Welcome to The Dean's List's special pre-election day rendering, where we're voting Michael Crabtree for president. He's a long shot, but he's good under pressure and a proven winner.
• It's official, Michael Crabtree is the best wide receiver in college football. Crabtree made the most important play of the season on Saturday night, snagging a pass from quarterback Graham Harrell and scampering into the end zone with one second left to help Texas Tech beat then No. 1 Texas 39-33. Part of what makes Crabtree so impressive is that he didn't enter college as just just a wide receiver, or even just a football player. When he graduated from David W. Carter High School in Dallas, he was a top-50 basketball recruit and a star quarterback on the varsity football team. He could've played either sport at any number of positions, but after setting NCAA freshman records for receptions (134), receiving yards (1,962) and touchdown receptions (22), Crabtree got to do what most men only dream of -- tell coach Bob Knight to take a hike.
• If you're really fast, you can outrun your fat sister, you can outrun a motorized scooter and you can outrun your neighbor's 15-year-old golden retriever. But I don't care how fast you are, you can't outrun a bullet. In 2007, USC sprinter Bryshon Nellum had the nation's fastest high school times in the 200- and 400-meter races. The kid was so fast he set multiple state records and was considered an Olympic hopeful. But on Friday night, as he was leaving a restaurant in Los Angeles, Nellum was shot three times in a drive-by shooting. The Gatorade national boys' track and field athlete of the year was hit once in each thigh and once in his hamstring. Nellum could be running again in three months, but doctors don't know if he'll regain his world-class speed. Ironically, in an interview earlier this year, Nellum joked, "I'm thinking about getting my legs insured." Should've taken out that policy. Get well soon, you fleet-footed phenom.
• North Texas football coach Todd Dodge was on the hot seat in Denton. Before Saturday's game against Western Kentucky, Dodge's team had lost nine in a row dating back to last season, tied with lowly Washington for the longest losing streak in college football. But Dodge didn't believe that his team was as bad as its record indicated, so he did what any former high school coach would do; he drug-tested all 86 of his players. Fifteen of them tested positive for recreational drugs. Instead of kicking the recreational drug offenders off the team, Dodge chose instead to send them to drug counseling and put them on a year's probation, but allow them to continue competing on the football field. And the tactic paid off. On Saturday, the Mean Green beat Western Kentucky 51-40 for their first win of the season and third in Dodge's two years as coach.
• Much like Moses parted the seas, Jeremy Moses parts defenses. (God, I love Biblical references.) The Stephen F. Austin quarterback set two single-game NCAA records in a 34-31 double-overtime loss to Sam Houston State on Saturday. Moses was 57-85 for 501 yards. The sophomore broke the previous single-game passing attempts record of 83 set by Purdue's Drew Brees and the former completions record of 56 set by Jarrod DeGeorgia at Wayne State. And he did it while facing off against Sam Houston State quarterback Rhett Bomar, an Oklahoma transfer who is the the Southland Conference's best-known player. Of course, Moses couldn't complete a pass when it mattered most. On fourth-and-20 in the second overtime of Saturday's game, Moses' final pass attempt fell to the turf, and even his gaudy stat line couldn't keep Sam Houston State from kicking a 28-yard field goal to win the game.
• Expectations create pressure and pressure, in turn, causes stress and stress can ruin your health. (Trust me, I've got horrible acid reflux.) Last week, North Carolina became the first men's basketball team ever to be a unanimous No. 1 pick in the preseason polls. All six top scorers, including national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough, return to a Tar Heels team that won a school-record 36 games last season. But it seems these expectations are already wearing down Roy Williams' squad. UNC's best defender, Marcus Ginyard, went down with a stress fracture in his left foot in early October and now Hansbrough is out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his right shin. Stress fractures, stress reactions, all these stress-induced injuries -- I can't stress enough how hard it has got to be to play loose, fun basketball when everyone expects perfection.
• Serious personal issues forced Illinois gymnastics coach Jon Valdez to resign two weeks ago. The big question remains, though, what does the phrase "serious personal issues" encompass? Valdez was picked up for a drunk-driving charge in Wisconsin back in September, but that might be the least of his "issues." The personal coach for bronze medalist Justin Spring is also being mentioned in connection with an investigation into a small wireless video camera found in a varsity Illinois locker room that, according to University police Lt. Roy Acree, "would be able to capture images of people changing their clothes." Valdez was supposed to replace llinois head gymnastics coach Yoshi Hayasaki when he retired following the 2008-09 season. Safe to say, he'll be looking for a new successor.
• Recently, it seems as if there have been multiple incidents involving college athletes and racism. At the University of California, Berkley, a current and former football player were arrested for robbing the dorm room of a crew team member who they believed had made racial slurs at an off-campus party. (They got the wrong guy.) Then, last week, three Quinnipiac University students were arrested and kicked out of school for racially harassing and threatening to physically harm three African American members of the men's and women's basketball teams. Obviously, two separate incidents 2,500 miles apart doesn't necessarily indicate a trend, but they do make you wonder how much of an issue racism still is in today's world of college sports, especially when you consider that the racial makeup of a school's sports teams is often drastically different than the racial composition of the school itself.
• After an eleven-and-a-half month investigation, University of Virginia police charged Cavalier fullback RaShawn Jackson with one count of breaking and entering and one count of grand larceny in connection with a burglary committed way back in November of 2007. Both charges are felonies. Jackson, a New Jersey native who has gained 119 yards on 15 touches this season, stands accused of stealing a video console from a dormitory. However, coach Al Groh has not seen fit to suspend his junior fullback from the team, which makes sense considering eleven months is way too long to wait before charging someone with stealing a play station.
Absentee ballots? Hanging chads? Presidential complaints? Send all comments to Jacob.Osterhout@gmail.com.