Our friends at Roll Bama Roll asked me five questions about the Women's College World Series championship series pitting Florida against Alabama; I answered them over here. And I asked their SoGladILeftTheACC five questions of my own...
1. Alabama's been here before. It's won the title. What edges do you think this team can derive from its championship experience?
That the experience, which about half the current team was around for, is going to give our ladies a lot of resilience and poise. In the championship series two years ago, Oklahoma took a 1-0 series lead the first night, then in game three went up 3-0. The Tide came back to win in the rain, and I think that if times get hard they'll be able to draw on that experience and power through.
2. While Florida's cruised to this stage for the most part, Alabama's struggled a bit more, especially at the plate. Why hasn't the Tide been rolling on offense, and is there cause for concern in that regard against Florida's offense?
The offense has struggled with leaving runners on base - 14 in the three WCWS games so far. Most of the runs scored have been off of home runs, so when the big bats aren't coming it spells trouble. If Florida gets the better of Traina, it will definitely be reason to worry.
3. What worries you more: Hannah Rogers or Florida's bats? Why?
This is kind of a chicken-and-egg question, but I'll go with Rogers. Traina has been pitching very well, and the defense has done a good job of backing her up. Our offensive issues combined with someone who's been pitching absolutely lights out could get really unpleasant for those of us in crimson.
4. Alabama and Florida are playing the first all-SEC championship series in WCWS history, and it feels like the epicenter of power in the sport is shifting more and more toward SEC country. Do you think coming from the SEC helped these teams get here, and, if so, how?
11 (of 13) teams from the SEC played in regionals this year, 5 advanced to super regionals, and 3 made it all the way to Oklahoma City. Playing against competition like that every weekend since March definitely helps teams get used to playing tough games against good opposition.
5. Finally, I have to put you on the spot: Which team wins, how many games does the series go, and what's the deciding factor?
I'm going to say Bama in 3, and that it comes down to the pitchers.
The WCWS championship series begins tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. There will be a game thread.