Welcome to this week's serving of the Dean's List, where the Olympics are out, Joe Biden is in and Avril Lavigne is too sexy for Malaysia.
• They did it. They really did it. In a feat that's never been pulled off in the history of mankind, not even in China, Utah State won the State Truck Pull Championships for the third year in a row. In the 12-member division, a dozen Aggie offensive linemen pulled a 40,000 lb. truck 20 feet in 6.78 seconds, which was slower than the winning times for the last two years but still fast enough to bring home the gold. Utah State competed against local community groups, companies and law enforcement with all proceeds benefiting the Special Olympics. That's pretty awesome. No word yet on whether Logan, Utah, will wait until after the season to throw a ticker-tape parade and if Chris Cooley will be in attendance.
• Give former Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk credit. He's no quitter. If he doesn't play quarterback for the Bearcats this season, it won't be for lack of trying on his part. After filing a lawsuit and three earlier appeals, all of which were rejected, Mauk is appealing again to the NCAA for a medical hardship exception that would grant him an extra year of eligibility. Initially, the 2002 Ohio Mr. Football went to Wake Forest, where he was the quarterback for two seasons before having his humerus snapped, his labium torn and his shoulder dislocated in the first game of his junior season - an act his former coach called "the most courageous thing I have seen out of a quarterback, ever." With a titanium plate in his arm and three anchors (whatever those are) in his shoulder, Mauk then transferred to Cincinnati where he amazingly threw for 3,131 yards and 31 touchdowns. Now he's on a mission to make up for the season he lost to injury and play one more year of college football. The NCAA hasn't budged yet but it's quickly learning a valuable lesson: Never tell a guy who's had his arm ripped out of its socket and snapped like a baguette to give up and go home.
• In football, the whole point of the preseason is for a team to lose its best players to injury. (Go ahead, give me a better reason for the preseason...) So far this year Notre Dame lost its tight end, Purdue lost its running back, and Florida and Georgia practically lost half their teams to torn ACLs and broken bones. And that's just to name a few. While this is undoubtedly sad news, it also means that there are a few overlooked player out there who just got the opportunity of a lifetime to step into the limelight. Case in point, redshirt junior Kevin Craft, who due to the injury of both of the Bruins' quarterbacks, will take the snaps when UCLA plays its home opener against No. 18 Tennessee. It's been a long road to Los Angeles for Craft. He played for San Diego State back in 2006 before transferring to Mt. San Antonio Junior College, where he led the Mounties to the Southern California Junior College championship. From juco to the Pac-10 in a year -- now that's a big leap. Let's hope he stays healthy.
• If there's one thing the Dean's List understands, it's how hard it is to say you're sorry. That's why senior guard Andy Robinson made the Honor Roll this week even though he was suspended for the first three games of the season by the University of Buffalo. The Bull's leading scorer last season has apologized for placing an ad on Facebook offering $40 to anyone "who have read the book 'there are no children here' by Alex Kotlowitz" and "write a 3-4 page paper, on a couple questions which was assigned." Robinson immediately admitted the ad was his, wrote the paper on his own and took responsibility for his errors, all of which makes for a solid apology. But did it go far enough? The grammarians, for one, are still out for blood. Their question, and it's a legitimate one, is can we, in good conscience, forgive a man who fails to confess to mangling the subject-verb agreement?
• The discrepancy in punishments for football players at different institutions of higher learning is mind boggling. It's like someone is using one of those Magic 8-Balls to make these decisions. Oklahoma dismissed wide receiver Josh Jarboe from the football team after an a video of the freshman rapping was posted on YouTube. Meanwhile, Clemson has allowed safety DeAndre McDaniel to remain on the team even after he smothered his girlfriend with a comforter, punched her a few times and pushed her down the stairs. OK, it's not that simple. Jarboe also was expelled from his high school for bringing a gun on school property. But still, he didn't use the gun and Oklahoma decided to allow the Georgia native to matriculate regardless of past transgressions. Now, Jarboe's probably wishing that the Sooners hadn't given him a second chance. He's currently ineligible to play for Troy University because Oklahoma claims that Jarboe is a transfer student and must sit out a year. Beat your baby up and you're still on the team. Rap about it and you're gone. Like a monkey in a tuxedo, that's just ridiculous.
• When you're learning to drive, backing up is the toughest part. I don't know exactly what percentage of first-time accidents happen while in reverse but it's got to be astronomical. Here's an idea: Someone should sell reverse-less cars to college kids, especially football players. Then Zach Luckett wouldn't be in so much trouble and Virginia Tech might complete a pass this season. The Hokies wide receiver (who's not a freshman) was backing his Mercury Mountaineer out of a 7-Eleven parking lot Sunday morning when he hit a dumpster. Knowing that his license had already been yanked, he tried to drive off, but the cops were waiting and arrested the sophomore for a DUI and driving with a revoked license, which doesn't have a fancy abbreviation. As a result, Luckett has been indefinitely suspended from the football team. I'm telling you, reverse-less cars, they'd be revolutionary.
• Among the things that one will never need in life is a BB gun. Sure, they sell them at Wal-Mart, but that doesn't mean you should buy one. It's not going to protect you if you're in danger. It's not going to get you more respect on the streets. And you can't hunt dinner with it. All a BB gun can do is get you in trouble, as Markieff Morris can attest. According to Lawrence police, the incoming Kansas basketball player was having a few drinks in Jayhawker Towers when he decided to fire off a round or two of plastic BBs into the dorm's courtyard. A woman standing below was hit in the arm. While she didn't require medical attention, Morris was still charged with battery, leaving us to wonder: Should we be sad that a promising young star might've just forfeited his chance at glory or should we be happy that the gun wasn't real?
• It's always a disaster when a coach who is beloved by his school gets caught-up in a scandal. Things get emotional, people lie and, in the end, you just don't know whom to trust. It happened to Clem Haskins at Minnesota and Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV and now it's Bob Pruett's turn. In sworn affidavits, two former players and a strength coach have implicated Marshall's all-time winningest football coach (and current Virginia defensive coordinator) for making players lie about a jobs program and using illicit means to improve grades. (We're talking about tricks such as a study guide that turns out to be the actual exam.) Pruett denies the charges and now one of the players is recanting his previous statements. Linebacker Charlie Tynes admitted that he didn't really understand "everything that I did sign off on" and that Pruett didn't make him lie about his campus job. Well, which is it, big boy? You'd think with the Thundering Herd we'd get a unified front.
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