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November 18, 2010 7:30 AM

Column Awards of the Week (11/10-11/16)

By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particularly passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly (though some may become reoccurring).

Column Awards for slide.jpgI don't understand why people are asking if Auburn should sit Cam Newton. I don't know if Auburn knows more than we do (which is increasingly a lot) but it doesn't matter. Why would they now sit Newton? These allegations are nothing new. They've known about them since they surfaced last winter. Are people pretending that these Universities have consciences? This is the SEC we're talking about where all the football players are majoring in "physical education" and the counter for "Days without an arrest" is reset practically daily. Alright, so I'm being overly harsh on the conference but it does have a reputation of skirting the rules.

So why sit him now? What would Auburn gain? A little respect? With the alternative being a good chance at a national title? If it's found that he violated rules then they will have to forfeit wins and be penalized by the NCAA regardless of if the University sits him now. Maybe the NCAA would go easier on the Tigers if they sit him now but isn't it worth the risk?

The other part about these scandals where students take money/gifts I don't get is when people wonder why these athletes would do such dumb things. But the thing is, the majority get away with it. Why WOULDN'T they do something like this? On to the awards!

Not Quite Qualified to Write About Sports

Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated writes about how the West coast is dominating sports: At least I'm told the Lakers, Giants, Saints and Hawks are champions of their respective leagues. As a TV viewer on the East Coast, I haven't witnessed the end of a major championship -- to say nothing of a Monday Night Football game -- in decades. They all end past my bedtime. Fortunately, I can now nod off in my nightcap, dentures soaking on the nightstand, knowing that no team within 1,000 miles of my home will have won anything of any significance, with the perennial exception of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

I know it's somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but if true, should he really be writing about sports? It's like an Andy Rooney rant about technology. I think I'll take my sports opinion from people that, oh I don't know, watch sports.

Weekly Heat Hatred

This comes from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe: LeBron is averaging a healthy 20.6 and had a triple-double against Utah Tuesday. Incredibly, he snatched his first offensive rebound of the season in Game 8. I am not kidding. The King has two offensive rebounds this year. Next time he asks, "What should I do?'' let's all stand up and say, "Follow your shot one time!'' Moses Malone he is not.

It's actually kind of funny. But should we really be railing on LeBron? His numbers are pretty spectacular. It just seems like it has become too easy to bash him and with so many doing it, it just seems a little played out.

Story Being Largely Ignored

I usually highlight poor sports writing, but occasionally someone makes a great point that needs highlighting. Surprisingly, this one comes from Dan Shaughnessy: Brady looks ready. He's slicing and dicing. He's checking off. He's yelling at his offensive linemen. He's fooling TV announcers with his play fakes. He's not getting sacked. He's not throwing interceptions. He was significantly better than Ben Roethlisberger last night as the Patriots improved to an amazing 4-1 at the Big Ketchup Bottle.

Alright, so the writing is pretty cheesy and not all that informative but I've hardly heard any praise for Brady this season. Maybe we've just reached the point where it's accepted but this season he's largely worked without Randy Moss, with a still-recovering Wes Welker, two rookie tight ends, an old Deion Branch, and with a sub-par running game. And despite those issues, Brady has 17 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions and is completing about 65% of his passes. I know Michael Vick is a more interesting story but Brady should be getting some MVP buzz as well.

A Great Waste of Time

There's no shortage of problems in the world today that need fixing. But instead of focusing on the country's huge debt or some incurable disease, Ben Blatt of the Harvard Sports Analysis spent his time figuring out what words top columnists use the most. He looked at a year's worth of columns by Bill Simmons, Rick Reilly and Jason Whitlock. Bill Simmons used "Boston" the most and Whitlock had a fancy towards "Favre." How is it possible that "Jeff George" wasn't at the top of Whitlock's list? Nor were there any words about race on his list. This study has to have a racial bias.

Delusional Homer

Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle was a bit more shocked than he should've been by the hail mary that helped the Jaguars beat the Texans: The Texans could see where this one was headed. Quin would knock it down, and the Texans would win the game in overtime. And an afternoon when they weren't very good would end with a happy flight home. ... This is the point we'll find out about their heart and character and all those things players talk about.

Why exactly would the Texans win the game in overtime? It's not if that hail mary had failed that the Texans would've automatically won. The Texans are now 4-5 and are 2-5 in their last 7. I think 9 games is a pretty big sample size in determining the team's character and heart. Seems like Justice and Texans' fans should come to terms that they just aren't that good.

Irate and Irrational Fan
The Panthers are probably the worst team in the NFL and Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer brings us a fan who is unhappy with the state of affairs: "PSL should stand for 'permanent sucker license,'" Meachem said. "I am not a wealthy man, but I've poured a lot of money into this team. And the Panthers have just thrown this year away. I'm spending a lot of money, and I'm not being entertained."

First off, maybe you should re-examine your priorities. if you are not a wealthy man, maybe your money could be more wisely spent on things other than NFL tickets. Secondly, nice PSL dig! And finally, you're not being entertained? You realize by spending money on tickets you aren't guaranteed a win. Teams occasionally struggle. If you are a so-called die hard fan than you suck it up and hope for better times.

Poor Premise

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated wrote about Kevin Love's "unlikely" 30-point, 30-rebound performance: As the clock ticked toward midnight on Friday the Twitter accounts of NBA writers across the country gradually began to shift toward one topic. Kevin Love? Really? Of all the potential players to join the NBA's 30-point, 30-rebound club -- a club that hasn't seen a member since Moses Malone joined in 1982 --Love seemed like an unlikely candidate.

Is Love really that unlikely of a candidate? If I were to list the most likely candidates it would go something like 1. Pau Gasol, 2. Dwight Howard, 3. Andrew Bogut, 4. Kevin Love. So is it really that surprising? He even supports the claim that it wasn't all that unlikely: Last season he ranked as the NBA's best rebounder per 48 minutes (18.4), edging Howard (18.3) and Marcus Camby (18.1). His rebound percentage this season (23.2 percent going into Friday night) is the third highest in NBA history for players 22 or younger, better than Howard, Charles Oakley and Shaquille O'Neal.

I guess I get what he's saying - that those who don't really follow the NBA might be surprised to hear Love's name. But those that are even casual fans should know that Love is the best rebounder in the league and when given the chance can put up points.

Elevating Favre to God-Like Status

Ray Ratto of CBS Sports likens Favre to a God (but not in a good way): ... in case he defies years of Pavlovian training and actually decides that he's done enough good, bad and indifferent, he'll have gone out more spectacularly than any of us could have imagined.
Not as a champion; hell, he's done that. No, he goes out as Vishnu in the Bhagavad-Gita. As the destroyer of worlds. ... In the end, of course, he will end up where all ex-stars go when they keep their dignity in the face of having none -- the broadcast booth. He'll be one more charming rogue laughing out loud with his fellow studio mates at jokes that don't ever seem to be nearly as funny as they make them.

Now that's entertaining. Ratto toed the line of being funny and going overboard with the jokes. He actually took a very played out topic and made it a fun read. That takes some real skill.

Silver Lining for Skins' Fans

When the Redskins announced the McNabb extension, Redskins fans were irate and others were laughing at them. They were overspending on an aging veteran yet again. But now we know the amount of guaranteed money at first reported is much less and it doesn't look quite so bad. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post brings even more positivity to the signing: Ironically, the Redskins' scoring is up 17 percent this year. If this were a business turn-around story, Wall Street would be buying it. Why are they 4-4 after going 4-12 last season? Just a few more points win games.

The idea that a key flaw in the Redskins' offense is McNabb's grasp of terminology, his throwing motion or his conditioning is ludicrous. The team's offensive mess totally pre-dates him. It'll be a cold day in Redskins Park when the 10 men in the huddle with McNabb are so good that he's the one who's holding them back. 

Can we stop blaming McNabb for the Skins' ineptitude? They've been inept for years and they are slightly less-so with him.

Leaving Out Important Evidence

There has been great parity in the NFL this season and Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports blames that on weak coaches with the loan exception being Bill Belichick. Whitlock breaks down why other coaches don't measure up: Mike Tomlin is a good coach. But his Steelers laid an egg in a high-profile, important football game Sunday night. They weren't ready. They got smacked at home in the marquee game of the weekend.

He mentions the Steelers not being ready for a game but how about when the Patriots "laid an egg" against the Browns? He conveniently leaves that out of his article. Is it because that wasn't a "high-profile" game that it doesn't count? I agree with his general argument that it's harder now than ever to have and keep control as an NFL coach but I'm not about to make the leap that this is what has caused parity.

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