It is winner take all tonight at the Women’s College World Series after the Gators dropped a 1-0 decision to Michigan Tuesday night in game two of the best-of-three championship round. Lauren Haeger pitched a four-hitter but two of the hits came in the first inning and gave Michigan the only run it needed to even the series at a game apiece.
It was only the second loss of the season for Haeger (31-2), who had two of Florida’s six hits off Michigan lefty Haylie Wagner. Wagner threw a lot of breaking balls and offspeed pitches on the outside half of the strike zone that the Gators just couldn’t seem to drive with any authority. All six of Florida’s hits were singles.
Wagner, who hasn’t allowed a run in 21 innings at the WCWS (all but Tuesday’s game in relief), will likely get the start in Tuesday night’s championship game while Florida probably goes with Haeger again.
The loss was only the seventh of the season for the Gators, who have lost two in a row only once and that was back on March 14-15 when they dropped consecutive games to LSU.
PREDICTION: Florida adjusts to Wagner and generates more than enough offense for Haeger, who caps off a season in which she was National Player of the Year with WCWS MVP.
Who’s the biggest bargain at the elite levels of college football? That might be Oregon coach Mark Helfrich whose Ducks won 13 games in 2014 at a cost per win of $153,846. Who was the worst bargain last year? That would be Charlie Strong of Texas, whose six wins cost an average of $833,378.
Using the USAToday salary data, Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com rated what it cost per win for the 25 highest paid coaches in the country last year. The data is slightly flawed because Florida’s Will Muschamp was paid $4 million and coached the Gators to six wins (interim D.J. Durkin got Florida’s seventh win in the bowl game), so he should score #25 at $666,666 per win with Strong taking the 26th position.
Since Helfrich wasn’t among the highest paid coaches (he made only $2 million last year), the top spot on the bargain list went to Jimbo Fisher, whose 13 wins cost FSU $276,282 each.
If you look at the long term costs per win, the worst bargain out there is Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who is paid $4 million per season and has produced only a 34-30 record the last five years. Complicating matters is a steady decline in Iowa attendance the last five years (averaged nearly 3,000 empty seats per game last year). Of course, for Iowa to jettison Ferentz after this season it would cost $18 million since his contract goes through 2020 and he’s guaranteed $3 million per year (75% of his pay) if fired.
1. Jimbo Fisher, FSU $276,282
2. Art Briles, Baylor $285,013
3. Gary Pinkel, Missouri $309,091
4. Dabo Swinney, Clemson $317,510
5. Urban Meyer, Ohio State $324,046
6. Jim Mora, UCLA $325,000
7. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona $329,850
8. Mark Richt, Georgia $331,400
9. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss $335,333
10. Bo Pelini $341,961
11. Gary Patterson, TCU $358,333
12. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State $437,500
13. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia $440,000
14. Bret Bielema, Arkansas $459,813
15. Chris Petersen, Washington $460,215
16. Gus Malzahn, Auburn $481,813
17. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State $512,377
18. Les Miles, LSU $546,198
19. Steve Spurrier, $573,843
20. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa $582,143
21. Nick Saban, Alabama $596,682
22. James Franklin, Penn State $614,289
23. Kevin Sumlin, $625,750
24. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma $632,229
25. Charlie Strong, Texas $833,378
Jerry Hinnen of CBSSports.com wrote Tuesday that the SEC should sponsor more sports, noting that the league sponsors only 21 sports compared to 28 by the Big Ten, 27 by the ACC, and 23 each by the Big 12 and Pac-12. Hinnen notes the SEC is the richest league in the country, therefore it should add sports like wrestling, lacrosse, field hockey and men’s soccer.
On paper that’s a good idea and I think most Florida fans would like to see lacrosse, men’s soccer or wrestling but it’s complicated because of Title IX. Money isn’t an issue at any SEC school thanks to the addition of the college football playoff and an SEC Network that continues to grow. Title IX, however, is an obstacle.
A couple of years ago prior to a Florida basketball game, I was with two or three reporters when we had a chance to talk casually with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley. Foley played lacrosse in college and said he would love to add both men’s lacrosse and soccer at UF, but that would upset the current Title IX balance. Foley stated that if Florida were to add another sport (women’s lacrosse was the last one added) it would be a women’s sport because of Title IX.
Currently, the nine men’s sports (football, basketball, baseball, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country, golf) require 141.2 scholarships. Men’s lacrosse allows for 12.6 and soccer 14 so that would raise the men’s scholarship totals to 167.8. Over on the women’s side, Florida sponsors 12 sports (basketball, volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, golf, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, tennis and cross country), which require 123 scholarships. Here is where Title IX becomes a problem. If Foley were to expand the men’s
program to the 167.8 scholarships it would require with the additions of lacrosse and soccer, he would have to add at least two or three sports to keep the Title IX balance where it is today. Equestrian would add 15 scholarships while rowing would add 20 but Foley would probably need to add another women’s sport like field hockey (12) or water polo (8) just to keep the Title IX people happy.
Adding sports and paying for them would not be an issue, but do you want to add sports just for the sake of adding sports? That’s a legitimate question. Are there enough athletes to go around in the available sports to field competitive teams, not just at Florida but the rest of the SEC? For example, how many high schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and South Carolina sponsor girls rowing teams? How many water polo teams are there in the southeast? The Pac-12 schools dominate water polo because it’s a big sport on the west coast. Pac-12, Ivy League and Big Ten schools dominate women’s rowing because those sports are fairly well represented in their areas. The lack of women’s lacrosse teams at the high school level in the southeast has everything to do with the fact that only Florida and Vanderbilt sponsor the sport in the SEC (it’s not an SEC championship sport).
So while it sounds good for the big bad SEC to add sports because it has all this money, is it smarter to spend the money on the current sports in which the SEC is very competitive on a national level or add sports that (a) aren’t very competitive for a host of reasons and (b) might upset the Title IX apple cart? It’s not just about the money.
We’ve heard Richard Sherman boast that he’s the best lock down corner in the NFL, but New York Jets corner Antonio Cromartie begs to differ. Cromartie says Darrell Revis is the best and says it’s no contest, that Sherman has earned his reputation (he’s made three straight Pro Bowls) because he plays in the right scheme with an outstanding supporting cast.
Then Cromartie began talking about Revis, himself and some other corners that he considers superior to Sherman.
“Go follow the #1 receiver,” Cromartie said. “Follow him around for a whole entire game and let’s see what you can do. Darrelle Revis has done that. I’ve done that. Patrick Peterson has done it. Joe Haden has done it. [Sherman] is the only defensive back that hasn’t.”
Cromartie had other things to say, none of them exactly flattering regarding Sherman. Figure this is simply the opening salvo. Sherman has never been one to bite his tongue. There will be a response and mouths will roar.
Former Gator All-American Preston Tucker has played so well since being called up to the majors by Houston that the Astros probably won’t send him back down to AAA ball. He’s hitting .304 with two homers, nine RBI and several mutli-hit games already … One offshore sports book thinks the second version of the college football playoff will go off without an SEC participant. 5Dimes’ final four is predicted as Ohio State, Baylor, TCU and Washington. Personally, I think they’re nuts to think the playoff will not include either an SEC or ACC school … Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard wants to hire assistant T.J. Otzelberger to replace Fred Hoiberg, who was announced as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls Tuesday. Only problem is, school prez Dr. Steven Leath wants someone with a bigger name – likely Jeff Hornacek, former NBA and Iowa State star. Hornacek has never coached, but then again, neither had Hoiberg before Iowa State … The decision to reinstate football at UAB is not only a black eye for school prez Ray Watts, but also for Carr Sports Consulting, headed up by former Gator All-American and AD Bill Carr. Further studies show the data Watts used to kill football (reinstated Monday) was based on flawed data presented by Carr … With at least seven firings predicted after the 2015-16 NBA season, expect a run on college head coaches, particularly if Billy Donovan and Fred Hoiberg have the good first years in the league that they should have given the personnel they are inheriting at Oklahoma City and Chicago.
What sports would you like to see added at UF if the athletic program expanded by one men’s sport and two women’s?
One of the things I love about live performances by Gov’t Mule is that Warren Haynes rarely sees any reason to shut down after playing a couple of hours. For the money, it’s one of the best concerts going. The music is great and Haynes has few peers on the guitar. Today’s music is a live performance by Gov’t Mule at the 2014 Mountain Jam. It’s two sets and an encore, nearly three and a half hours.