Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday 12/06 A.M. Quickie:
SportsMEN of 07, Stove, CFB Awards, More!

Today's Names to Know: Sportsman of the Year, Tim Tebow, Andruw Jones, Johan Santana, Jimbo Fisher, Jim Grobe, Bears-Redskins, Allen Iverson, Manu Ginobili, Washington State, Todd Bertuzzi, Kevin Coble and More!

Dan Shanoff's Sportsman SportsMEN of the Year: Florida Basketball's Starting 5.*

Why "Them Gator Boyz?" Because this year, more than any other athlete, they stood out.

Because, coming off a national title, they deferred the guaranteed NBA millions to stay together in college for one more year to stay together (and have one more year of college fun) as a unit and to try to make history: To become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Duke in 1991 and 1992.

They were they ultimate team, in an era of sports (particularly of college sports) where individual ambition usually trumps selflessness and devotion to a greater goal. For my (admittedly biased) money, they were the greatest starting five in modern college basketball history. The on-court success matched by the off-court commitment to each other and the program.

SI had a chance to make a statement about what it means to be a team-first group in a me-first sports world (a world that Brett Favre, ironically, could be argued to personify). They overlooked the two-time national champion Florida Gators basketball starting five.

Specifically for 2007: Of any year, when sports news hit rock-bottom -- arguably the worst year ever in sports, in terms of bad news (or "bad newz") -- them Gator Boyz were a reminder of everything that is RIGHT about sports.

(* - My response to SI's pick of Brett Favre as Sportsman of the Year. Let me start by acknowledging that I sat on this until today, not knowing that Michael Wilbon would make the same call on PTI last night. I disagree with Wilbon's opinions on many topics, but I commend him on his insightful choice about this. What a reminder: When it comes to blogging, better to be early than astute!)

MLB Hot Stove: Andruw Jones to Dodgers for 2Y/$$36.2M. Not exactly the $20 million per year that Scott Boras was talking about, but $18M per year isn't bad for a guy considered perhaps on the downslope of his career. Certainly a glamorous pick-up for the Dodgers, a team that needed one.

Johan Santana Watch: Are the Twins going to keep him after all, in order to compete with the Tigers? That will be great, right up until Santana leaves eventually and they get nothing in return.

Rumor: Are the Cubs working on a deal to get both Brian Roberts AND Erik Bedard?

CFB Awards Season: The Appetizer Show is tonight, all the position-specific awards, in advance of the Heisman ceremony on Saturday.

Here are my picks:
Maxwell (Outstanding POY): Tim Tebow
Bednarik (Defensive POY): Glenn Dorsey
O'Brien (Best QB): Tim Tebow
Walker (Best RB): Darren McFadden
Biletnikoff (Best WR): Michael Crabtree
Outland (Interior Lineman): Jake Long
Thorpe (Best DB): Craig Steltz
Groza (Best K): Jose Martinez
Guy (Best P): Durant Brooks

Dorsey wins Lombardi Award: Given to nation's best lineman or linebacker. Along with the Nagurski, it could be a clean sweep tonight with the Bednarik and Outland.

(And, yet, Dorsey gets not even a hint of Heisman buzz. How can a guy be the most dominant player – offense or defense – on a team in the national title game (and favored to win it) and not even get Top 5 consideration for the Heisman?

It's time to officially reclassify the Heisman as the "best offensive player." The Nagurski Award (or maybe the Bednarik) really needs a marketing team to re-brand their award as the "Heisman of Defense," complete with a distinctive trophy.

Virginia's Chris Long (son of Howie) won the Hendricks Award as the nation's best defensive end. No word on whether he gets a gift certificate to Radio Shack from his dad.

Heisman finalists named: Tebow, McFadden, Daniel, Brennan. They had been inviting 3 recently. I had heard they were inviting 5. I think they settled on 4 because, based on projections at StiffArmTrophy.com, Daniel and Brennan were running nearly even for 3rd. I'm all for inviting both (would have been nice to see Pat White there, or even Central Florida RB Kevin Smith, who had a monster year in relative anonymity).

Tim Tebow has never been to New York until this weekend: I personally invite Tebow to let me take him and his family on a tour. (OK, how about just letting me tag along on theirs?)

CFB Coaching Carousel: Jimbo Fisher to succeed Bobby Bowden at Florida State, eventually. Presumably, that's why they brought him in from LSU a year ago. Of course, given the way FSU looked more like A-S-S than F-S-U, I'm not quite sure he's the guy to bring FSU back to its glory days.

Meanwhile, is Wake Forest's Jim Grobe going to Arkansas? That would be a great hire for Arkansas: Grobe did the seemingly impossible -- he turned Wake Forest into a BCS-bowl team. This season wasn't as good as last season, sure, but it wasn't a regression to "old" Wake Forest.

CFB Scandal: I'm a few days late, but the blatant gamesmanship from coaches voting in the final Coaches' Top 25 poll should be enough to get the BCS to remove the Coaches' poll from the equation. With such a wide-open race for No. 2, coaches (and their particular coaching buddies) pulled out all the stops, ranking teams way ahead of where they should be -- or way below.

The Coaches' Poll already had a massive credibility problem, and it was exposed (again) this week, worse than ever. It's a goddamn embarrassment. Fans shouldn't stand for it. (Cripes, the BCS would honestly be better off replacing it with the BlogPoll Top 25. I'm only partly kidding. At least we all take it seriously enough to vote honestly. (H/T: Bleacher Report.)

NFL Tonight: Bears-Redskins. Even without Sean Taylor's death, it has been a rough year for Redskins fans, who have seen their team blunder game-endings in new and unenjoyable ways all season long. Meanwhile, Bears fans have to be bummed that their team has taken a BIG step back from NFC Champs to NFC dud. Hey, at least they've still got must-see Devin Hester. Oh, that's right, the game is on the NFL Network tonight; not much "must-see" about that. Pick: Redskins.

NFL: We've got a guarantee! Steelers DB Anthony Smith guaranteed Pittsburgh would beat the Patriots in New England next Sunday. Now, it's a pretty risk-free guarantee for him. What: Like the Pats need any more motivation right now than going 19-0? (I have always thought that more players should bust out the pre-game guarantees of victory. They can't possibly move the needle of the other team's players, and they are as meaningful as predictions from sportswriters, columnists, talking heads and bloggers -- in other words, useless.

NBA Stud of the Night: Allen Iverson, who had 51 points, but it wasn't enough for the Nuggets to beat the Lakers on national TV.

Tale of Missing Players: Without Tim Duncan, the Spurs still beat the Mavs (Ginobili 37); without LeBron James, the Cavs lost to the Wizards.

Cavs keeping Varejao. Won't help 'em if LeBron ain't healthy.

CBB: Washington State edged Gonzaga in a signature non-conference game for both teams. File that away until March.

Freshman Watch: I swear I'm not intentionally trying to go Gator-heavy today. But ad dFlorida combo guard Nick Calathes to the growing list of impact freshmen this season. He had 20 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds in his best all-around game as a Gator; he has quickly established himself as the best player on a very inexperienced, but extremely talented team.

NHL: Cripes, was Todd Bertuzzi's "hit" on Scott Moore ORDERED by Canucks then-coach Marc Crawford (who now coaches the Kings)? (If that's the case, why didn't Bertuzzi say that immediately after the incident?)

Must-Read: Andy Katz on Northwestern's Kevin Coble. As an analogy, it's hardly a perfect fit, but I truly appreciate the choice that Coble made: 11 years ago, I was a rising young editor at ESPN.com in Seattle. My grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 3 months to live. I flatly quit my promising job, drove cross-country to Brooklyn and moved in with my grandparents. He got 12 months and I got the most irreplaceable experience of my life, next to marriage and fatherhood.

-- D.S.

34 comments:

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

Dan,

Florida starting 5 was already brought up by Wilbon on PTI.

You both are bat shit crazy.

ContractYear said...

I hate the gators and most things Florida but I could not agree with your more Dan. Great call.

Michael said...

Drop the Coaches Poll and add the BCS Fan Poll. No requirement to be a coach or blogger should exist in order for anyone to vote. Fans could do just as good a job as the Coaches (and the random Harris Poll folks).

roboninja said...

Soo, you spend the first half of the blog talking about team-first players, and lament on how that is no longer the norm. Then, you give your NBA stud to Iverson, who had 51 points, but his team lost? Maybe you are part of the problem here, Dan.

C Gally said...

Is it bad that I take the words "Gator" and "Florida" as having the same meaning as "just skip down a few paragraphs"?

If there was a news article about a 200 foot gator in Florida, I'd probably gloss over it.

Luckily, Tim Tebow is down there and will save us all.

danwise1856 said...

Honestly, I am shocked that SI did not go with Tony Dungy and the Colts as Sportsmen of the Year.

Being the first Black head coach to win a Super Bowl, coming off the death of his son, and having Mr Commercial it seems like a no brainer, even more then the Gators

Brian said...

Dan, replace the coaches poll with the blogpoll? Because your blatant Florida/SEC favoritism has never influenced your ballot? The whole system simply needs to thrown out, in favor of (not to beat a dead horse) a playoff.

Joey K. said...

Dodgers were desperate to make a splash, especially since the hiring of Torre was not followed by the addition of A-Rod, Miguel Cabrera, or even Torri Hunter.

Jingoist said...

Props to the Heisman Committee for inviting 4 to the ceremony. Kind of gives you more anticipation thinking there may be a "close call" and it definitely lends more credibility to the process.

Todd said...

I think the flaw with the gator boys is that they were not relevant to the entire nation, only true gator fans. If any team is worthy of sportmen of the year it is app. state. Not only did they capture the nature, but the set the tone for one of the most memorable college football seasons in history

pv845 said...

You can put the Gator 5 as the Sportsmen of the year and then go into how they stink in the NBA.

I think Tony Dungy or Tim Duncan should be Sportsmen of the Year.

Michael said...

My beef with the Favre thing is how clearly short-sighted it is. The Brett has been nothing short of phenomenal this year but so has the rest of his team and it is as if there was nothing else going on in sports the last twelve months.

Danny boy, I am a Gator grad and a huge Nick Calethes fan but you seemed to conveniently failed to mention that last nights great stats were against the FAMU rattlers.

Is it possible the QB of the year award might go to Daniel or Brennan as a way for voters to reward them for there excellent seasons in a more traditional QB role while still giving touchdown time Tim Tebow the stiff arm trophy?

zwolek said...

I agree with C Gally

Although I am a Gator fan and I do believe the 5 deserve to be this, I have to admit I also skip a paragraph every time I read about the Gators.

Sometimes Dan, you can become the Jehovah's witnesses of Gatordom with your constant door-to-door bandwagoning

marcomarco said...

Re: Tebow tour

Sure thing there, Dan Lachey.

Re: Guarantee

Talk about the media making something out of nothing. If you saw the interview, he was basically poked, prodded and fed those words by the reporters.

Do you guarantee? Um, yea, sure. I believe we can win.

Besides, Smith is only starting because Ryan Clark is on IR.

Boomhauertjs said...

Is there anything less surprising than Dan picking the Gators for Sportsmen of the Year?

When SI decided to pick Favre as SOTY, they should've had a press conference to announce that they were going to choose a SOTY. Then, another press conference to actually announce the SOTY.

No mention of J-Kidd seeking (demanding?) a trade to the Cavs to join LeBron?
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-kidd120507&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

verbal97 said...

Dude, what the hell with the Florida crap? You've outdone yourself this time.

Personally, there was a little too much arrogance and a lot too much bitching and moaning from Noah especially to agree with that call.

How are Tebow's other numbers? All anyone talks about is the 20/20, but who gives a crap? His team lost 3 games, Colt Brennan's lost none and Brennan put up ridiculous numbers.

Bigging up a Florida freshman this year is like going to a brothel and hitting on the receptionist.

marcomarco said...

Guarantee

CycleDan said...

I really don't get the point where you reguarly claim that Brett Favre is all about Brett Favre. To some extent every player is. However most of that with Favre was a result of you (and others) thinking he was washed up and should retire. He certainly has been a big part of the one huge positive surprise this year in the NFL. Do you think GB fans want him to step down right now for Aaron Rodgers? I am going to guess that about 99% would rather have Favre right now.

Also, I would say that Favre's consecutive game streak is one of the greatest if not THE greatest streak of its kind. Any streak in baseball simply can't compare. A QB in the NFL takes so much abuse that most startging QBs can't survive a 16 game season in one piece. I don't know how he does it.

Jen said...

c gally~ Funny! That's what I do most of the time too. I also scan for keywords for myself like "Cavs" "Buckeyes" "Indians" "Browns", realize there aren't any or maybe just one, and then continue on...

Mike D said...

Dan, your man crush of tebow is getting weird now. I give my stud to kobe, AI didn't show up in the 4th.

UTVol said...

I think we need to consider Tennessee mens basketball team as the greatest line-up ever dan. I mean if youre gonna make bold statements they should at least be true. Seeing as the greatest lineup of the modern era lost to Tenneessee 3 of 4 times the last 2 years. And the one game they did win was at home playing against UT when they didnt have chris lofton.

Eric said...

@contractyear

Word for word, my sentiment. SI missed a big opportunity to celebrate what's best in sports nowadays.

Mark said...

@Michael

Fans COULD do as good a job, but it could obviously never happen because people would vote multiple times and the teams with the most "devoted" fans would ultimately come out on top.

Richard K. said...

So why isn't Kevin Smith getting invited to New York?

While I'm on the subject...

Durant Brooks for Heisman!!!

No seriously. No single player dominated his position as much as Durant Brooks dominated his.

A.P. Boynton said...

Kevin Smith from UCF should get the Walker award for Best RB. McFadden is the best all-around player, but Smith ran for almost 3,000 yards and scored 30 TD's.

How about Federer for Sportsman of the Year. He's only the most dominating athlete in his sport, won 3 out of 4 majors this year, etc.

SI is a joke. They only recognize "American Sportsman" of the year. They should really change the name of it since they don't usually recognize anyone that's not a basketball, football, or baseball player.

BobbyStompy said...

Thanks for mentioning the Wazzu b-ball victory, Dan. I thought it was undercovered by ESPN, and I'm glad to see you took notice.

Sons of a Motherless Goat said...

Regarding Heisman:

A sophomore QB became the 2nd D1-A player ever (Vince Young) to rush for 1,000 yds and pass for 3,000 in the same season. Introducing Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan:

Passing: 3,360 yds, 23 TD, 13 INT, 66.4% comp.
Rushing: 1,008 yds, 17 TD, 6.5 ypc

As for Sportsman of the Year:

I agree that too often the award goes to a basketball, baseball or football player. We need a Blogger Sportsman of the Year (somebody make this happen). I nominate Ryan Hall:

1/14/2007 – Wins U.S. half-marathon championship in American record 59:43, breaking the 21-year old record by a whopping 1:12. It is the 13th fastest half-marathon in history.

4/22/2007 – Finishes 7th in the London Marathon, running 2:08:24. It is the fastest debut by an American at the distance and is the 5th fastest U.S. time ever.

11/3/2007 – Wins the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in 2:09:02, a record for the event.

Brian said...

If you are going to give the Heisman to Tebow and his artificially enhanced stats then why not give the Maxwell to Darren McFadden, the best player to step onto a college football field this year, and the O'Brien to Colt Brennan, the best real quarterback this year.

Also, Glenn Dorsey is winning all these defensive awards on reputation, he wasn't that good or that much of a force the second half of the season once the injuries started piling up.

Dulton said...

Quick note on Grobe:

Grobe is staying at Wake for the foreseeable future, as Wake AD Wellman announced this morning. I can tell you there was a hell storm here last night from both students and players (who had not heard anything from Grobe himself) after reading the Fayetteville, AK newspaper article stating that Grobe was going to be a Press conference in AK today to be introduced as coach.

But that's how it became obvious LAST NIGHT that he wasn't going anywhere. Grobe lives for his players and there is no way on Earth he was going to let his players find out he was gone through a freakin' press conference at the new school.

Mills said...

Not to pull an "I told you so" but the WWL says that the Sean Taylor murder suspects are indeed tied to the initial break-in/knife-on-bed occurrence.

though it does not seem that the murder was premeditated from the report -- rather just another break-in.

the sports pundit said...

i usually only watch the heisman ceremony for gambling purposes. (four people, 10 bucks a piece, draw names from a hat, winner take all). yet this year i cannot WAIT to get a glimpse of Tebow's voluptuous girl at the ceremony. Go Tim!

xcdannon said...

i usually just keep my mouth shut instead of criticizing you for your opinion (which, if i didnt respect, i would never read this blog)

but your picks for the CFB awards is BLATANT SEC favoritism.

the only time when someone from the SEC was up for an award and you didnt pick them was Long over Dorsey.

honestly, if you're going to pick these awards, at least take a look at the players besides the ones you've seen florida play against.

there's good football players in the west and midwest, too.

RandomRanting said...

What makes you think the BCS cares about poll credibility? Anyone with half a brain knows the polls are all a joke because its impossible to make a full informed decision by the poll deadlines. And that the coaches will game and the Harris poll voters will give teams like LSU a boost because "They've been more stable for the last 100 years."

Davis said...

Did you even read the Brett Favre article? Favre does absolutely zero self-promotion.
I couldn't think of a worse group of men to get the Sportsmen of the Year than "Dem Gator Boyz". Noah was all about getting as much attention as possible. Because he wasn't as talented as the other 4, his role his junior year was reduced to lightning rod for attention.