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12/15/2006 12:11:00 PM

Reasons to Watch Women’s College Hoops

Oakland Arena
Colorado's Hannah Skildum is one reason why we're watching women's college basketball this year. What are yours?
Photo by the University of Colorado
While watching ESPN's Sportscenter Year in Review last night, I came upon one of our favorite moments from 2006: Tennessee’s Candace Parker dunking not once, but twice, in a game against Army last March. While the women's game has lagged behind the men's in popularity, Parker's dunk proved that female hoops players have come a long way in terms of athleticism and excitement. We're not going to try and convince you that women are more fun to watch than men – that's a decision for you to make – but we do think that women's college basketball is worth watching. Or at least worth giving another shot.

Here are some reasons we’re going to watch this year:

- Candace Parker: Her dunks are just the start. She can play every position on the floor, she’s physical in the paint, and she even has a brother, Anthony, who plays on the Raptors.

- The Auriemma-Summitt Rivalry: The UConn and Tennessee coaches run two of the nation's top programs and aren't afraid to tweak each other. In 2003, Auriemma referred to Tennessee as "the Evil Empire," saying "I would walk" if Summitt stopped to help him after his car had broken down on the side of the road (which she said she would do). The two claim to have put that all behind them, but we have a feeling they won't be exchanging Christmas cards.

- Courtney Paris: SIOC’s UAward-winner last year may be the most dominant big “person” in college basketball. As a freshman, Paris became the only player (male or female) in NCAA history to have 700 points, 500 rebounds, and 100 blocks in a season.

- We were reluctant to mention the babes, but since there are a considerable number of women who check out the men’s game just to see guys in shorts and tanktops, here are some women who all men should have on their radar screen: Brenna McGuire (Virginia), Hannah Skildum (Colorado) and Allyssa DeHaan (Michigan State).

Those are our reasons to watch women's college basketball. What are yours?
12/13/2006 11:26:00 AM

One School Dominating Two Sports

Oakland Arena
Florida's basketball team did its part. Can the football squad beat Ohio State and complete the rare "Double?"
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
In less than 30 days, Florida has a chance to do what few schools have ever done – win a national championship in both football and men's basketball in the same year (OK, maybe not the same calendar year, but close enough). But if Ohio State beats Florida in Glendale and OSU hoops team continues to roll, the Buckeyes could win the double. In fact, next month's football national championship game could be replayed in April, only the teams would be wearing shorts and tanktops instead of shoulder pads and cleats (the two hoops powers will meet in Gainesville on Dec. 23. Merry Christmas!).

Today we want to know if another school has, in one year, dominated both football and basketball like the Buckeyes and Gators. What are your best examples of the double? Feel free to go outside of football and basketball.

12/11/2006 11:50:00 AM

Who will win the 2007 Heisman Trophy?

Oakland Arena
Michigan's Mike Hart finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy race this season.
AP
On Saturday, Ohio State QB Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy by the second-biggest margin ever, to the surprise of nobody.

But enough about this year. Let's focus on next season. Who will win college football's most-coveted award in '07?

Darren McFadden came on strong to beat out Notre Dame's Brady Quinn for second place this year. Arkansas' dynamic sophomore running back will surely enter next season as a top Heisman contender. McFadden's unparalleled versatility -- 1,558 yards and 14 TDs rushing, 149 yards and a score receiving, 72 yards and three TDs passing, 226 yards and a touchdown returning kicks -- makes him a dream Heisman candidate.

McFadden will face stiff competition in his attempt to return to New York next season, as Smith and Quinn were the only seniors who finished in the top 10. Looking at McFadden's competition at running back, West Virginia's Steve Slaton (who finished fourth), Michigan's Mike Hart (fifth), Rutgers Ray Rice (seventh) and Boise State's Ian Johnson (eighth) all return next season. And Hawaii QB Colt Brennan -- who threw for 4,990 yards and 53 TDs and finished sixth in this year's voting -- should return to run June Jones' potent run-and-shoot offense for one more season. At receiver, juniors Calvin Johnson and Dwayne Jarrett are expected to go pro, but explosive playmakers Mario Manningham (Michigan) and DeSean Jackson (Cal) will be back.

Among the top candidates we like McFadden and Hart to start. Who are your front runners?
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