The Dean's List
Honoring the week's best (and worst) in college sports
Posted: Monday December 10, 2007 11:48AM; Updated: Monday December 10, 2007 11:48AM
Welcome to this week's Dean's List where we're not sure what's worse, Jessica Simpson dating a Dallas Cowboys quarterback or Britney Spears shoplifting a blue lighter.
Let's be honest, during this time of year -- when D-I football is on vacation and college basketball is just trivial -- we turn our attention to D-II football. This week's Team of the Week goes to Northwest Missouri State for knocking off two-time defending national champ Grand Valley State 34-16 in the D-II semifinals. Grand Valley State had won 40 games in a row coming into the contest, including victories over Northwest Missouri State in the last two national championships, but the Lakers couldn't seem to stop the Bearcats late in the game, allowing 17 points in the fourth quarter alone. Northwest Missouri State running back Xavier Omon reached 7,000 career rushing yards in the game as he ran for 292 yards and scored four touchdowns. The Bearcats will meet Valdosta State next weekend in the national championship game.
Is there anything better than beating your older brother in basketball? Yeah, beating your older bro in basketball on national TV. The Dean's List Player of the Week is Indiana's Jordan Crawford, who scored 20 points in a 70-51 blowout of Kentucky, where his older brother, Joe, plays. You know the story. Joe was highly recruited out of high school. Jordan was overlooked. Joe goes to Kentucky. Jordan goes to Indiana. But when the two brothers finally face off, it's baby bro who doubles his older brother's point total and leads his Hoosiers to a route of the Wildcats. For all the little brothers out there who have long been picked on, we thank you, Jordan, for finally getting the upper hand.
Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun isn't one to bite his tongue. Coming in to last week's contest against Northeastern, Calhoun had been ejected from four games in his tenure as UConn's head coach, although the last time he'd gotten the boot was way back in 2002. Now Calhoun can add another notch to his tally of ejections. In the Huskies 69-60 victory, Calhoun was tossed from the game with almost six and a half minutes left in the second half. What did he do? Well, he got the first tech for laughing and the second for leaving the coaching box and using profanity to encourage his players. And guess what, Calhoun isn't happy about it. "I guess we're going to now (call a foul) for what we're thinking," Calhoun said after the game. "I could have been laughing, I could have had gas." The Huskies coach raises a good question: can a coach get ejected for flatulence?
Come on, sing it with me now. You know the words ... Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay, and when my dreidel's ready, my dreidel I will play. It's Hannukah time and that can only mean one thing, dreidel competitions and while the Festival of Lights is still not over, so far it looks like Maryland is the big winner. Last week, 602 Maryland students took part in a dreidel "spin-off", reclaiming the world record for most people spinning dreidels simultaneously, which they previously held from 2000-2005. Students at Indiana and Michigan were less fortunate. Neither the Hoosiers nor the Wolverines could round up the necessary amount of dreidel spinners to break Maryland's record. But don't worry, we've still got two more nights left.
While watching Pitt squeak out a 75-74 victory over Washington on Saturday, the Dean's List couldn't help but overhear the commentators talking about Panthers assistant coach Orlando Antigua. Back in 1987, a 16-year-old Antigua was shot in the head in a random shooting in New York. Antigua not only survived, but returned to the basketball court a mere two weeks later. He went on to be a two-year captain at Pitt where he scored 930 points and grabbed 409 rebounds. So how does a person survive being shot in the head? We've got no idea, but we do know what happened to the slug. One summer, while playing ball in Puerto Rico, Antigua thought he'd developed an ear infection. Turns out, the bullet was lodged in his ear canal.
You would think that in the dead of winter residents of Boise, Idaho, would jump at the chance to go see their beloved college football team play in sunny Hawaii. But that's not the case. Boise State, which will play East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 23, has sold fewer than 200 tickets to the game as of last Thursday. This is the same university that sent over 20,000 fans to see the Broncos beat Oklahoma 43-42 in last year's Fiesta Bowl. There are a couple of reasons no one wants to go to Hawaii. It's two days before Christmas, flights are expensive and many of the diehard Boise State fans just returned from Hawaii where they saw their Broncos lose to the Warriors 39-27. But it didn't have to be this way. Boise State players voted to play in the Hawaii Bowl instead of facing Georgia Tech at home in the Humanitarian Bowl. In hindsight, putting that decision up for a vote in the locker room was probably not the smartest idea.
Honestly, who throws a sandwich? Florida defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, that's who. Cunningham, who started every game this season and shares the team lead in sacks, and former Gator linebacker Jon Demps were arrested by Gainesville police last week and charged with misdemeanor battery for throwing a sandwich and cups at a Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shop worker. Well, the Gator faithful say, they must've had good reason to sling the hoagie. Sure they did. Cunningham and Demps were upset after being told that they did, in fact, have to pay for a bag of chips. How ridiculous! Football players don't have to pay for potato chips. Everyone knows that.
It's not easy being an Arkansas State basketball fan. First off, you've got to try and not laugh every time someone mentions your coach, Dickey Nutt. Secondly, your leading scorer, Adrian Banks, who has averaged almost 22 points a game this season, was suspended from the team last week after he was arrested for firing a gun within the Jonesboro city limits. And what makes it even worse is that, according to Banks, it wasn't even his gun. "I found the gun on the ground and didn't want anyone to get shot," Banks said, according to the police report. "So I shot the gun until it was empty." Banks admits that he made a mistake, and insists that he was not shooting at anyone, but come on, hasn't the middle east taught us anything? Shooting a gun off in the air is not a safe way to unload it ... even in Arkansas.
The Dean's List supports the decision to name Tim Tebow the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner. The sophomore phenom deserved the honor. What we don't agree with is who was (or should I say wasn't) invited to be one of the four candidates at The Downtown Athletic Club for the Heisman award ceremony. Where was Central Florida running back Kevin Smith? How was he not considered one of the four most outstanding players in the country? He rushed for 2,448 yards and scored 29 rushing touchdowns this season. Only Barry Sanders has put up more impressive numbers in a single season. OK, so Smith plays in a weak Conference USA. Colt Brennan plays in a weak WAC and I didn't see him rush for 149 yards and two touchdowns against Texas. Writer Levin Black said it best in The Ball State Daily News: "Smith has had the second-best season in NCAA history for a running back. In any year that should be good enough for at least an invite to New York." Amen.
The holiday season is all about sharing. Sharing the love. Sharing the eggnog. And, of course, sharing the rock. Grinnell guard David Arseneault exemplifies this holiday spirit of giving. In Grinnell's 151-112 victory over North Central University of Minnesota on Saturday, Arseneault recorded 34 assists, setting a new D-III record for most assists in a game. The old record of 26 was set in 1989 by Kean University's Robert James. Arseneault shattered that mark with seven and a half minutes left to play. And what's even crazier is that he could've chalked up even more assists if his teammates could've just shot the ball better. The pioneers were shot only 26 percent from behind the arc.
It's been a turbulent few years for Saginaw Valley State University football coach Randy Awrey, even after he's posted winning seasons for the eight years. First there was Pizza-Gate and now a housing scandal, which has cost Awrey his job. It all started back in 2005 when coach Awrey used cash from a SVSU football camp to buy pizzas for campers. Well, the university didn't like that they weren't consulted and slapped Awrey with a nice fine. And now, SVSU has announced that it will not renew Awrey's contract for next season after an internal investigation found that the coach had the nerve to pay for both his sons' rents, which were below market value. According to school officials this constituted level one secondary violations and they will not only can their coach, but reduce the number of football scholarships and forfeit all GLIAC football victories in which Awrey's sons participated. That'll sure teach Awrey not to pay for his sons' housing.