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The Monday Awards


First, we'd like to honor the Team of the Week. The University of Connecticut used to be known as a basketball school. The Huskies didn't even have a Division-IA football team until 2002. But after defeating South Florida 22-15 on Saturday, UConn sits atop the Big East and has climbed the rankings to No. 16 in the nation. It doesn't say much for football in the Big East but it's got to make Jim Calhoun smile, and that's not something you'll see too often.

Moving along, the Player of the Week Award goes to a certain University of Texas running back who almost single-handedly won a football game for his team. Jamaal Charles rumbled his way to 290 yards and three touchdowns as the Longhorns came back to beat Nebraska 28-25. What's even crazier than Charles' total rushing yards is that 216 of them came in the fourth quarter alone.

They say that defense wins championships, but what they inevitably fail to mention is offense wins Monday Awards. The Offensively Offensive Award goes to two teams that, on Saturday, set an NCAA all-division record for most points in a game. Weber State beat Portland State 73-68 ... in football. Weber State ended the contest with 687 total yards while Portland State amassed a measly 502. Honestly, do you think the defenses contemplated saving face by spending the second half in the locker room comparing the sexual proclivities of Leonardo DiCaprio to those of Dumbledore?

We here at the Monday Awards Committee hate it when rules get in the way of better judgment. For that reason, we're giving the You Got Hosed Award to ex-Washington State basketball player Rabian Boeke, who has been banned from playing this season by the NCAA. Apparently, players on Boeke's high school team in Germany, but not Boeke, received stipends that the NCAA believes were beyond necessary expenses. They have therefore ruled that the team was a professional organization and have made Boeke ineligible to play for the Cougars this season. Here's a kid who played on the basketball team associated with his high school, who received no money, who did nothing wrong, but who will be punished nonetheless by an organization that seems to regard rules more than common sense.

Coaches who tell you that sports are about more than winning and losing are either trying to console you after a loss or are just plain stupid. Sports are all about winning and losing. That's what makes them fun, or, if you're losing, suck. Just ask this week's winner of the Good Try Award, the North Carolina State women's volleyball team. The Wolfpack are 0-12 in the ACC and have lost 46 consecutive conference matches. The last time they beat a conference opponent was in 2005 when they put up a W against Boston College. Their ACC record the past three seasons: 1-54. And yet, I'll bet you these women value winning more than most. Scarcity creates significance, my friends, except when we're talking about Michael Keaton's movie career.

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Hey, will someone please tell Kid Rock to sit down and shut up? I don't care if Tommy Lee is flirting with his ex, I'm trying to host an award show here. Thank you, O.J., you can put the guns away now. The Celebration Station Award goes to Georgia football coach Mark Richt, who encouraged all 70 of his players to storm the end zone after the Bulldogs scored their first touchdown against Florida. "I told them if they didn't get a penalty for celebrating after the first score I would be mad at them," Richt said. Well, they certainly got the unsportsmanlike penalty, two in fact. And the ploy seemed to work; Georgia beat the Gators 42-30. But, isn't a bit hypocritical to encourage your players to go nuts, just two weeks after you chastised them for dancing on Vanderbilt's midfield logo?

Folks, for this next award, please hold your applause until after the presentation. The Lateral Thinking Award goes to the Trinity University football team, which threw 15 laterals on the final play of the game before scoring a touchdown to beat Millsaps College 28-24. The play lasted 46 seconds and zig-zagged its way across the field at least five times until Riley Curry finally spotted a hole in the Millsaps defense and took off for the end zone. It's one of those you've-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it endings in sports that's made even more exceptional by the excitement of the play-by-play announcers. THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST MIRACULOUS PLAYS IN ALL OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL! All right, go ahead, now you can clap.

On to lighter material, if you were hoping for another reason to make fun of Ivy League geeks, your wish has been granted. The Gotta Get Out More Award goes to the five Yale students and one Columbia student who created "GoCrossCampus," an online game that lets Ivy League students battle over campus domination. Players sign up on the Internet and control 10 armies, which can attack territories controlled by other players. A quote off the GoCrossCampus Web site pretty much sums up our thoughts: "GXC is the lanky kid two floor above you, dressed in full roman regalia."

This next award might surprise many of you who think soccer players are a mere step above ballet dancers. The Zinedine Zidane Award goes to two soccer teams that hate each other so much that they can't even finish a game without police assistance. With five seconds left in the second overtime of a 1-1 game, the Maryland Terrapins and the Cal State-Northridge Matadors got into an old fashioned, no holds barred brawl. The bench-clearing fight occurred at the end of a physical game, in which the Matadors committed 26 fouls and the ref handed out four red cards and three yellow cards. Sounds sloppy and nasty and downright un-soccer-esque. I can see by the way David Beckham's coiffed his hair tonight that he wholeheartedly agrees.

Well, we've finally reached the conclusion of this awards ceremony. Don't worry, Ms. Spears, the bar will remain open for another hour. But before we go I'd like to hand out one more honor, this one to a few excitable college basketball players. The Easy Does It Award goes to the Syracuse basketball team, which put on quite a performance during this year's Midnight Madness. First, center Arinze Onuaku shattered the backboard on a two handed dunk. Then guard Eric Devendorf, in a fit of excitement, threw his jersey into the crowd and finally, guard Paul Harris decided to toss his shoes to the fans. Onuaku sustained minor lacerations to his shoulders and Harris had to enlist the help of emcee Bill Raftery to get his shoes back. Seems like a lot of excitement for a team that failed to make the tournament last year.

And on that note, we're out of here. Don't cry, Kanye, there's always next week.