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Maybe I'll be wrong

I’ve been trying to convince myself that Kansas has what it takes to go on the road and beat a good Southern Mississippi team tonight. So far, I haven’t been successful.

I know how KU shocked the college football gods last week by beating a ranked Georgia Tech in Lawrence. I know how impressive the Jayhawks were in that win.

But forgive me for not being able to totally let go of the North Dakota State fiasco from the week before. It’s going to take a while to win back my trust and one win – impressive as it was – doesn’t do the trick.

Southern Miss is a good, not great, team. But Hattiesburg will be a tough place for KU to play, especially with its inexperienced backfield. Southern Miss, meanwhile, has most of its offensive weapons back from last season, when the Golden Eagles lost to KU by only a touchdown in Lawrence.

Southern Miss 28, KU 21. It pains me to make that pick.

Before you even ask, I’ll tell you I did not watch a second of the WNBA championship series between Seattle and Atlanta.

That said, I am envious of Tulsa for having a WNBA franchise, which just completed its first season playing in the BOA Arena. And if Wichita were to someday swing bringing a WNBA franchise to town, I’d be ecstatic. So, don’t call me a WNBA hater.

“USA Today” had an interesting story today on the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista, who leads the majors with 47 homers this season after having never hit more than 16 in any previous season. He has a chance to become the first player since 2007 to hit 50 home runs.

Amazing stuff.

But not as amazing as Davey Johnson, a second baseman with the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves in the 1970s and later a successful manager.

Johnson, after hitting five home runs for Baltimore in 1972, crushed 43 for Atlanta the next season. It’s the largest one-season swing in history. Johnson never hit more than 18 homers in any other season.

And it got me to wondering about other flash-in-the-pan power hitters and I came up with a few:

Brady Anderson, Baltimore, went from hitting 16 homers in 1995 to hitting 50 in 1996. He never hit more than 24 in any other season.

Rico Petrocelli, Boston, hit a career-high 40 homers in 1969, 11 more than he hit in any other season.

Ben Oglivie, Milwaukee, had 41 homers in 1980, but hit over 30 only one other time in his career.

Todd Hundley, a catcher with the Cubs, hit 41 homers in 1996 but hit 30 only one other time.

Others to hit 40 homers in a season only once and not come close again include: Phil Nevin, Roy Campanella, Jeff Burroughs, Tony Batista, Gus Zernial, Hal Trosky, Javy Lopez and Richard Hildago.

Then there’s Hal Trosky, who as a 21-year-old first baseman with the Cleveland Indians in 1934, batted .330 with 35 homers and 142 RBIs. In 1936, he was even better, hitting .342 with 42 homers and 162 RBIs. Trosky, a big Iowan, never hit more than 32 homers in another season and missed three full seasons because of World War II.

This information comes via baseballreference.com, the best website in the world for a baseball fan.

Michael Vick intrigues you, admit it. I don’t know where Vick’s reputation is these days, but he’s done as well as he could to win back the public trust after his conviction and incarceration for the inhumane treatment of dogs.

And he sure looked like the Vick of old last week after replacing the injured Kevin Kolb for the Philadelphia Eagles. That performance, and the fact that Kolb is still not fully recovered from a concussion, have earned Vick the start in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

I don’t think Vick is an ideal starting quarterback. I don’t think he ever was. But he can certainly make preparation difficult. It will be fascinating to see how Vick does in his first NFL start since the 2006 season.

Some other college picks: Oklahoma 42, Air Force 20; Notre Dame 24, Michigan State 20; TCU 28, Baylor 17; Kansas State 28, Iowa State 14; Arizona 27, Iowa 24.

Shock Talk

Remember, every Friday I’ll be talking to a different Wichita State athlete about things other than athletics here on the blog.

Today’s subject is softball senior Brianna “Breezy” Smet, a pitcher, who was 1-6 in 22 games for the Shockers last season. She’s from Atascadero, Calif., in the center of the state, and is majoring in sociology. She has a younger brother and plans on going to nursing school in California after her softball career is over.

What was the biggest adjustment in coming halfway across the country to play softball?

Smet: Being away from my family. I’m a very family-oriented person, every night we sat down as a family and had dinner together. We have movie nights. So that was a big adjustment. At the same time, I’m also an individual and I like being by myself. But I call home and talk to my mom (Candy), a lot. Like when I’m walking to and from class. We usually don’t talk about anything big, maybe just the weather or what happened at practice. But I usually call home three or four times a day.

What’s the television show you never miss?

Smet: It’s “One Tree Hill.” I don’t know why. I started watching it in its first season; I was maybe a senior in high school. I’ve watched every single episode since and if I’m going to miss it I make sure I DVR it so I can watch it later. It’s just one of those dramas that has a lot going on.

What about your nickname, Breezy?

I’ve had it since I was little. My parents started calling me that as I came up through sports. All of my friends would call me Brianna or Bree, but when I played sports I was always “Breezy.” I like it. Now there are people who don’t even know my name is Brianna.

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