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Anchor Drop, May 28, 2019: 95 Days to Kickoff

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The Nashville Regional is set, and the men’s golf team advances to match play.

NCAA BASEBALL: Mississippi State at Vanderbilt George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning.

Vanderbilt football’s season opener against Georgia is 95 days away. Harrison Smith is #95 on Vanderbilt’s roster; the redshirt freshman punter from Brentwood Academy walked on the team last season and, according to the team’s website, served as the team’s holder on field goals and extra points in the Missouri game. Unlike in years past, this did not burn a redshirt. We’d assume Smith will be competing with incoming freshman Jared Wheatley for punting duties this year with last year’s punter, Parker Thome, having graduated.

(As an aside — it’s been so long since Vanderbilt has had a player of any significance who wore 95 that we don’t even have a photo we’re licensed to use. College football’s numbering system is stupid.)

The Nashville Regional is set. For the fifth time in the last seven seasons, Vanderbilt baseball is hosting a regional, and on Monday the NCAA revealed the three other participants: Indiana State is the 2-seed, McNeese is the 3, and Ohio State is the 4. Vanderbilt will open the regional against Ohio State on Friday at 6:00 PM CT at Hawkins Field.

Men’s golf had a strong fourth round at the NCAA Championship; the Commodores were one of just two teams in the field to shoot under par for the day, with a 3-under par 285 that vaulted them into second place at the end of the stroke play competition. (They still finished 31 shots behind first-place Oklahoma State, though.) That performance puts Vanderbilt into the match play playoff for the championship; the Commodores will face 7th-seeded Texas A&M in the quarterfinals at 11:00 AM CT. Should they win, they’ll advance to the semifinals at 4:00 PM today.

Off the West End

ESPN released its college basketball transfer rankings for this offseason. D.J. Harvey, who transferred from Notre Dame to Vanderbilt, ranks #10 among traditional transfers who will sit out next season. (Of additional note: former Vanderbilt player Camron Justice, who moved from IUPUI to Western Kentucky, ranks #17 among graduate transfers.)

This is from Saturday, but a good thought piece on how California’s “Fair Pay to Play” Act could impact the NCAA. My thoughts on this: one, it’s a bit of a mystery why the Olympic model has gained so much currency instead of just having the universities pay players salaries (which would jeopardize the universities’ tax-exempt status, but the cynic in me also suspects that legalizing what essentially amounts to crowdsourcing compensation to players would advantage schools with huge fan bases, i.e. Tennessee, while holding down rich schools with small fan bases, i.e. Vanderbilt.) And two, again, 99 percent of the problem is that both the NFL and NBA currently have age-based restrictions on who can play in their leagues, and the NFL essentially has zero interest in creating a minor league to house 18-year-olds who have potential but aren’t ready for the NFL yet.

Peak transfer portal: WR Bru McCoy, who signed with USC in December, then transferred to Texas, appears to now be headed back to USC.

Topics at the SEC spring meetings in Destin: Gambling! Booze! NCAA investigations!

Scoreboard

Stanley Cup Finals: The Boston Bruins came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2, going up 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals.

MLB: Marlins 3, Nationals 2 ... Yankees 5, Padres 2 ... Orioles 5, Tigers 3 ... Rays 8, Blue Jays 3 ... Pirates 8, Reds 5 (Game 1) ... Astros 6, Cubs 5 ... Royals 1, White Sox 1 (suspended) ... Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3 ... Red Sox 12, Indians 5 ... A’s 8, Angels 5 ... Reds 8, Pirates 1 (Game 2) ... Brewers 5, Twins 4 ... Dodgers 9, Mets 5 ... Mariners 6, Rangers 2