The College World Series SEC Baseball Team shows what the league strives to be

Omaha, Neb. – One entrance in the southeast conference offices recently underwent a makeover. It now has a display of photos from every national championship match or event that two teams in the league have participated in.

“A new tradition,” said Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Greg Sankey. “There is still room to add to this group.”

Sankey came to Omaha from Birmingham, Alabama in search of the next photo. Saturday as seen Arkansas And the Ole Miss Winning the second day of the College World Series, Sankey wore a green jersey emblazoned with the SEC logo. It’s the only color that won’t get him into trouble here, because nothing in it shows support for one of its programs over the other.

These are the problems of the commissioner whose conference dominates the sport.

SEC is what football strives for – a balanced and relentless mix of teams, almost any of which in most years can win a national championship, most likely by defeating a handful of league rivals along the post-season road.

Sanky, Increasingly at odds last year with the other Fifth Force commissioners About the details of the College Football Extension Expansion, Sit back and smile at CWS. He could envision the soccer version of Ole Miss-Auburn in a quarter-final match. Or the bitter elimination competition between Texas and Texas A&M, as Sankey earned on Sunday at CWS, with the winner still alive in his bid to win a national title.

Five SEC baseball programs have won seven of the past 12 championships. None of these five are among the four from the SEC who qualified to play in Omaha this year.

The SEC team has played with the SEC team to win the national title three times in football and three times in baseball over the past 11 years. Since the fall of 1998, when college football unveiled the BCS system to determine the champion, no other conference has ever achieved it in football, baseball, or men’s basketball.

SEC vs. SEC for Title

baseball season National hero Second place

2011

South Carolina

Florida

2017

Florida

LSU

2021

Mississippi

Vanderbilt

football season National hero Second place

2011

Alabama

LSU

2017

Alabama

Georgia

2021

Georgia

Alabama

“You don’t do it out of mediocrity,” Sankey said. “You can do it by lining up against the best. And both now and in the future, when we add Oklahoma And Texas, this forecast will be more pronounced than any other weekly conference. This is the reason why SEC makes football special. This is what makes baseball special.

“The future is incredibly bright for people who want to step up to be a part of it.”

Not counting Oklahoma and Texas, both in business on Sunday and set to join the SEC in the next three years, SEC representation tying a record for the most teams from a single conference at the CWS, which was recently established by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2019.

TennesseeThe best team in the country during the regular season is not here. wore before Notre Dame In a super regional area. The same thing happened last year to Arkansas, which was 50-11 before the North Carolina State denied the Razorbacks a trip to Omaha with a pair of victories.

Arkansas made it this year. And after his 17-2 victory over stanford On Saturday, she plays Ole Miss Monday Night. The winner will own the inside track for the championship series that begins on Saturday.

And speaking of the Ole Miss, perhaps the hottest team in the entire tournament. The the rebels He marched through six post-season games behind an impressive throw after losing five of their six weekend series in the SEC and snuck into the 64-team NCAA field as the last big team picked.

It serves as compelling evidence that no team from the SEC deserves to be labeled an underdog.

“The SEC is preparing you like no other conference,” said left field Ole Miss Kevin Graham, who delivered Saturday night in a 5-1 win against him. Auburn. “It is a challenge. You have to go through it. Everyone can defeat everyone. It is not the best team that wins. It is the team that plays the best.”

Being prepared at the SEC doesn’t guarantee victory in the CWS, according to Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn, but it does reduce the likelihood of facing a surprise.

“Whether it’s a left-handed guy at great speed or a right-handed guy with a trailing slider, you’ll see,” Van Horn said. “There are other good teams in other leagues, but we have a lot of great teams.”

Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagel, in his first year with Aggies After 18 seasons in TCU, he said he watched the SEC baseball team from afar and admired the competition. I liked the atmosphere.

“But you’re also like, the whole sentence, ‘It just means more,'” Schlossnagel said. “It’s a bit elitist.” “It doesn’t mean more, no disrespect for the Securities and Exchange Commission or Commissioner Sankey. It means more for more people.

“The league itself is, quite literally, a challenge, because of the level of play, each team individually. Alabama And the Kentucky She did not participate in the NCAA Championships. If you had told me two weeks ago that Alabama and Kentucky were going to be in Omaha, it wouldn’t have shocked me in the least, not for a second.”

Sankey theorized that the 2020 season, which was canceled less than a month after it began due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a flare-up among baseball fans and players who are not yet calm.

Sankey said that when the stadiums reopened in 2021, an avalanche of emotion erupted.

“People wanted to be a part of something when stadium capacities were back to normal,” he said, “a switch was flipped.”

Attributing the energy around the SEC to baseball last year, culminating in the CWS Championship Series, worthy of the entrance image, such as Mississippi He beat Vanderbilt, with a massive flare up early in the 2021 football season. Sankey attended football games in Clemson Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and Florida in September.

“This was another level of severity,” Sankey said. “It was just pent-up energy, and it started when we opened the baseball fields.”

This year, by the way, Mississippi State, the ruling national champion, finished last in the SEC — and not because it was a bad team.

Texas and Oklahoma are still alert. Both programs returned to Omaha in the first year after announcing they were heading to the SEC.

The tape has been scraped. Momentum is rising. On Friday the morning of the opening of the CWS, Oklahoma unveils plans for a $30 million replenishment From the baseball field.

“They showed me[the pictures]of the stadium,” said Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson. “It was unbelievable. It will be a really new stadium. I mean, we are intent on going to the SEC. They are heading towards that.”

Texans never want to be outdone, they want to grow. Coach David Pearce said he’d like to enclose the field at Disch-Falk Field and double the 6,985 seating capacity as the SEC.

“There’s a chance you’ll play Friday night games, and there will be 15,000[in attendance],” Pearce said. “That’s pretty cool. And every weekend on the road, you experience that. It’s a whole new level when you get into these fan bases and bring in those kinds of schools that aren’t just good at baseball, they have a history in athletics.”

Sankey, a New Yorker who played baseball as a backup striker at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, has found another home in Omaha. In June of this year, he came on the CWS opening weekend for only the second time.

Other trips brought him to the Championship Series. But with 75 percent of the CWS field calling his league now or in the coming years, Sankey said he felt he should join in early. The Eighth-Year Commissioner traveled here with his wife Cathy for the first time.

With Texas and Notre Dame entering the field Friday night, Sankey left the field. They had a reservation for dinner at 801 Chophouse, a staple downtown steakhouse. It was a powerful move, not unlike the hanging of pictures in the back lobby in Birmingham, by the man in charge of the league who continues to take charge in college sports, one championship at a time.

(Photo of Olly Mays celebrating after his victory over Auburn: Stephen Branscombe/USA Today)

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