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:
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.
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
CFB Coaching Carousel: Jimbo Fisher to succeed Bobby Bowden at
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
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.
Freshman Watch: I swear I'm not intentionally trying to go Gator-heavy today. But ad d
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