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TRips: Three Monday thoughts

Apparently, Jim Delany still believes that Jim Delany is a big deal.

For a guy whose conference hasn't produced a legitimate national title contender in football since 2007 -- and based on the ease with which two-loss LSU dispatched Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game that year, "legitimate" is being kind -- the Big 10 commissioner talks as if anyone outside Columbus, Ohio gives two Buckeyes what he thinks.

From offering up a conference-champs-need-only-apply playoff plan to a thinly-veiled shot at Alabama's appearance in the 2012 BCS title tilt, Delany has kept his conference in the news in recent weeks.

Never mind that he came off like the boss of a non-AQ conference whining about the SEC's gridiron dominance in the process. Then again, seeing as how his league has been about as relevant in the national title race in recent years as C-USA, maybe that's what Delany and his league have been relegated to. Has it really been nine years since the mighty Big 10 secured the crystal football?

To be clear, Delany's "concerns" have nothing to do with a conference non-champion playing for the national championship. No, Delany, like so many others out there these days, is suffering from an acute case of SEC fatigue.

For a league that holds the Rose Bowl in such high regard, Delany's comments would seem to downgrade the actual importance of the game -- something the rest of us figured out years ago.

College football's biggest game is played the week after the "Granddaddy of Them All", a game Alabama played a large role in establishing, by the way, and since Pasadena joined the championship rotation in 2002, the Big 10 has yet to place a team in the varsity Rose Bowl (no, 2002 Nebraska doesn't count, Jim). During that time, the Rose Bowl has become the Capital One Bowl West, only with a better parade.

And that's why the assertion by Delany that the Rose Bowl was as big, if not bigger than THE game, was so laughable. Even the most ardent Big 10 and Pac-12 fans know that is no longer close to being the case.

Fortunately for the rest of us, when faced with a potential divide between BCS leagues, playoff proponents like Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds didn't budge. Essentially, Dodds and others told Delany, "no big deal, take your ball and go home." Given that home is where Delany's league has been on the season's final night each of the past five years, it really wasn't that bold of a statement.

At that point, it was all over but the crying for Delany, something he'll likely continue to do until one of his teams gets it done on the field.

ALL ABOARD THE J-TRAIN TO OKC: Considering the gap that exists between ace Jackie Traina and the rest of the Alabama pitching staff, Amanda Locke's stellar performance in the circle in the Crimson Tide's 10-1 win over Florida in the SEC Tournament championship game Saturday was encouraging to say the least.

But can skipper Patrick Murphy count on that kind of effort from his No. 2 against elite competition in the postseason? Beyond UA's regional opener against Tennessee-Martin on Friday night, probably not.

For the Crimson Tide to win the SEC's first national championship in softball, Traina will need to do something Texas' Cat Osterman and Tennessee's Monica Abbott could not: pitch her team to Super Regional AND Women's College World Series titles.

Traina, the 2012 SEC Pitcher of the Year, may not be as talented as Osterman or Abbott, but her competitive spirit is unsurpassed. More so than the physical demands that come with the load she'll be asked to take on, Traina's mental toughness will be on full display over the next few weeks. Based on what we've seen to date, the sophomore has that part of the job covered.

BIG BUCKS BUD: This pro golf thing might just work out for former Alabama all-american Bud Cauley.

In his first 11 months as a professional, Cauley has banked $1,520,731. He's made 19 of 24 cuts as a pro, including 17 of 22 on the PGA Tour. Pretty good considering he's missed the cut in his last two events (Heritage Classic and Players Championship).

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