It's More Complicated Than You Think: TCU senior tailback Ed Wesley won't be returning in 2012, a loss which on its face will be fairly damaging for the Horned Frogs. It's actually not as critical a loss as it seems at first glance, however; Wesley was only the second-leading rusher on the team last year, and the guy in third place behind Wesley picked up over 700 yards too. However, Wesley was the actual "impact" runner on the squad, and if nothing else his absence will both remove a piece of misdirection from the playbook which helped enable leading rusher Waymon James to be the leading rusher, and will also increase the workloads of both James and Matthew Tucker.
Perhaps more interesting is how this all fits together as a narrative whole. Wesley, who broke 1,000 yards in 2010, seemed a bit off last year, and the "family issues" which are his stated reason for leaving the team may have contributed to that. Wesley very nearly left school to enter the draft before backing away from the ledge and deciding to stay for his senior year. His reasons for wanting to leave in the first place apparently revolved around his ailing mother; it would be irresponsible to assume too much, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility that her condition has worsened, in which case nobody should fault Wesley for flip-flopping here if his motive is to get paid so he can take care of mama. Wesley will now hope to enter the supplemental draft instead.
Almost No News Is Still No News: The only news on the realignment front during the holiday weekend is that Miami and Florida State have both officially denied that any contact has taken place with the Big 12, which we in the business refer to as "covering one's ass". Have there been any official discussions? No. Have there been quiet conversations over scotch between unofficial representatives? Duh. For his part, Chuck Neinas thinks the Big 12 should (ideally) stand pat for now, but I suspect he knows full well they may not be able to.It's Official - Georgia/Georgia Southern More Important Than Georgia/Alabama: That's really the only logical takeaway from the SEC's decision to adopt a "6-1-1" conference schedule (that is, six division games, one permanent cross-division rival, and the other six cross-division teams rotating through one at a time over a period of 12 years). All this in service of retaining an eight-game conference schedule, thus keeping a space open for that thrilling week in the SEC known as "beating up on an FCS team the week before our biggest rivalry game".
I suppose in a larger sense it doesn't matter that much; after all, even with a nine-game conference schedule, Georgia would still only see Alabama once every three years. Is that really so much different than once every six? Well, yeah, it is; at least "every three years" would mean that every player in the SEC would get to face every team in his conference over the course of his career. With the 6-1-1 plan, guys are going to spend their entire college career without seeing one or two of their conference foes, and that's just patently silly. And then there's LSU, who want to do away with the cross-divisional rivalries altogether... which would at least ensure SEC teams would see all other SEC teams every 3-4 years, even if their reasoning is sort of yellow.
In other, somewhat related news, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham explains why the Utah-BYU rivalry is on the shelf.
I Still Don't Agree: Apparently, the NCAA has decided that "they fired my dad and I want to leave" is, in fact, legitimate grounds for a hardship waiver, as former Central Michigan guard Trey Zeigler will be immediately eligible at Pitt.
More Silly Transfer Restrictions: Memphis QB Taylor Reed is transferring. By the time he's eligible to play again, Memphis will not be in Conference USA... yet Memphis is prohibiting him from transferring to another CUSA school. Yeah, okay, whatever.
Diablerie: Arkansas is in the market for an On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator, because the last one... well, you remember what happened with the last one. ... Guys, Mike Leach is a god. A god, I tell you. He's not the only one out there killing bears with archaic weaponry, though. ... Snakes are not an accessory. ... Incoming OL Logan Tuley-Tillman is REALLY committed to Michigan, y'all. ... Craig James might get 7.5% of the vote in Texas. Or negative 1.5%, which I think is more likely.
Touching base with spring sports championships:
With the spring competition season just about done, save for baseball (all divisions) and outdoor track and field, softball, and men's golf in Division I, it's a good time to offer a rundown of the spring champions.
Biesbol: The field is set for the Division I Baseball Championship, culminating in the College World Series. Not present: Kansas State, Texas, Alabama, Auburn. Also not present: Utah Valley, who went 47-12, 28-0 in conference, and has lost exactly one game since the last week of March. Division III will see its championship game participants determined by this evening; Division II and NAIA are a couple of days out.
Softball: The WCWS kicks off tomorrow, with the SEC and Pac-12 dominating the field (Tennessee vs Alabama, Oregon vs Arizona State, and LSU vs California). The two interlopers, South Florida and Oklahoma, face off in the fourth opener. Valdosta State already captured the Division II title, as did Pacific Lutheran in Division III (winning an all-Northwest Conference final against arch-rival Linfield). Shorter, on their way to NCAA Division II, captured the NAIA title.
Lacrosse: No, it was not Duke, nor Syracuse; not Maryland, nor Virginia, nor even Johns Hopkins. The 2012 men's Division I Lacrosse title went to Loyola (MD), who captured their first title ever. Dowling won the Division II title, and Salisbury repeated in Division III. The women's titles were won, in order, by Northwestern, Long Island-C.W. Post, and Trinity (CT). The NAIA doesn't yet sponsor lacrosse, but they're working their way there.
Tennis: Florida captured the Division I men's title, and Southern Cal grabbed the women's. In Division II, Armstrong Atlantic State took both the men's and women's titles, while in Division III Emory won the men's championship and Williams earned the honors on the women's side. Oklahoma Christian won the NAIA men's title while Auburn-Montgomery earned their eighth women's title in the last nine years.
Golf: The Division I men's golf championship kicks off today at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. Nova Southeastern won the Division II championship with Central Oklahoma's Justin Creel capturing the individual title, Oglethorpe's Anthony Maccaglia grabbed the Division III individual title while leading his team to the championship, and Oklahoma City won the NAIA crown, while Carson Kallis of Victoria (BC) grabbed the individual honors. On the women's side, Alabama won the Division I team title while Chirapat Jao-Javanil of Oklahoma brought home the individual title for the glory of the Big 12. In Division II, Nova Southeastern also won the women's crown, led by individual champion Abbey Gittings. For the 25th time in the last 27 years, and 15th year in a row, Methodist grabbed the Division III title, with Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Catherine Wagner winning the individual crown. Canadians swept the NAIA women's titles, as British Columbia won the team event and Victoria's Megan Woodland captured the individual title.
Men's Volleyball: Cal-Irvine swept Southern Cal to capture the men's scholarship title (read: Division I/II), while Division III's inaugural men's volleyball championship belongs to Springfield. The NAIA does not yet sponsor the sport.
Women's Water Polo: It's a winter sport for the men, but the women get to play in the spring. Stanford repeated as champion. It's the only water polo title available for women, as there are no divisions yet in the NCAA and the NAIA doesn't sponsor it.
Women's Rowing: Virginia outlasted Michigan for the Division I crown, Humboldt State won in Division II, and Williams snagged their second title of the spring season by winning the Division III meet. Rowing is another sport the NAIA doesn't sponsor.
Outdoor Track and Field: The Division I meet (both men and women) will take place June 6-9 in Des Moines. Participating for Kansas State will be Boglarka Bozzay in the women's 800, Jacquelyne Leffler in the women's discus, and Ryan Kraiss and Mairead Murphy in the heptathlon. In Division II, Adams State (M) and Grand Valley State (W) captured the overall titles, and McMurry (M) and Wartburg (W) won in Division III. Shorter (M) and Oklahoma Baptist (W) were the NAIA champions.