Eight ACC championships have yet to be decided. Six of them get taken care of this weekend. So this weekend is kind of a big one.
Last year, UVA won more ACC championships than any other school, and we have a great chance to duplicate the feat this year. UVA has racked up four, tying with Florida State; Florida State, however, doesn't compete in all of this weekend's sports. It'll be a disappointment of colossal proportions if UVA doesn't snag at least one this weekend, because that would require at least two major upsets. The six sports contesting ACC championships this weekend are:
- Women's lacrosse. This one's already underway, and VT is in the process of being crushed as I write. We're not the favorite, however; that distinction likely belongs to UNC, whom UVA topped in overtime in the regular season. After VT comes Maryland, who blew us out earlier this year, and getting past that means a likely rematch with Carolina.
- Rowing. UVA is the heavy favorite here, being ranked #1 in the region. Clemson, as you see, is second, and poses the greatest threat, but the ladies' crew should be ACC championship #5 when all's said and done. This team, by the way, holds my interest in a different small way as it's the only UVA team to include athletes from my high school on the roster.
- Men's tennis. The other sport where UVA = domination. Not only do the Hoos beat everyone they face, most of the time it's not even close. Miami is the first opponent on the chopping block, scheduled for tomorrow. Barring a major upset this should be championship #6.
- Women's tennis. UVA is the 6th seed in this tournament and has a long road to hoe to get to the championship, but stranger things have happened. Again, Carolina is the favorite, but the match against them this season was a very close loss.
- Men's golf. You know what, I don't even know. College golf is weird. UVA's got a decent team, I guess - here's the coaches' poll - and based on that I'd say we're not the favorites, but we're certainly in the hunt. And if there was ever an anything-can-happen game, it's golf, which is a lesson I learn every time I'm on the links. Maybe we win, maybe we don't.
- Men's lacrosse. As ever, a series of coin-flips between four teams of more or less even strength. Of course we drew Duke in the first round, but odds are basically two in three we'd have to play them at some point anyway. I really think there's a champion-ness about this team that wasn't there last year, but who knows, maybe that comes out in the NCAAs instead of the ACCs. I think most people would prefer that anyway. In any case, figure we have a 25% chance of winning this mini-tournament, which still ain't bad.
Of course, the baseball team plays this weekend too: in College Park against Maryland, who is as bad as advertised. They have a respectable #1 starter and one or two guys who can hit the ball, but the basic deal is, not sweeping this series might as well be considered a series loss. In ten of their forty games (in which they are 15-25) they've given up double-digit runs; three of those games have been 20-run monstrosities and another was a 17-run ugliness at the hands of Delaware. If there was ever a time to give the bats a little wake-up call, this is it.
Lastly, I have the same opinion as everyone else about an impending 68-team NCAA tournament: YAY IT'S NOT 96. In fact, I like 68 better than 65. Now there's some symmetry to it. Until 96 was mentioned, I always sort of figured 68 was inevitable anyway, since at some point in the future the Great West Conference will get an autobid and the whole reason for 65 was to make room for a new AQ conference. With a 14-year deal, we likely won't have to worry about earthshaking expansion again til the 2020's. And the split between CBS and Turner means that you don't have to watch just any game that CBS foists on you, which means that if your team is not playing the "interesting" matchup at the moment, you don't have to miss it. Consider this whole thing a positive development, and not even the kind that's positive only because it's less crappy than what they floated at first. It's actually a good thing.
Right - 45 minutes to the NFL draft. Root for Chris Cook tonight, who's occasionally projected as a first-rounder but more commonly in the high second round. Me, I'm off to go pray to whatever god will listen that the Lions don't get a major case of the stupids tonight. The symptom is "doing anything other than selecting Ndamukong Suh." Yes, it's the obvious pick; yes, Suh blows up everything he sees; yes, he's the best player in the draft; yes, he's a high-character guy and that too is written in neon lights; no, I don't have much faith in the Lions being anything other than the Lions. Watch them reach for Trent Williams. (Edit: they picked Suh! Wooo, shit yeah!!)