As I admitted last Saturday, I was nowhere close to getting up to speed upon my return from vacation. Well, I’ve finally read all my e-mail, perused all the comment threads, and climbed out from under the backlog just a little bit, so I’m prepared to do what I can to get us all on the same page in this special Tuesday evening edition of Dawg Bites. Here we go:
There’s going to be a lot of grousing in this posting, so I’ll start on a favorable note. Actually, I’ll start by bragging: Dawg Sports recently received positive mentions (or "pos-mens") at A Sea of Blue, Bull Run, and Red Cup Rebellion. So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.
On the larger level of Georgia sports generally, freshman pole vaulter Morgann Leleux has been recognized as the region women’s field athlete of the year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, an organization whose cumbersome nomenclature is abbreviated “USTFCCCA,” which you should not attempt to pronounce aloud. Meanwhile, as initially reported here by midgeorgiadawg, Alex Wood was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the professional baseball draft. Three high school prospects who previously had signed letters of intent to play for the Diamond Dogs, including No. 2 overall choice Byron Buxton, already had been picked, meaning none of those players ever will wear the red and black. We congratulate Leleux and wish all the Georgia draftees well.
Apparently, Florida fans aren’t buying football tickets, but, then again, Georgia fans aren’t, either. Are we starting to see signs of fan backlash against weak non-conference scheduling?
The SEC has announced its new basketball scheduling model, which features an 18-game slate in which every team plays every other team at least once, with four rotating opponents who will be played twice each winter, along with one permanent rival to be faced in an annual home-and-home exchange. The Hoop Hounds will square off twice yearly with their nearest geographic rival, South Carolina.
Speaking of the Gamecocks, our colleague tryptic67 (with a nod in our direction) authored this posting at Garnet and Black Attack, in which he offered sound arguments for South Carolina to add women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport. In that same piece, tryptic67 noted the following datum:
Keep in mind that over the last five years, USC has spent (or committed to spend) a staggering $154 million on facilities (which goes in excess of $200m when deferred maintenance is calculated in) and which is no doubt artificially deflating our athletic department profitability- while simultaneously bringing our facilities into the top echelon of the league. What I'm trying to say here is that completion of the facilities upgrade will mean more discretionary revenue to our bottom line and we'll have very attractive facilities in comparison with some of our rivals.
This represents a stark departure from the increasingly aggravating attitude that is prevalent in Athens. In the Classic City, we’re banking revenues, conducting fundraisers, and deferring needed changes we have the funds on hand to afford, while South Carolina has upgraded its infrastructure in the interests of competitiveness. We’ve been boasting about “profitability,” while the Gamecocks have been using their available resources judiciously.
What do the Garnet and Black have to show for those expenditures? Well, in football, they have a 2010 SEC East championship and a school-record eleven-win 2011 season to show for it. In baseball, they have consecutive College World Series championships and a home super regional coming up this weekend to show for it. In basketball, they have a home-run head coaching hire in former Kansas State skipper Frank Martin to show for it . . . and, despite the prevailing sense in Bulldog Nation that South Carolina is our “little brother,” the fact is that, over the course of the last two academic years, the Gamecocks have posted a .500 record against the Red and Black in those three sports, entitling them to say, “Scoreboard!” to us exactly as often as we have been able to say, “Scoreboard!” to them. I believe that’s what the business majors refer to as “return on investment.”
As a general proposition, Greg McGarity has shown a greater commitment to on-field excellence than did his predecessor, but it is not against Damon Evans or even Vince Dooley that McGarity will be judged; rather, it is against the other 13 SEC athletic directors. Recent results posted by our nearest conference rival, with whom we just have been permanently paired in basketball, suggest that he may have some catching up to do in shifting the focus in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall away from the bottom line to inside the white lines.