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Beyond the Hedges: 12/28/2012

The only UGA teams actively competing are in football and basketball, as we prepare for 2013, here are a couple of items of interest from outside Orlando.

As your champagne is chilling in preparation for New Year’s Eve, your 12-0, No. 6 women's basketball team will wrap up its non-conference campaign in Champaign on the campus of the University of Illinois for what we hope will be one of two UGA victories over Big Ten teams in the next few days. The beat-down will not be televised, but you can catch the game, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, via radio or Gametracker or, with a subscription, at The Lady Bulldogs have yet to face a ranked opponent, but once conference play gets under way, Georgia will face top 25 teams Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Arkansas.

The baseball season doesn’t start until 15 February 2013 when the Diamond Dogs visit Statesboro to take on intense rival Georgia Southern, but the Conference recently announced changes to the end of the season. With the addition of Texas A&M and Mizzou to the conference, the SEC tournament also will expand by two participating teams or, if you prefer, the number of teams left out of the conference tournament will stay at two after the field expanded from eight to ten last year. Keeping the same total number of games as before, after the two division champions, the next ten teams will be seeded 3-12 according to conference winning percentage. The division champs and top four seeds are guaranteed first-round byes. To accommodate the additional teams but keep the number of games the same, a round of single elimination will start the tournament before proceeding to three days of double-elimination. As in past years, the tournament concludes in a single-elimination final round. I’m no baseball expert, by any means, but I do dig the sport. I never am comfortable with single eliminations, since the nature of this particular beast is that series of games are the best way to identify relative superiority. It’s a little like tennis in that regard: there are points, games, sets, and matches, and it takes a collection of data to determine a winner. Mostly, it’s a pitcher thing, but I’d welcome the opinions of the more baseball-savvy among you in the comments below.

In other baseball news, the University and the Foley family announced earlier this month a generous gift to serve as the foundation for fundraising efforts to support upcoming improvements to Foley Field.

Alas, although the above items may not be much in quantity, they are important in quality. Once school is back in session in the new year, action beyond the hedges quickly will be in full swing. We at Dawg Sports will continue to the news you need. We also continue to look for leads on club sports action, so if you have some good resources for hockey, rugby, or lacrosse, for example, please share.