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The Monday Awards


God, I wish there was some way to not give you exactly what you're expecting. I really do. I'd love to be different, and maybe recognize Illinois or LSU, but unfortunately, there's no way to give this award to any team other than Stanford, which beat USC 24-23. The Cardinal, playing with a sophomore quarterback who'd never started a college football game, snapped the Trojans' 35-game home winning streak. I think there might be two people in the country who saw this upset coming and one was my grandmother who "likes the trees on those nice young men's helmets." Stanford came into the game having been outscored in Pac-10 play 141-51 and a 41-point underdog.

I was going to give this award to Mike Hart for racking up 215 yards on the ground and breaking Michigan's all-time rushing record, but Michigan players forfeited their right to this award when they lost to Appalachian State (OK, not really, but they were playing East Michigan.) Instead, I'm going to give this to C.J. Bacher, quarterback of Big-10 "powerhouse" Northwestern. Bacher threw for a school-record 520 yards and five touchdowns in an overtime win over Michigan State. I know, you're thinking, "Isn't this the same guy who orchestrated an epic loss to the lowly Duke Blue Devils?" YES, but that's kind of the point, from zero to hero.

I've heard it before, why would anyone want to go to Pullman to play basketball? It's very simple. Not only is Washington State good, but they have good people. Take, for example, Cougars guard Taylor Rochestie, who will make the ultimate sacrifice for his team. The starting guard will give up his $25,000 scholarship in 2008-2009 so that Washington State can sign Marcus Capers, a highly touted recruit from Florida. And if that wasn't sweet enough, Rochestie was then quoted as saying, "I am thankful that I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where I could help the team out." You see, good people, the kind that'll help you change a tire.

I was never very good at physics. But one thing I did understand was Newton's third law of motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In sports, that means that if something good happens, something bad has to happen to even things out. So it's no surprise that right when the Stanford football team pulls off an epic upset, the Cardinal basketball team lost one of its star players. Forward Brook Lopez was declared academically ineligible for the fall quarter. If he improves his grades, the seven-footer should still be able to play a full Pac-10 schedule, but Stanford hoops fans have to be a little wary about this newfound pigskin success.

LSU coach Les Miles made some incredibly gutsy decisions in the Tigers' 28-24 victory over Florida. Five times the Tigers went for it on fourth down, converting on all five of them, including two touchdowns. They also ran a fake field goal for a first down. Not only that, but Miles challenged an out-of-bounds call in the second half that, had he lost the challenge, would have left the Tigers with no timeouts for the rest of the game. LSU wins, and the guy looks like a genius, but this could've easily been "The Bonehead Award" if LSU lost.

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Coming out of North Platte High, Danny Woodhead was 5-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing, and he had barely a speck of athletic talent. Not a single D-I school was interested in his football abilities, so he went to D-II Chadron State. No sweat, his name was Woodhead. He was destined for greatness. On Saturday, Woodhead rushed for 208 yards and broke the NCAA all-divisions career rushing record. He now has 7,441 yards to his name. That's some big yards for a small man.

I'm convinced people just don't know when to retire anymore. Senator Larry Craig pleads guilty to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from an incident where he made sexual advances toward an undercover cop in a Minneapolis airport men's room. He says he's going to retire, but noooooo, he decides to stay on, And now, Dennis Franchione says he's staying on as football coach at Texas A&M. Great, so the Aggies beat Oklahoma State on Saturday. Not only is Franchione 1-9 against Big 12 rivals Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska, but he was also caught selling a $1,200 newsletter to boosters that contained insider information such as injury reports and player assessments. I ask you, the honest football-loving American, is there no integrity anymore? Come on guys, sign off, get a place in Florida and work on that handicap.

They did it. They really did it. Notre Dame won a game. They beat UCLA 20-6 and ended their eight-game losing streak. Thank God. I'm no fan of the Fighting Irish. The team means nothing to me, but I was getting sick of watching the storied program lose. Unless you're a die-hard USC, Michigan or BC fan and always root against the Irish, watching Notre Dame lose five in a row to start the season was downright depressing. But, after Saturday's victory, I don't have to worry about the losing streak anymore. So how did the Irish do it? Very simple, they finally played a team that had a less-experienced quarterback than their own.

It is not often a college athlete gets caught breaking into the towing pound to get a car back, and it is even rarer when two college athletes do it just a few weeks apart. First, Auburn guard Frank Tolbert gets nabbed for third-degree criminal mischief after breaking into a towing compound to steal back his car, which was towed earlier in the week. Then there was the much more publicized case of Florida safety Tony Joiner, who was caught removing his girlfriend's car from a towing lot at five in the morning. Charges against the Florida football player were dropped. Charges against the Auburn basketball player were not. Go figure.

The Maryland Terrapins have proven themselves a good football team in the past two weeks. First, they go on the road and upset Rutgers and then they take down a good Georgia Tech squad. So what's been the key to their recent success? Well, the Terrapins really turned it around when backup quarterback Chris Turner took over for starter Jordan Steffy in the second quarter of the Rutgers game. It seems Turner was born to be a superstar. His dad was the original drummer of the 80's glam metal band Ratt. Now it all makes sense, Turner's funky fro, the poise under pressure, the groupies. It's like Ratt said in the chorus of their mega hit Round and Round -- with love we'll find a way, just give it time.