You know it's getting close to summertime when Preakness weekend arrives. Of course, my wife and I will be enjoying the races tomorrow, probably outside on the deck if the weather holds, and dreaming of our nascent annual holiday in the South Carolina low country coming up in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, here are a few things of interest for this Friday:
Lots of UK action happening today and tonight:
- The softball team is facing Michigan in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the Louisville regional. The winner of that game will face the winner of Valparaiso vs. Louisville, and the loser faces the loser in the double-elimination format.
- Kentucky Tennis is also facing the Stanford Cardinal in Athens, Georgia in the men's tennis Sweet 16. As of this writing, Kentucky is up 1-0. You can find the liveblog of the match at UKAthletics.com.
- Kentucky baseball is also facing Mississippi St. as of this hour in Starkville. The Wildcats dropped the first game of the three-game series 3-1, and they are battling for the regular-season SEC title. That game is at 8:00 tonight and is available on ESPN3 (subject to blackout). As of today, the Wildcats are 2nd in the east behind South Carolina. Even though UK has more wins, USC has played 2 fewer games, and has a better winning percentage.
The big non-UK news of today is the bowl partnership reached between the Big 12 and the SEC, creating what is essentially a new Rose Bowl-type alliance between the two conferences. Obviously, the political ramifications of this are huge, and what it means for a new playoff is really yet to be determined. Jason Kirk of SBNation.com has the details:
While SEC and Big 12 champs missing the playoffs would be a very, very rare event, the importance here is that the two have effectively created another Rose Bowl, and one that would quite often trump the Granddaddy, at least in terms of highly-ranked football teams. It also creates a very clearly defined upper tier in college football, with everyone from the ACC on down all but walled off from the highest level.
This is an amazing development on many levels, and I'm sure it will be analyzed and re-analyzed from every angle. The question that comes to my mind is this -- will the Rose Bowl be effectively marginalized by this new "tradition," as it will often have a much more interesting game due to higher-ranked competitors? How much of an impact will it have on the Rose Bowl when it comes to U.S. Dollars?
I have no idea, but you can bet, smarter people than me will be beating this around for a while.