UAA Communications

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day: April 25

When freshman Amanda Lorenz hit a 2-out, 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning Sunday to give the #1-ranked Gators (45-3, 15-3 SEC) a 3-1 win and a sweep of Mississippi State, it capped a 3-day weekend for the University of Florida athletic department so good that you couldn’t have scripted it.

Besides Lorenz, heroes were many for the Gators:

* Delanie Gourley (15-2, 0.68 ERA) pitched a no-hitter Friday night, a save Saturday and 5 innings of 2-hit shutout ball for the win Sunday to help the Gators punch out Mississippi State.

* Kayli Kvistad went 4-4 with two homers and 5 RBI Friday night as the Gators run-ruled Mississippi State, 16-0, to back up Gourley’s no-hitter.

* Logan Shore pitched a 2-hitter Friday night, striking out 9 while facing the minimum 27 batters as the 2nd-ranked Gators (36-6, 13-5 SEC) bounced back from a 12-inning, 2-1, loss on Thursday to beat Georgia, 6-0.

* Buddy Reed simply outran the baseball in the bottom of the first inning with a straight steal of home to cap a 4-run outburst that gave Shore all the support he needed. 

* Shaun Anderson earned his 9th save of the season Saturday afternoon, coming into the game with the bases loaded and nobody out, to preserve Florida’s 4-1 win over Georgia.

* Peter Alonso was the hitting hero with his 9th homer, a double and 2 RBI.

* Kirsti Merritt hit a 2-run double and Aubree Munro hit the first grand slam of her career as the Gators came from behind to knock off Mississippi State on Saturday.

* Gourley gave the Gators 2 innings of scoreless, hitless relief to pick up her 5th save of the season.

* Sunday afternoon, Florida’s 2nd-ranked lacrosse team (16-1, 7-0 Big East) won the Big East Conference regular season championship with a 13-8 win over UConn (12-3, 6-1 Big East) at Donald Dizney Stadium as Nicole Graziano scored the 100th goal of her Florida career and part of a 3-goal effort on Senior Day. Graziano got plenty of support from teammates Sammi Burgess and Lindsey Ronbeck, who each scored three goals. Next up for the Gators is the Big East Tournament in Washington, DC next weekend, followed by the NCAA Tournament where the Gators will be a top four seed. 

* Brianna Morgan clinched the SEC Tournament championship for the 3rd-ranked Gators in Baton Rouge when she beat Silvia Garcia, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to help UF to a 4-2 win over 4th-ranked Georgia. The Gators knocked off LSU and Auburn to reach the championship match with Georgia. Morgan was tournament MVP for the Gators who have now won 16 consecutive matches.

 * Gordon Watson took out Nick Wood in 3 sets as the 11th-ranked Gators upset 6th-ranked Georgia, the regular season champion, in the SEC Tournament in Columbia, South Carolina. To reach the championship match, the Gators had to take out Kentucky and Texas A&M. The Gators became the first team to beat Georgia in a dual match all season. It was the fifth SEC tournament championship in UF history and the first for head coach Bryan Shelton.  

GATORS ADD A BIG MAN FOR 2016

Gorjok Gak (6-10, 200, Sydney, Australia/Bradenton, FL Victory Rock Christian) is far from a polished product and he definitely needs to add some muscle but he’s long, runs the floor and can protect the rim. Gak will join Eric Hester (6-4, 180, Clearwater, FL/Oldsmar, FL Oldsmar Christian) and Dontay Bassett (6-9, 210, San Leandro, CA/Oldsmar, FL Oldsmar Christian) in the 2016 recruiting class for Mike White and the Gators. Gak is a work in progress offensively, but he’s got great timing and instincts around the rim. He won’t be expected to or needed to start immediately, so he’s got time to develop.

The addition of Gak should give the Gators a full roster of 13 scholarship players for the 2016-17 season providing Alex Murphy is granted a sixth year and Devin Robinson withdraws from the NBA Draft.

It’s been a good week for the Gators, who also picked up a 2017 commitment earlier in the week from DeAundre Ballard (6-6, 190, Atlanta, GA Southwest Atlanta Christian). Ballard is a 4-star rated wing who joins point guard Shai Golgeous-Alexander (6-4, 180, Toronto, Ontario/Chattanooga, TN Hamilton Heights Christian) in what shapes up to be an outstanding Florida recruiting class.

WHAT IS THE BEST FOOTBALL JOB IN THE SEC?

What is the best football job in the Southeastern Conference? If you had to rate all 14 schools from top to bottom where would you rank them? For the next few days we’re going to attempt to rank each team based on the following criteria: (1) Winning (records since 1990); (2) tradition (championships since 1990 count 2X more than championships prior to 1990); (3) coaching (who’s coaching now, how many coaching changes since 1990, etc.), (4) stadiums (size matters, but so do amenities and home field advantage); (5) non-stadium football facilities (yes, we’re going to talk about the arms race); (6) recruiting (who does the best job and why); and (7) intangibles (weather, location and other advantages).

Since there are 14 teams in the SEC, we’ll score 14 points for first place in any category, 13 for second and all the way down to 1 point for finishing last. Save your choices and score along. When we’ve gone through all seven categories, we’ll compare scores.

Back on Friday, we rated all 14 teams for winning. Today, we’re looking at tradition. Championships, certainly, are at the heart of tradition but when were the championships won? There was a time, for instance, when Vanderbilt – no, that’s not a misprint – was perhaps the most dominant program in the south. The Commodores won 11 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (forerunner of the Southern Conference which birthed the SEC) championships and two Southern Conference championships between 1897-1923. Ten of those championships were won by Dan McGugin, who compiled a 197-55-19 record from 1904-34).

When Alabama hired Wallace Wade (yes, the guy who the Duke Stadium is named after) in 1923, the balance of power shifted to Tuscaloosa. Wade won four Southern Conference titles, went to the Rose Bowl three times and won national titles in 1925-26 and 1930.

The Southeastern Conference was founded in 1933. Since the SEC’s founding, Alabama leads with 25 outright or shared conference titles followed by Tennessee (13), Georgia (12), LSU (11), Auburn (9), Florida (8), Ole Miss (6), Kentucky (2) and Mississippi State (1). Texas A&M won 18 conference championships before joining the SEC, Arkansas won 13, Missouri 6 and South Carolina 1.

While what happened prior to 1990 matters overall, the SEC has been the dominant conference in all of college football since Steve Spurrier arrived at Florida in 1990 and transformed the league from a slug it out defensive league into one that features the fastest and best players in the country. Since 1990, the conference championship winners are: Florida (8); Alabama (6); LSU (4); Auburn (3), Tennessee (3) and Georgia (2).

So who wins when it comes to tradition?

How it was scored; points in parenthesis: Conference championships in other leagues (1); SEC championships prior to 1990 (2); national championships prior to 1990 (3); SEC Division championships (2); SEC championships since division play began (4); national championships since 1990 (6). Since there has never been a time when every team in every league had to play everybody, co-championships are scored the same as an outright title.

1. Alabama (149): Overall, Alabama has 4 Southern Conference championships and 25 SEC championships under its belt with 15 recognized national championships and 13 of the minor or unrecognized variety. Since 1990, Alabama has won 11 SEC West championships, 6 SEC titles and 5 national championships.

2. FLORIDA (88): You have to wonder what might have happened to Florida football back in 1928 when the Gators went to Knoxville unbeaten but lost, 13-12. The Gators would have tied for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title with Georgia Tech if they had won that day. They had an SEC title that was stripped because of NCAA violations in 1984. The first title that counted was the 1991 SEC, which means all 88 of Florida’s points have been scored since 1991. The Gators have 13 SEC East titles, 8 SEC championships and 3 national titles.

3. LSU (82): The Tigers won 2 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles and 11 SEC titles overall. LSU won two national titles prior to 1990. Since 1990, LSU has won 8 SEC West, 4 SEC and 2 national championships.

4. Tennessee (74): The Vols won one Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and two Southern Conference championships prior to the SEC. Prior to 1990, the Vols won 11 SEC titles and 3 national championships. Since 1990, Tennessee has won 7 SEC East and 2 SEC titles with a 1998 national championship.

5. Auburn (68): Auburn won 3 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and 1 Southern Conference championship prior to the SEC. Prior to 1990, Auburn won 6 SEC and 2 national championships. Since 1990, Auburn has won the SEC East 8 times and the SEC championship 3 times. Auburn won the 2010 national championship.

6. Georgia (57): Auburn won two Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles, 10 SEC titles and 2 national titles prior to 1990. Since 1990, the Bulldogs have won 7 SEC East and 2 SEC championships.

7. (Tie) Arkansas (24): Before joining the SEC, Arkansas won 13 Southwest Conference championships and a national title in 1964. The Razorbacks have won four SEC West championships.

7. (Tie) Texas A&M (24): Before they joined the SEC, the Aggies won 17 Southwest Conference championship, 1 Big 12 title and 2 national championships.

9. Ole Miss (20): Before 1990, Ole Miss won 6 SEC and two national championships. Since 1990, Ole Miss has shared one SEC West title (2003).

10. Vanderbilt (13): Vanderbilt won 11 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and 2 Southern Conference championships between 1897-1923.

11. Missouri (18): The Tigers won 6 Missouri Valley and 6 Big Eight championships prior to joining the SEC. Since joining the SEC, Missouri has won 2 SEC East championships (2013-14).

12. (Tie) Mississippi State (4): The Bulldogs won the SEC championship in 1940 and the SEC West title in 1998.

12. (Tie) Kentucky (4): Kentucky won SEC championships in 1950 and 1976.

14. South Carolina (3): The Gamecocks won the 1970 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and the 2010 SEC East title.

Points so far:

1. Alabama, 28

2. (Tie) FLORIDA, 24.5

2. (Tie) LSU, 24.5
4. (Tie) Georgia, 19
4. (Tie) Auburn, 19
6. (Tie) Ole Miss, 17
6. (Tie) Tennessee, 17
8. Texas A&M, 14.5
9. Arkansas, 12.5

10. Mississippi State, 11.5
11. (Tie) Missouri, 7

11. (Tie) South Carolina 7
13. Vanderbilt, 6

14. Kentucky, 5.5

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Under Armour has replaced Nike at California. The new 10-year deal in Berkeley will pay $86 million. It includes a $3 million signing bonus, $3.5 million per year in cash and an average yearly product allowance of $4.76 million. Nike was paying Cal $2 million yearly. Cal is the second Under Armour team (Utah is the other) in the Pac-12 Conference.

If you’ve put money on the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship, you might want to hedge your bets after Steph Curry suffered a knee sprain. Curry will have an MRI but whether the injury is serious or not, it’s unlikely he will return for the rest of the playoffs.

Bob Dylan wrote, “The times, they are a-changing.” Yes, they are. Last year, former Baylor women’s basketball All-American Britney Griner and girlfriend Glory Johnson married. The marriage didn’t last because Griner suspected Johnson was fooling around with her ex-boyfriend. This is when things get dicey. Johnson got pregnant and gave birth to twins four months premature. It turns out that Johnson and Griner had been going to a fertility clinic. Now whether it was Johnson’s ex-boyfriend or the fertility clinic that got her pregnant, we don’t know for sure, but Johnson took Griner to court, got $8,505 in past due child support, $2,516 in child support and 90% of child care costs for two nannies.

The Oakland Raiders are on the verge of selling out all their season tickets for the first time in season history. Maybe the fans figure they better watch the Raiders while they can. Barring some sort of miracle that gets them a new stadium in Oakland, the Raiders will be playing somewhere else in 2017, possibly Los Angeles or Las Vegas.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

With Step Curry almost certainly out for the rest of the NBA playoffs, who do you expect to reach the finals?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

For reasons I really can’t explain, I’ve never been a great Pearl Jam fan, but this weekend when I was at a Florida softball game two friends of mine said they were so disappointed that I’ve never featured Pearl Jam. So, here is a 2013 concert from Oklahoma City. Enjoy guys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE7olW5B_lc

 

 


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