Monday, May 11, 2009

Around the Plains, 5/11

Bo. TWER already quoted this, but I'm just going to have to quote it myself: "Most of all, keep Auburn in your prayers, keep Auburn in your heart, and War Eagle."

Here's a question for you: Are we as Auburn people lucky that our legendary Heisman-winning football player loves our school and university community this much, or are we lucky to be part of a school and university community that would inspire a legendary Heisman-winning football player to love it that much in the first place? I'm guessing the latter.

War Eagle, Bo.

Baseball. The handwriting has of course been on the wall for a few weeks now, but it was made official Saturday night when Auburn lost both halves of their road doubleheader at Kentucky: Auburn's going to miss the SEC Tournament, as they have (as you know) every year since 2003. That's a very, very, very long time to not even finish in the top eight of the SEC standings. The top eight. For six straight years. The mind, it boggles.

So I can understand some of the frustration of Auburn fans who take their baseball seriously ... but is John Pawlowski really taking heat? It's one season, man. Get a grip. And if you need reasons for grip-getting beyond "It's one season," PPL's got you more than covered:
I personally see the makings of a great coach in CJP. A coach that could very well be our own Nix or Baird.

He loves the team. He loves the community. He knows the area. I could go on and on.

But the biggest, is something I noticed on my first weekend watching games: The mentality is different. The mindset is different. it’s positive, it’s proactive. The players were having fun. CJP was sticking up for his players, getting in Umpire’s faces.

This season I witnessed Auburn struggle. One thing I didn’t witness? The team giving up.
The entire post (as is usually the case at PPL) is recommended, as is their explanation for the baseball team's curiously low APR numbers.

Softball. While we're on the subject of diamond-based sports, the Auburn softball team lost to top-ranked Florida 3-0 last Thursday in the first round of the SEC Tournament, finishing their league season with a 9-20 mark.

But at least those 20 losses came against some really good softball teams, so Auburn made the NCAA Tournament anyway, getting slotted into Georgia Tech's Atlanta regional as the third seed (of four). They'll face Iowa in the first round Friday, and even if the Hawkeyes obviously have much further to travel to reach the ATL, it's safe to call it an uphill battle for Auburn: in their previous five NCAA appearances, the Tigers have yet too win a first-round match-up. That would be a good sing of progress for a team that took a step backwards in terms of its SEC record this year.

Tennis. Both Auburn tennis teams were in NCAA Tournament action this weekend, and both were even eliminated at the hands of the same team: Florida St. The Auburn women were swept by the 'Noles in the opening round, while the men swept South Florida before falling to FSU 4-1 in the second round. The second round has become something of a hump for the men's team: this is third straight year they've been eliminated at that stage.

Golf. Your SEC champion Auburn women's team narrowly missed the cut to make the NCAA Championships, placing 10th in a field that saw the top eight advance. Things should only get better for the program, though: none of the five Tigers in the lineup is a senior, and only top finisher Candace Schepperle is so much as a junior.

Congradulations! 37 Auburn student-athletes graduated Saturday, including several names even the most out-of-it Auburn fan is sure to recognize: Vot Barber, DeWanna Bonner, eight different football players including Ben Tate (in 3.5 years!), Walt McFadden, Jackson Timmerman (i.e. that big kid waving his arms like a crazy person on the sideline during the Franklin era), J**n V****n ... I mean, John Vaughn (the guy did just graduate, I can cut him some slack today), and Montez Billings.

That last bit of news is kind of intriguing, because Billings of course sat out spring drills with what Chizik referred to as some kind of academic issue. So Billings was on track to graduate ... but he's not academically eligible? I can think of a few grad-school related reasons that might be the case, but it's still a little unusual.

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