This week's Dean's List comes at you live from Vegas, where we took all our Lehman stock and put it on Vanderbilt football to win a national championship. It seemed as safe an investment strategy as any.
• Some things don't last long, so we've got to appreciate them while they last. So let's take a moment to celebrate Vanderbilt's first top 25 ranking in 24 years. The Commodores climbed into the rankings and boosted their record to 4-0 with a 24-17 win over Mississippi on Saturday. A perennial SEC cellar dweller, Vanderbilt hasn't had a winning season since 1982 and hasn't won a conference championship since the SEC was founded in 1932. But with convincing wins over Miami of Ohio, South Carolina, Rice and Ole Miss, the Commodores are off to a fast start this season. Unfortunately for the only private school in the SEC, the schedule gets just a little bit tougher from here on out. In its next five games, Vanderbilt plays Auburn, Georgia and Florida. That's going to be a real tough stretch for a school with a .345 winning percentage in SEC football games.
• Due to the physical nature of the game, football constantly reminds us that we're perpetually teetering on the verge of dramatic change. With one awkward tackle, a player can go from being a superstar to a hospital patient. Ball State wide receiver Dante Love entered Saturday's game against Indiana as the nation's leading receiver, averaging 144.3 yards per game. He left the game immobilized on a backboard with his distraught parents trailing close behind and his teammates huddled in prayer on the field. It all happened in a brief moment during the second quarter of the Cardinals' 42-20 victory. Love caught a short pass and hit helmet to helmet with Hoosier cornerback Chris Adkins. It didn't look like that hard of a hit, but Love suffered a cervical spinal fracture and spinal cord injury, which required five hours of surgery to stabilize. Fortunately, the procedure was a success and the senior wide receiver from Cincinnati is now able to move both his arms and legs. Here's to Love. Love is strong. Love will overcome.
• Last college basketball season, I had the chance to hang out with UNC Asheville basketball player Kenny George. The 7-foot-7 center is the tallest college basketball player in the nation and I spent a few hours tagging around with him, trying to figure out what it's like being that tall. As it turns out, it's not a whole lot of fun. People stare and ask annoying questions, and while you can dunk without jumping, it's no fun because dunking without jumping is like eating without tasting. Regardless, George played well for the Bulldogs last year, leading the nation in field goal percentage and landing the Big South's defensive player of the year award. This upcoming season was going to be the big man's chance to prove himself NBA-ready, but injuries have caught up with George once again. (He was forced to sit out both his freshman and sophomore seasons because of injuries.) George recently had two surgeries performed on his right foot and is not expected to return to school this semester. Now, foot surgery isn't normally that big a deal, but when the foot being operated on fits into a size 28 shoe, complications can arise.
• The Connecticut field hockey team doesn't do things the easy way, but so far this season, the Huskies are getting the job done. On Sunday, UConn beat No. 16 Michigan 4-3 in overtime to push its winning streak to eight. It was the third-straight overtime victory for the Huskies, who needed extra time to beat both Princeton and Providence earlier in the week. UConn is now a perfect 8-0 on the season and ranked fourth in the nation. The Dean's List wonders if there is a record out there for most consecutive overtime victories in a collegiate sporting event. If no one knows and UConn wins its next game in overtime, we're just going to go ahead and proclaim four consecutive overtime victories a new world record.
• What's wrong with booing? It seems like a pretty healthy way for a fan to express his or her displeasure. It sure beats the alternatives, like cursing, or throwing items onto the field, or holding up signs asking your coach to sleep with himself. So why would the dean of students at Auburn University send out a mass email to students asking them not to boo the football team during its weekend showdown against LSU? The statement read, "First, please join me by agreeing to demonstrate your support for, and not criticism of, our football team. That means no booing! Remember, the team isn't trying to lose the game." That's ridiculous. Who cares if the team is trying to lose? As a fan, you should be able to let your team know that its play is unacceptable. Here's a better idea than begging kids not to boo. Tell your team to start playing better. Maybe if it can score more than three points against Mississippi State or pull off a victory against LSU, the fans will actually choose to cheer.
• Entering the season, Mike Teel was the man in Piscataway. He'd led Rutgers to unprecedented success on the gridiron during his sophomore and junior seasons, and big things were expected now that he was a senior. But, a mere four weeks into his final season, Teel's reputation has taken a hit. Rutgers is off to an 0-3 start this season and the veteran quarterback's performance has played a large role in his team's poor record. In the three games so far, Teel has thrown a single touchdown pass and given up six interceptions, the last of which effectively sealed a Scarlet Knights' loss to Navy. Now it seems the pressure has finally gotten to the young slinger out of Don Bosco Prep. At the end of the 23-21 loss to the Midshipman, Teel took offense to the encouraging words of teammate Glen Lee and smacked him in the helmet. That's no good. In an attempt to save the season, Coach Greg Schiano announced Teel won't be suspended for the incident, but it hardly matters anyway. Unless Teel can step up his level of play, he's going to be sitting on the bench slapping himself in the head.
• When I was a kid, I had this funny-looking tennis coach who was really creepy. He drove a minivan that had tomato sauce stains (at least, I thought it was tomato sauce...) on the ceiling and Playboys under the floor mats. While that was kind of weird, it doesn't hold a candle to former Richmond men's tennis coach Steven Gerstenfeld, who was indicted by a grand jury last week for receiving child pornography. Before all the child porn kerfluffle, Gerstenfeld was a well-respected and successful coach. He took over a mediocre Richmond men's tennis team back in 1990 and led the Spiders to seven league championships. He also guided Richmond to its first-ever NCAA appearance and was named the A-10 Coach of the Year three times. But all his professional accomplishments suddenly became a side note when Gerstenfeld decided to use his university computer to access multiple child pornography websites. Now, instead of spending his time on a tennis court, Gerstenfeld will be defending himself in a federal court.
• DeAngelo Wilkinson is a crotch grabber. He used to be a highly-regarded cornerback for Colorado State that had a shot at playing in the NFL, but back in August he grabbed a girl's crotch at a Fort Collins bar and got himself arrested, and now he's just a crotch grabber. Wilkinson was charged last Wednesday with two counts of third-degree assault for his role in the incident in which he was dancing with a girl at a bar and just happened to grab her crotch. Understanably, she didn't like that and started yelling at him. So Wilkinson punched her in the face, making him an abusive crotch grabber. When a stranger tried to intervene, Wilkinson punched him in the face too. Finally, the cops arrived and arrested Wilkinson. The weirdest aspect of the whole incident, other than the crotch grabbing, is that a former CSU assistant coach witnessed the incident, but failed to prevent his all-star cornerback from ruining his career.
Stupid? Genius? Send all Dean's List comments to Jacob.Osterhout@gmail.com.