Welcome to this week's manifestation of The Dean's List, where we're recommending Jessica Simpson's masterpiece, Major Movie Star, as a holiday present for the whole family. Sure, the film went straight to DVD in the United States, but it topped the box office in Russia, which is a sure sign of greatness.
• Pat White has had a disappointing year so far, at least by Pat White standards. Entering the season, White was projected as a Heisman frontrunner, but while he has played decently, he's struggled to live up to the billing of "best player in college football" and hasn't even matched last season's impressive numbers. That was not the case on Saturday against Louisville, though. White ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers to a 35-21 victory. White has now rushed for 4,292 yards for his career, a new NCAA record. In the win over Louisville, he also set the Big East record for career touchdowns with 98. Not bad for a quarterback who, at one point this season, struggled to assert himself in losses to East Carolina and Colorado.
• According to Google, the definition of "messiah" is "any expected deliverer." That's appropriate for Messiah College, which delivered its second straight double-overtime victory on Sunday to advance to the D-III NCAA men's soccer Final Four. The Falcons not only beat Christopher Newport 2-1, they did it in dramatic fashion. Trailing 1-0 and playing two men down, Messiah scored with exactly one minute remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime. Then, in the second overtime, Ben Pezon scored in the 103rd minutes to win the game for the Falcons. The victory over Christopher Newport came one day after Messiah beat previously unbeaten Montclair State in double overtime. Here's the big question: If God is on your team and you still play with 11 players, don't you have too many players on the field?
• The big winner in Lubbock, TX, on Thursday night was Offense. I capitalize for effect. Texas Tech hoops beat the East Central Tigers 167-115 in the Legends Classic, scoring 90 points in the second half alone. And it wasn't just a few players putting up big numbers. Texas Tech had ten players score in double figures, while six East Central players notched double-digit point totals. The scoring was so balanced that no player on either team scored over 19 points. Of course, opposing teams putting up gaudy numbers has become a disconcerting pattern for East Central. Two days after the Texas Tech game, the Tigers allowed Texas-San Antonio to set six school records in a 136-68 route. Safe to say, even East Central's defense is offensive.
• Field Hockey seems to be all about repetition. On Sunday, Maryland rallied from two goals down to beat Wake Forest 4-2 and win its third NCAA field hockey national championship in four years. That very same afternoon, Bowdoin topped Tufts 3-2 in double overtime and claimed its second-consecutive NCAA Division III field hockey national championship. Parity seems to be currently lacking in college field hockey, creative mascots are not. The Maryland Terrapins and Bowdoin Polar Bears are easily the best mascot-combo to have won NCAA national championships in the same sport since the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and Salisbury Seagulls did it back in 2004.
• Buffalo doesn't win easily. The Bulls scored 20 points in the fourth quarter on Saturday to send their game against Bowling Green into the first of two overtimes. And, as has been the case all season long, Buffalo prevailed in the end, winning 40-34 and capturing its first MAC East championship and a guaranteed bowl bid. The latest victory is one of many near escapes for Turner Gill's squad. The Bulls beat Temple back in September on a Hail Mary catch in the end zone as time expired. Then they beat Army in overtime and Akron in quadruple overtime. The win over Bowling Green was the fourth overtime game Buffalo has played this season and the third in a row the team has won. All these close calls seem to have turned Gill into something of a believer. "I just thank God, I thank God," Gill said after Buffalo's latest victory. "A favor was done here, no question about it."
• It can't be easy being Tim Tebow's back-up quarterback at Florida. You are the most overlooked man on campus. All you ever hear about is Tebow this and Heisman that. It can really wear on a young man. Well, if Cameron Newton was looking to grab some of the limelight, he finally achieved his goal. The sophomore quarterback, who has backed up Tebow for the better part of two seasons, was arrested on Friday for stealing another student's laptop. Police suspected Newton in the computer heist, which occurred back in mid-October, when someone logged into the school's network under the user name "cnewton." On Friday, as police entered his dorm room to investigate, Newton panicked and threw the $1,700 computer, which he had painted black and labeled with his name, out the window. But police didn't fall for the ol' pitch and run. Newton has been suspended from the football team and is being charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstructing justice.
• Say it ain't so, Joe! Penn State head coach Joe Paterno told a crowd of students at a pep rally on Friday night that he would be back next year. "When I've walked out of that stadium, when I can run out on that field, which I will do next year -- run out on that field!" said JoePa before his team went out and routed Michigan State 49-18 to clinch a bid to the Rose Bowl. It's hard to look past this season's success, but remember this -- the end of Paterno's career at Penn State is going to be a disaster for the Nittany Lion football program. How can you expect a man to walk away from what he loves doing and what he's been doing for 43 years? Paterno's contract expires after this season, but he doesn't care. He'll coach for free. He'll coach with one hip. He'll coach until he's six feet under, or the program is.
• No one tells Jimmy Connors what to do. Not you, not me and definitely not the police. The former No. 1 player in the world was arrested outside the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara before the USCB-North Carolina game for refusing to comply with a police order to keep moving. Instead of watching the game, which the Tar Heels won 84-67, Connors spent a few hours at Santa Barbara County jail, where he was booked and released. Since Connors dropped out of UCLA after winning the 1971 singles title, this is one of the few chances we'll have to rehash our favorite Connors memory. At the 1991 U.S. Open, in a match against Aaron Krickstein, the original bad boy of American tennis got so mad at an umpire he yelled, "I'm out here playing my butt off at 39 years old ... and you're a bum." He later went on to call the umpire "an abortion." Good to see Connors hasn't lost his temper after all these years. (Check the video clip of Connors berating the umpire.)
• All dorm rooms might look the same, but they're not. You have your room and other students have their rooms and you can't just go get drunk and wander into someone else's room. Former Miami of Ohio football player Zachary Marshall learned this the hard way. Back in May, Marshall came home from a night out drinking and accidentally entered student Melissa Samure's room. The former state wrestling champion lay down on top of Samure, which couldn't have been comfortable, and placed a pillow over her head before the young lady chased him out of her room. While Marshall didn't steal anything, this week he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 60 days in jail, followed by 120 days of house arrest. That's tough justice for a guy who claims he was sleep deprived, drunk and confused about the layout of a dorm he only lived in for two days.
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