Gators have ground to make up
Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 2:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 2:17 p.m.
Florida’s still-active athletic programs have some work to do if the Gators are going to bring home another SEC All-Sports trophy.
The award goes to the SEC program with the best overall athletic program based on a points system compiled by The Gainesville Sun. The award is presented by the Halifax Media Group, which owns The Sun.
Florida has won 21 of the last 22 awards and has swept — winning overall, men’s and women’s — 13 times during that span.
But UF trails in all three categories with four sports still to be decided.
In the overall category, Florida trails Georgia by 0.050. Each school is awarded points for its finish in each sport on a 14-13-12, etc. basis. That total is then divided by the number of teams who participate in each of the sports.
Florida needs to make up points in the final four sports that have yet to decide league champions — baseball, softball and men’s and women’s track and field.
The good news for the Gators is that the UF baseball team currently leads the SEC with a 15-6 record. The Gators, however, finish with three strong SEC opponents. Alabama (18th), Vanderbilt (ninth) and Tennessee (27th) are all in the nation’s top 30 in RPI. Only the Vanderbilt series is in Gainesville.
But Georgia is struggling on the diamond. The Bulldogs are currently 13th in the SEC standings.
In softball, Florida is currently tied with Georgia for fifth place. The Gators end the regular season at Arkansas, which is 12th in the SEC, while Georgia plays host to fourth-place Kentucky.
The SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held May 15-18 in Lexington, Ky. Florida is ranked first in the men’s and second in the women’s. Georgia is ranked fifth in both.
In the women’s competition, Florida trails Texas A&M by 0.278. A&M has finished its conference play in softball and is 11th.
In the men’s competition, Florida is fourth behind leader Georgia, Missouri and Auburn. UF was hurt by a tied for ninth in football and a tied for 12th in men’s golf.
One of Florida’s better sports — women’s lacrosse — doesn’t help the Gators in their race for a eighth straight all-sports title because there are not enough SEC teams to sanction the sport. Florida won the American Lacrosse Conference championship.
The all-sports award was given by the league from 1983-84 to 1993-94. When the league discontinued the award, it was picked up by the New York Times Regional Newspapers Group, which handed out the award until 2011. This will be the third year that Halifax has presented the award.