Some unfinished businessPublished 11:53am Thursday, July 11, 2013
All over the Southeast, the television sets were systematically being turned off as every inning went by, as the PAC-12’s UCLA Bruins were defeating the Mississippi State Bulldogs for the college baseball national championship.
Yes, I must finish what no one wanted to talk about, at least no one down in SEC land.
The Bruins had won plenty of national championships – 108 in the NCAA and 129 overall – but never one in baseball.
That is, until June 25 when the Bruins defeated Mississippi State 8-0 to complete a sweep of five games at the College World Series.
Pitching and defense rule, and UCLA had a boatload of both.
They also showed the entire country how the game should be played.
They did so by moving runners into scoring position with sacrifice bunts or hitting behind the runners on base and basically taking what the other team gave them,
The Bruins played baseball like it should be played – call it “old school.”
I can’t go without mentioning how I was pleasantly surprised by the way the entire baseball team wore their uniforms.
Not one player had his pants pulled down around his spikes with the bottom elastic out.
Not one Bruin had facial hair or resembled what we see so often today in the major leagues.
The Bruins victory gave the PAC-12 consecutive national titles for the first time since Oregon State won in 2006 and ‘07.
The PAC-12 leads all conferences in College World Series championships with 28.
The SEC has 10, which includes Missouri before they joined the Southeastern Conference. LSU leads the SEC with six titles.
The University of Southern California (PAC-12) leads the nation in championships with 12.
So when UCLA head baseball coach John Savage was asked if this was a win for the Pac-12, Coach Savage replied with, “No, it was not.”
I mention this because one of the major differences between the PAC-12 and the SEC, a member of which UCLA defeated, is this: when a PAC-12 team is playing another team, say in college football, the other PAC-12 teams usually are hoping the PAC-12 team loses.
It is called recruiting and getting an edge. There is no “win one for the PAC” mentality out west.
I want to congratulate pitcher Kendall Graveman, who was the only Bulldogs pitcher to pitch into the sixth inning on three of his four starts during the NCAA tournament.
No other Bulldog hurler accomplished that statistic.
Notes on a scorecard: The official day that college football camps can open is July 31.
Auburn will open Aug. 1, while Alabama will open on Aug. 3.
I will begin my annual breakdown of my top 10 teams, teams to keep an eye on (sleepers) and the rest of the wacky world of college football.
The last word: ex-Florida Gator Aaron Hernandez was one of 41 arrests under the Urban Meyer watch at the University of Florida.
Nothing as criminal as murder, but it definitely presented a pattern of behavior during the Meyer era.
Until next time …
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.