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Anchor Drop, April 28, 2018: A very bad loss

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Blowing a seven-run lead is suboptimal.

College World Series - Virginia v Vanderbilt - Game One Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Good morning.

The Vanderbilt baseball team lost 8-7 to South Carolina last night. The most positive thing I have to say here is that Vanderbilt managed to score seven runs in the first three innings. Then, the Commodores were held hitless for 6.1 innings — but that frankly should not matter when you have a 7-0 lead in the third inning. And this wasn’t even a situation where South Carolina slowly chipped away at the lead; the Gamecocks scored two runs in the fifth and six runs in the sixth. There’s just no positive spin to put on this. The loss drops the Commodores to 10-9 in the SEC and 24-17 overall, and now, they have to come back at 2:00 PM CT today to face the same team. That game will be on the SEC Network+.

Men’s tennis lost to Florida, 4-1, in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday. That ends the regular season for the 19th-ranked Commodores, who will now await Tuesday’s selection show to find out if they qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

Men’s golf shot a 4-over par 284 on the third day of the SEC Tournament, finishing the stroke play portion of the event in a tie for second with Florida and nine shots behind leader LSU. The Commodores will now advance to the match play portion of the event as the 3-seed and will play Alabama at 7:20 AM CT today.

And in maybe the biggest news of Friday night, linebacker Oren Burks was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Taking off my gold-colored glasses for a moment, the third round seems like a bit of a reach on Burks, but we’re obviously happy for him. The draft will resume today at 11:00 AM CT. While there’s some buzz around a few Commodores (namely Tre Herndon and Trent Sherfield), I wouldn’t be that shocked if Burks winds up being the only Commodore drafted this year.

Finally, women’s lacrosse will conclude its season today with a home game against Denver at 1:00 PM CT. The Commodores have already been eliminated from contention for the Big East tournament, so this will actually be Vanderbilt’s final game as a Big East associate member. Next season, Vanderbilt will compete in the American Athletic Conference, which is adding women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport.

Off the West End

So... something weird was going on at the NFL Draft last night. LSU running back Derrius Guice was still on the board as the second round began, which wasn’t terribly surprising — I’d thought he would be a first-round talent but was borderline enough that he might fall into the second round.

Then the first few picks of the second round came. Nick Chubb went to the Browns at 35 -- that’s fine. USC’s Ronald Jones went to the Buccaneers at 38 -- okay, I think Guice is better, but they’re different types of backs so I can see why you might prefer Jones.

And then the Lions traded up to 43 to draft Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson. That was weird. Now something was really going on, because I watched enough SEC football to know that if you decided you’d rather have Johnson than Guice, you clearly weren’t basing your decision on football.

And, well, something was going on... but probably not what the talking heads on the NFL Network were saying.

All right — here’s why I don’t trust this. First of all, it’s coming from the league’s official mouthpieces. Probably more than any other league anywhere in America, and maybe the world, the NFL is very good at controlling the narrative. In fact, many fans of the NFL took these statements at face value.

Here’s the problem: a couple of weeks ago, Guice made an offhand comment on a radio show about being asked during a combine interview if he was gay. SB Nation site OutSports broke down why it concluded that Guice probably wasn’t actually asked that question — basically, Guice was throwing out examples of wacky questions that scouts ask prospects during the combine just to see how they react, but wasn’t personally asked that — which was also the conclusion that the NFL came to on Thursday.

Now, the fact that Guice fell by itself isn’t all that suspicious — players drop all the time for weird reasons having to do with team needs or roster fit or even just having an offbeat scout who has a different idea of respective players’ values -- but the fact that the NFL specifically felt like it needed to come up with reasons that Guice was falling, and ones that presented Guice in a very negative light, is more than a little strange and suggests that they wanted to try to obscure the actual reasons (see above.)

Or when this guy got drafted six spots ahead of Guice:

Or... well, let’s just let our friends from And The Valley Shook take it from here.

So, yeah: my conclusion based on the available evidence is that Derrius Guice fell in the draft because reasons and the NFL media picked this opportunity to feed a load of bullshit about why he was falling, which is not something that’s normally done. Usually when a guy is falling because of character concerns, the “character concerns” are abundantly clear and well-known.

But the real issue is that NFL teams are very selective about their character concerns. Remember: Joe Mixon was drafted 48th, eleven spots ahead of where Guice was drafted, and he punched a woman on video. It appears that now, though, “character concerns” are turning into a cover for... well, something else entirely.

Unless you believe the NFL’s party line, and I don’t know why you should at this point.

I’ll spare you another full-on rant (maybe this comes tomorrow-ish), but ever since the Rice Commission Report dropped, one side effect is that people connected to AAU “grassroots” basketball (their preferred term) have gotten... uh, very defensive.

Imagine thinking that college basketball is better off because Anthony Davis didn’t randomly end up at Cleveland State.