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9 Thoughts from the NCAAs

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It wasn’t pretty. I left for a quite refreshing vacation in the Texas hill country on Friday with two national titles in the balance and a super regional to be had and returned home last night to find the bloodbath that OSU found itself in Saturday afternoon.

Nolo gave a great recap of this yesterday which included OSU’s softball, baseball, and golf teams experiencing year-ending defeats within 3 hours and 17 minutes. That’s pretty tough to do when you think about it.

As Nolo noted, big visor tip to the softball ladies who made it much farther than even the orangest of us could have predicted. And we’ll get to baseball tomorrow. Today though, I have nine things I need to get off my chest on the NCAA golf tournament.

1. Augusta State went back-to-back national titles yesterday. The first time it’s happened since Houston did it in 1984 and 1985. Thankfully they lose all five players as well as their coach (to SMU) so we shouldn’t have to worry about them next year…unless Billy Payne offers up Augusta National as an honory practice course and it’s open season on every high school golfer in the United States. Other than that we should be okay.

2. Say what you want about Uihlein getting worked over 8 and 7 but when Patrick Reed goes 31 on the front 9 at Karsten you could give Lefty an Arizona State flat bill, another year of eligibility, and set of Callaways and even he’s probably not getting it done.

3. As Asher Wildman pointed out last night, we’d be talking about a failed three-peat instead of an eternal drought for OSU if the format hadn’t changed to match play in 2009. But it did so we aren’t.

4. Speaking of droughts, since 1976 this ties the longest period of time the NCAA trophy hasn’t been in the Cowboys’ possession. Golf clap to Pops Pistols for pointing that out to me.

5. Uihlein, Einhaus, and Gooch are all returning next year and Coach McGraw has to choose between three all-staters, a California state champ, a former UNLV player, a kid who has won multiple German events, and Brandon Weeden for his other two spots. And that doesn’t include the presumable all-planet high schoolers he’s recruiting (sadly there’s not a web site for such things). So it’s not like we’re going anywhere.

6. I’m of the opinion that national title events shouldn’t be held on anyone’s home field/court/course/diamond in any sport. Conference titles and even playoff games I understand, but not national titles. It skews the onus of winning as well as the ability to do so. Case in point: OSU lost so its fans are saying “just too much pressure to win on your home course”…had OSU won: Augusta State fans would be saying “how can we beat them in their own house?!” Lose-lose for the NCAA. But they’re probably used to that.

7. We could have saved a lot of time (and money) by just letting UGA and Augusta State tee it up at Augusta National for a day, no?

8. Mike McGraw is my new favorite interview.

9. It’s a shame this event couldn’t be broadcast on TV. If I can watch UVA and Maryland shove each other around while trying to sling a rubber ball into a melon-shaped goal on ESPN HD I should at least be able to see a few holes of the NCAA golf championships. As Ryan Herrington smartly (and correctly) pointed out though, the production costs of golf are higher than other sports because of the number of cameras/crew necessary. Either way, props to the NCAA for putting it online. They did something right!

It was the storybook ending to a near perfect season for the Cowboy golf team. Except it never came. Kevin Tway and Morgan Hoffman leave Stillwater having never tasted a title and Peter Uihlein comes back for the one that keeps getting away. Golf will continue to thrive at OSU, mostly because Mike Holder wants it to, and the Cowboys will try to extend their streak of three straight appearances in the match play portion of the NCAAs next year (they’re the only team to make it to match play every year it’s existed).

Let’s just hope that ending is unlike the last three. With Peter Uihlein’s hands on a thick brown trophy in early June.

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