Mike Strange: Florida has stranglehold on SEC sports

Mike Strange

As another year of SEC competition ended on the baseball diamonds, we are left to this conclusion:

It is Florida's world and the other 11 schools are just living in it.

The Gators claimed a share of the baseball title on Saturday, their eighth championship of the 2010-11 SEC season. And that, folks, is a record.

No one else managed half that many. Tennessee produced two.

It's true that not all championships are viewed equally. Nor are they financially rewarded equally.

Auburn's football title is the most coveted prize - anywhere south of Jellico, that is.

Other than the parents involved, any Gator fan would swap a volleyball and soccer title for Auburn's football trophy.

Auburn added men's swimming and women's golf. Arkansas also claimed three titles, its traditional triumvirate of men's indoor and outdoor track and cross country.

But Florida clearly is the most well-rounded program in a league in which every sport is a contested at the highest level.

Besides the baseball share, the Gators were best in men's basketball and golf. The women won soccer, volleyball, tennis, cross country and indoor track.

Tennessee's titles came in women's basketball (regular season and tournament) and men's tennis (shared with Georgia). No surprises there.

The Lady Vols won the softball tournament but the championship is determined by the regular season.

A lost weekend at Florida pried the title out of Tennessee's grasp and handed it to Alabama.

Georgia scored in women's swimming and settled for the co-title in men's tennis (although UT won head-to-head to claim the No. 1 seed in the tournament).

LSU got on the board in women's outdoor track. South Carolina and Vanderbilt shared the three-way baseball split with Florida.

Kentucky's only celebration was the men's basketball tournament, but Florida won the regular-season championship.

Besides softball, Alabama won gymnastics, in which UT does not compete. The Lady Vols row, but it's not an SEC sport.

Tennessee's women outperformed the men.

The Lady Vols were second in tennis and third in soccer, volleyball, softball and indoor track.

They were also fourth in swimming/diving, fifth in outdoor track and sixth in golf.

The only meltdown was an uncharacteristic 12th-place showing in cross country.

The men, meanwhile, were third in golf and swimming/diving. Cross country finished fourth.

Elsewhere, UT was in the bottom half of the league.

That includes seventh in indoor track and eighth in outdoor track.

What's left? Only the marquee sports. The news was not good.

Bruce Pearl's final basketball team finished fifth in East and eighth overall at 8-8.

Derek Dooley's first football team tied for third in the East and ranked ninth overall at 3-5.

Finally, the baseball team dragged home last in the league at 7-23.

Good riddance, you're probably thinking. The 2011-12 season begins in three months.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 20

orangecountyvols writes:

Mike,

Are you going to call the KNS bunch together to have a party and celebrate?

We know all this but your overtones are obvious.

volguy#211935 writes:

It's not so Strange that Mike is calling it like it is. It may not be pleasant to read, but it is all true.

madmax22 writes:

A Strangle hold? UF won two men's titles baskeball and golf. Auburn won football while USC won the SEC East. UK won the men's basketball tourney and advanced to National title game. UF was in a 3 way tie for baseball but USC won the head to head series with the gators. Looks like the real power of the gators was in the women's no big deal sports. People make fun of UT fans if we act like winning women's basketball title is big deal and the gators didn't win either the regular season or tournament titles in the two main women's sports of basketball or softball. So to say they have a strangle hold is a bit out in left field, so to speak.

Razor784 writes:

Again this leads to the burning question - how does Mike Hamilton still have a job?

99gator writes:

this is nothing new. there is a reason the conference doesn't give out an all-sports title anymore.

orangecountyvols writes:

Indestructible,

What position did you play at Trinity?
Or.........were you a coach there?

budd#207344 writes:

Given the two states relative population size, size of the respective universities, money, and coaching/athletic directors if I am a florida fan right now I am wondering why I am not more dominant. UT has finished 2nd and 3rd the last two years in the All Sports Trophy. Just imagine where we will be when we turn around the men's top three. To even be considered in this context shows how much UTAD overachieves. We may think we have some deep pocket alums but not compared to florida. Granted we need to fix some sports but as I said if im a Gator , I would want some answers

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

not surprising. Florida has a population that is higher than Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky combined.

If you add in the great weather that lasts all year....the only surprise would be if Florida WASN'T the dominate school in the conference.

If you want surprises...look at these same demographics and ask yourselves why Georgia isn't better at all of its sports than it is...

bigdisbig writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The whole state of Florida totally sucks. They can win all the championships they want but they can also deal with all the idiots who can't even vote correctly, hurricanes, miserable weather, gnats and arrogant yankee transplants like yourself. I'll take Tennessee any day even though we have a moron named Mike Hamilton for AD.

The_Real_Orange writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Given the two states relative population size, size of the respective universities, money, and coaching/athletic directors if I am a florida fan right now I am wondering why I am not more dominant. UT has finished 2nd and 3rd the last two years in the All Sports Trophy. Just imagine where we will be when we turn around the men's top three. To even be considered in this context shows how much UTAD overachieves. We may think we have some deep pocket alums but not compared to florida. Granted we need to fix some sports but as I said if im a Gator , I would want some answers

Did you realize that the SEC quit awarding this trophy because UF was so dominate? When UT has had their absolute best years, UF has still beaten them for the All-sports award. Just keep believing UF should be worried.....the people in charge of the SEC decided it was a losing battle and quit trying to beat the Gators :)

Jakevol writes:

What SEC school had the highest graduated rate.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,
These 3 are talking about Florida a lot........but in fact:

"The real Orange"
Indestructible
Bodeane

Have nothing to do with the Gators. You see they all went to Trinity.

Why?

Guess what the nickname for Trinity is........

The_Real_Orange writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,
These 3 are talking about Florida a lot........but in fact:

"The real Orange"
Indestructible
Bodeane

Have nothing to do with the Gators. You see they all went to Trinity.

Why?

Guess what the nickname for Trinity is........

There is only one real Trinity that matters......but this is a sports forum.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to The_Real_Orange:

Did you realize that the SEC quit awarding this trophy because UF was so dominate? When UT has had their absolute best years, UF has still beaten them for the All-sports award. Just keep believing UF should be worried.....the people in charge of the SEC decided it was a losing battle and quit trying to beat the Gators :)

None of which changes the facts of my post. florida is under acheiving given the demographics of their state. And UT is oveeracheiving given the demographics of Tennessee. I'll root for overacheivers every time.

CCLC writes:

Georgia finished 2nd.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A comb over is for hiding things. I am not hiding anything. The simple fact is Tennessee is getting more from less while florida is getting less from more.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to The_Real_Orange:

There is only one real Trinity that matters......but this is a sports forum.

Mr."Real Orange"

Don't make an end run around the truth. You see, the nickname of Trinity College is the Trolls.

That's where you and your bandwagon Florida fans come in.............trolls.

So we can assume you matriculated at Trinity.

stormblast writes:

in response to Jakevol:

What SEC school had the highest graduated rate.

I'm not sure as far as graduation goes. But Florida would still have a chance in it. Prisoners can work on their college degrees.

stormblast writes:

I love this statement:

"It's true that not all championships are viewed equally. Nor are they financially rewarded equally."

Take out the "equally" in the last sentence, & Auburn proved that wrong.

commonman writes:

in response to budd#207344:

A comb over is for hiding things. I am not hiding anything. The simple fact is Tennessee is getting more from less while florida is getting less from more.

How many major schools does the state of Fla. have compared to Tenn.

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