SEC dubbed golden child of college sports

Matt Lofgren

The Southeastern Conference has been dubbed the golden child of college sports. With back-to-back national championships in baseball and football and the reigning national champions in men’s basketball, the SEC is viewed as the best of the best.

But what’s so special about the conference if a Mid-American Conference school is 3-1 against it this post season?

There may be no real formula why, but in junior Evan Campbell’s eyes, the SEC teams have been looking past all other competition.

“I mean, the SEC is a powerhouse conference,” Campbell said. “Obviously they’re not used to playing mid-majors like us, so we usually get hyped up to play teams like this, and it kind of works as an advantage because they overlook us. We come into the game, and I think we’re a lot better than what they expect.”

In full force, Arkansas has been sending fans in numbers. Arkansas is the closest school to Omaha in the tournament at around 450 miles away. The Razorback fans are as loud as can be out on the field.

But Kent State isn’t just showing the country that the Flashes can play ball in a place where it’s cold for most of the regular season – it’s for the whole Midwest region.

“We’re the first team from the state of Ohio since Mike Schmidt was playing shortstop at Ohio University – 1970, that’s the last team from Ohio to play in the World Series,” Stricklin said. “(I’m) just really proud to represent Kent State and represent the Mid-American Conference – to represent northern baseball. I think that question’s been answered. This is possible. A northern team can do it, and we’ve done it the right way.”

By the right way, Stricklin means with his local recruiting trips. This team isn’t built around one junior college transfer or kids from the south. They are all local guys.

“We’ve done it with kids from our area — high school kids, not junior college kids from California or Arizona,” Stricklin said. “These are high school kids from Ohio and Pennsylvania. I’m just thrilled to death for them.”

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].