March is on its last legs, the pollen count’s as high as an elephant’s eye, and Easter is fast upon us. Time, in sum, is flying, which means it’s tough to keep up with all that requires your attention, but have no fear, for your Tuesday morning edition of Dawg Bites is here to bring you up to speed on all things Bulldog:
If it’s springtime, it must be football season! Actually, no, that’s in the autumn, but in the meantime, there is football news afoot, as Mark Richt is being inducted into the highly specific Palm Beach County (Fla.) Sports Hall of Fame, pads are popping in spring practice, and (as highlighted here previously) our own MaconDawg has provided a thorough recruiting update for the SB Nation homepage.
Following their series loss to Vanderbilt, the Diamond Dogs dropped to No. 25 in the Baseball America rankings, behind upcoming opponents No. 16 Ole Miss (April 12-14), No. 15 LSU (April 27-29), No. 11 South Carolina (May 11-13), No. 10 Kentucky (March 30-April 1), No. 3 Arkansas (April 6-8), and No. 1 Florida (April 20-22).
In other rankings, the Gym Dogs are sixth in the NCAA and third in the SEC, while the Georgia football team is ranked outside the top ten in the Fulmer Cup standings.
As vineyarddawg reported, the aforementioned Gym Dogs will be competing as the top seed in the Auburn Regional on April 7, along with No. 7 Oregon State, No. 18 Auburn, No. 21 Michigan, and unranked West Virginia and Michigan State. Georgia has gone 3-0 against that field so far this season, having beaten the Plainswomen in the so-called Loveliest Village and again in the SEC Championships, and having defeated the Wolverines in Ypsilanti. Of course, Auburn was the site of one of Jay Clark’s most infamous disasters, and his teams have come up short in regional play before. The Red and Black should win this regional outright, and there is absolutely no excuse for failing to finish in the top two.
While we’re on the subject of postseason pairings for Bulldog women’s sports, I should mention that the Georgia equestrian team earned the No. 3 national seed for next month’s NCEA National Championship. The Red and Black are seeded behind No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 South Carolina on the hunt seat side, and behind No. 1 Texas A&M and No. 2 Oklahoma State on the western side. During the regular season, Georgia was 0-2 against the Aggies and the Cowgirls, both away from Bishop, while the Bulldog riders went 4-0 against the Orange and Blue and the Garnet and Black.
Since Darrin Horn got Foxed, it appears that South Carolina has hired Frank Martin to head up its men’s basketball program. Coach Martin comes to Columbia, S.C., by way of Manhattan, Kans., where he served as an assistant coach and head coach. (Oddly enough, although the two men never served together on the same Wildcats staff, Mark Fox also coached at Kansas State, having been an assistant there from 1994 to 2000.) In five seasons at K-State, Coach Martin invariably led his team to 21 or more wins, twelve or fewer losses, a winning record in conference play, and an NIT or NCAA Tournament bid, with his last three clubs all making it at least as far as the so-called third round of the Big Dance. In short, it’s a good thing the SEC did away with hoops divisions, because there’s a pretty good chance Georgia could improve yet still be the seventh-best team in the East.
Alabama has given Nick Saban a contract extension after the Armani Bear won the same number of SEC coach of the year awards in his first five years in Tuscaloosa as Mark Richt did in his first five years in Athens. The more interesting news is that Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has received a $100,000-a-year bump, to $950,000 per annum. How big a hurry is the 36-year-old Georgia alum in to land a head coaching gig, and at what point will his apparent selectiveness about accepting an opportunity to occupy the center seat move him from hot commodity to old news?
From Daniel Shirley’s fine column in The Macon Telegraph to Tiger message boards and weblogs to the fanposts right here at Dawg Sports, the Georgia-Clemson rivalry is the subject of much discussion lately. With the future of the longstanding football series between the border foes more imperiled than ever by conference expansion, the question has been raised whether the two schools remain rivals at all. With respect to that, I would note that, during the 2011-’12 academic year, the Bulldogs and the Tigers have met, or will meet, in men’s golf, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, and baseball, with the latter showdown set to start at Foley Field at 7:05 p.m. Eastern tonight.