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June 14, 2010
Monday with Mike: Early league showdowns
Last week, we looked at 12 non-conference statement games in the first month of the season. This week, we're looking at statement games within conference play.
(An aside: The Big East is the only conference with no league games in September.)
Demps, who will be a third-year starter on the football field this fall, was clocked in a wind-aided 9.96 seconds in the 100 to claim the title. The third-place finisher was Louisiana-Monroe's Luther Ambrose, who will be a starting wide receiver -- and the likely go-to guy -- for the Warhawks this fall; he was clocked in 10.12 seconds.
Demps' heroics weren't enough to lift the Gators to the outdoor crown; Florida won the men's indoor track title earlier this year. Instead, Texas A&M edged the Gators by one point for the title. It was the second year in a row A&M won both the men's and women's outdoor titles.
There's no question USC got hit hard by the NCAA, and now we know why: It's envy. USC athletic director Mike Garrett spoke to the Northern California Trojans Club in San Francisco on Thursday night, a few hours after the NCAA announced USC's penalties. "As I read the decision by the NCAA ... I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans," Garrett told the group. Yeah, that must be it.
Assuming Texas and Oklahoma, among others, join the Pac-10, it means the league will be the first of the Big Six conferences to span three time zones -- Central, Mountain and Pacific. Previously, the Mountain West and Western Athletic also spanned at least three time zones (the WAC includes Hawaii). At first blush, it might not be that big a deal. But a 7:30 p.m. start on the West Coast equates to a 9:30 start in the Central time zone, and travel after those games could end up being somewhat problematic. Late tip-offs in the Central time zone are nothing new. But that was when 11 of the 12 Big 12 schools were in that time zone; traveling East after a West Coast night game will take some getting used to.
Did anyone else find it ... well, interesting Thursday that a blatant money grab by Reggie Bush and his family led to NCAA probation for USC while blatant money grabs by Colorado and Nebraska were praised to the high heavens?
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.