VETTEL: National All-Sports Down To Wire

With the SEC All-sports title in hand, the Gators now go down to the final event of the year to settle the order of finish among SEC Schools in the national all-sports standings.

Officially through June 2, Florida had 725.75 points, good for eighth-best in the country with Tennessee (675) number 11 and Georgia (664) at 13. However, strong finishes by the Bulldogs and Vols have jammed things up in the closing weeks. Georgia and Tennessee both outperformed Florida in softball and men's golf and unofficial tabulations show the current order has Georgia ahead of UF and the Gators marginally up on Tennessee.

If those calculations are accurate (no, I didn't do the other schools) then Florida will have to outplay Tennessee in Omaha to stay ahead of the Vols. The Gators need a third-place finish or better at the CWS to beat Georgia while Tennessee has to reach the championship game. All three seem to have clinched top ten finishes, and that's pretty impressive for each.

Why The Scoring Is Different

I'm often asked why the conference and national order of finish can be different. Well, not only can they be, they often are different. The reason is the national standings have more of a scoring gap from place to place, thus giving greater rewards for national titles. Georgia won the NCAA Golf Championship while the Gators finished 18th. That's 100 points for the Bulldogs and 56 for the Gators.

The SEC trophy was created by the Gainesville Sun after the conference dropped it. That system gives one point for each placing, so if a team wins an NCAA Title and gets 12 points, fourth place is good for 9. That's just a three-point difference. But in the national standings, it's 100 points for first and 80 for second. The national standings tend to favor schools with several high finishes over those with more teams placing but few among the elite.

I like the NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) system better because to me, it's all about championships and those should generate additional rewards. The bottom line is none of the scoring issues would matter this weekend if the Gators had not gone two-and-out at home in the NCAA Softball Regional, or if the men's golf team had matched the women's tenth-place finish at NCAA's. Or if the Soccer team had own its first round game at home and so on and so on……..

Tracksters Perform at NCAA's

The Gator men's team did everything it could except cancel the 200-meters in posting a second-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Kerron Clement, Josh Walker each claimed individual national titles and their friends performed admirably in finishing right behind Arkansas. To make it interesting, the Gators actually led the race for the national title on the final day before the Razorbacks' dominance of the 200 changed the end result. Clement will take his two national titles in two years with him as he begins earning a living on the track circuit. Still, look for Gator Coach Mike Holloway to keep the Gators among the elite.

Women's Coach Tom Jones can be proud of his girls' efforts as well. Florida was able to shake off the lingering effect of losing two great competitors and posted a top-ten team finish. Rachel Longfors (discus) and Tiandra Ponteen (400 meters) led the way finishing second in their respective specialties.

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