percentage. In your face, pitchers.
Newslinks. Nothing terribly exciting off the beat today, I guess, but a Q&A with Tony Barbee is always worth a read, and the Chizik-esque declaration of intent to recruit within Alabama is intriguing. The Auburn women’s golf team closed the first round at the NCAA Championships in ninth place yesterday, 11 strokes off the lead. Andrew Gribble previews Clemson, noting that behind the Kyle Parker circus lurks a pretty decent defense. On the occasion of his induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Doug Segrest looks back at the career of Auburn All-American Ben Tamburello. Rivals profiles Ed Christian, who’ll be on campus himself soon.
BOOM! But, like, BOOM drawn out over a thousand “OO”‘s. The news this week that there’s still no timetable in place for Mack Brown to step down at Texas and yield the throne to Will Muschamp has WEA at Track ‘Em thinking over the pros and cons of this whole “coach-in-waiting” thing. In the end, I agree with him that the potential awkwardness on both sides in the event of a failed CiW scenario outweighs the unlikely pros; for every Joker Phillips-taking-over-for-Rich Brooks, it seems like there’s been two Ann Bowdens screeching to the media that her husband will leave when he’s good and ready.
One more point in response to WEA’s piece: man, I know the Tubby parallels run deep, but I’m not at all convinced Mark Richt is on any kind of hot seat. Blutarsky’s got some reasons I find fairly compelling, and PWD points out that Aaron Murray’s in some good company in Athens as a freshman QB, but more simply, this is a program whose win totals from 2002 through 2008 read 13, 11, 10, 10, 9, 11. If the Dawgs win just eight games again, yeah, there’s going to be some turmoil. But as solid on the ground as the Dawgs should be and with the inevitable bounce-back in the turnover department, I bet there’s at least some pull back towards the Dawgs’ 10-win average over the past decade.
Fun while it lasted. The brief era of getting somethin’-for-nothin’ in the world of Auburn recruiting coverage ended yesterday as Bryan Matthews shut down The Auburn Sports Blog and joined P-Marsh at AuburnUndercover. Apparently he actually want to get paid for his work. What’s up with that? In any case, thanks to Matthews for the freebies.
Etc. I haven’t been feeling FreeDarko this NBA season as I have in years past, but this is money. Extremely geeky money … DocSat has a list of old-school nonconference rivalries that ought to be revived, led by the obvious choices like Georgia-Clemson and Pitt-Penn St. But dude, if anyone’s reviving a long-dormant annual series with Georgia Tech, it’s got to be Auburn … and speaking of old-school rivalry, it warms my heart to see that LSU fans are still willing to talk smack about Tulane. May the old college athletics-based hatreds never die.