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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Conference Championships Preview

EDIT: Each preview now has updates.

This is Conference Championship Weekend. The coaches' association website has a Conference Championship Central webpage that has everything you ever wanted to know about Division I conference championships*
*but were afraid to ask

Here are my rundowns of the biggies. Rankings refer to my own collegiate rankings.

Friday through Sunday at Missouri's Walton Stadium
Meet website / LIVE results / LIVE WEBCAST / Live blog
TV coverage: tape-delay on Fox Sports Net regional channels, sometime between May 20 and May 24; check your local listings

The SEC is the best conference, but the Big XII gets listed first because their meet management is working the hardest. They're doing a live webcast and a live blog.

Start lists aren't up yet, making predictions a bit tough. I'd have to say #3 Texas A&M is favored, but it's no slam-dunk over #6 Oklahoma and the defending champs, #11 Nebraska. Adding depth are #12 Texas, #14 Texas Tech and #16 Baylor.

On the women's side I'd be surprised if #2 Texas A&M lost. A tight battle for second will be waged by #11 Nebraska, #12 Texas Tech, #13 Kansas, #14 Oklahoma, #15 Texas and #19 Iowa State.

UPDATE: There's a huge upset brewing in the men's competition--that is, if you can call a team defending its championship an "upset". Nebraska is in the drivers seat; they'd have to make a major mistake to lose. On the women's side, A&M is pretty much a done deal.

Today through Sunday at Tennessee's Tom Black Track
Meet website / LIVE results
TV coverage: tape-delay on ESPNU, Tuesday May 25 (!), 9:00 to 11:00 PM

On the men's side, I'm picking #5 LSU to win over #1 Florida with #8 Georgia third, but it will be tight. #15 Arkansas, #18 Mississippi State, #20 Mississippi, #23 Alabama, #24 Auburn and #25 South Carolina will fight it out after that. The races to watch are the 400 meters and 4x400 relay, which will be smokin'. The sprints in general in the SEC are top-notch, but multiple quarter-milers will post world-class times and the relay is going to be a real shootout.

On the women's side I'm pretty confident #3 LSU will win and #4 Florida will be second, and after that I have no idea. #6 Tennessee and #8 Arkansas are in the mix for that third spot.

UPDATE: The men's race has tightened a bit, but I'm still going with LSU to win. The Tigers are still a lock on the women's side. The meet is currently on a significant rain/lightning delay.

Saturday and Sunday at Cal's historic Edwards Stadium
Meet website / LIVE results
TV coverage: tape-delay on Fox Sports Net regional channels, sometime between May 20 and May 24; check your local listings

Oregon head coach Vin Lanana says the meet is going to be very, very tight, almost too close to call. The conventional wisdom, though, is that he's doing his best impression of Lou Holtz, because everyone else has the Ducks' men (#2) and women (#1) winning in a runaway. I'm pretty sure Southern Cal's men (#4) and women (#9) will be the runners-up. Other top men's teams are #7 Stanford, #9 Arizona State, #13 UCLA, #19 Cal and #22 Washington State. Adding depth to the women are #15 Cal, #17 Arizona State, #18 Stanford, #24 Washington State and #25 UCLA.

UPDATE: No worries, Duck fans.

Big Ten
Friday through Sunday at Indiana's Billy Hayes Track
Meet website / LIVE results
TV Coverage: tape-delay on the Big Ten Network, Saturday May 22 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM

I hesitate to call the Big Ten a major conference in track & field, but the meet will get three hours of national TV coverage. So we'll call it a major conference anyway. On the men's side only #21 Minnesota is ranked. I'm picking them to win with Ohio State second.

On the women's side, #21 Penn State is favored. I've got a hunch that Minnesota could challenge them for the title. The 5k is the most interesting race as it matches the NCAA cross country champion, Angela Bizzari (Illinois), with the woman who beat her at the Big Ten cross country championships, Bridget Franek (Penn State).

UPDATE: The women's competition is basically a dead heat between Penn State and Minnesota. Minnesota is still the favored men's team, but Wisconsin is now the closest behind the Gophers. If the Badgers fail to score big points in the 5k, Ohio State will likely be second.

1 comment:

Blake Wysocki said...

no Toledo City league preview?