November 10, 2008

Welcome to this week's Dean's List, where we're wondering who's going to clean up after this puppy Obama's promised his daughters. Does the secret service get to handle that, or will it be a responsibility lesson for Malia and Sasha?

Daniel Charbonnet has now played college football at both ends of the spectrum. The 5-foot-11, 203 lbs. safety from The Woodlands, Texas, played his freshman year at Duke University, starting every game and making 19 tackles. The Blue Devils went 2-9 that season and a homesick Charbonnet decided to transfer to Texas Tech, where he was initially a walk-on. Not anymore. Now, Charbonnet is the starting free safety on the No. 2 team in the country. In Texas Tech's 39-33 victory over Texas, he played so well he was named the Bronco Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, and when the Red Raiders rolled over Oklahoma State on Saturday night, Charbonnet forced two turnovers. From Durham to Lubbock ... now that's a 2,100-mile journey most football players never make.

• On Friday night, the Wake Forest men's soccer team capped off its first undefeated season in program history with a 2-0 win over Virginia. The Demon Deacons are 17-0-1 this year and ranked No. 1 in the nation. They have not lost a game in 23 contests, dating all the way back to last season, and are the reigning NCAA national champions. Offensively, Wake Forest is a machine, having scored 62 goals on the season, including 32 goals in conference play. Defensively, the Demon Deacons are not bad either, having only given up 12 goals so far. For the mathematical nitwits out there, that's a 50-goal differential, which is what the captain on my high school soccer team whose got a penchant for rhymes calls "domination station."

• Nobody ever talks about Western Michigan, but the Broncos are a solid football team. On Saturday at Ford Field, they shut down Illinois quarterback Juice Williams and beat the Fighting Illini 23-17. Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns and wide receiver Jamarko Simmons caught 11 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown to become the the program's career reception leader with 239. But this isn't a once-in-a-decade anomaly. The kids from Kalamazoo have beaten a BCS program each of the last three season. They defeated Virginia in 2006 and Iowa last year. Of course, Western Michigan could be overlooked this season because it isn't even one of the top two teams in the the MAC. Both No. 16 Ball State and Central Michigan sit atop the conference with undefeated records.

• Despite his incompetence as Washington Redskins head coach, there's no doubt Steve Spurrier is a smart man. Every summer, the University of South Carolina football coach organizes a football clinic for women that allows female fans to better understand the game. Middle-aged ladies in pads -- genius! And now Spurrier is requiring his players to wear helmets when riding scooters. After running back Kenny Miles wrecked his moped earlier this week, Spurrier told his team to wear helmets or risk a one-game suspension. Considering the accident was the third for a Gamecock player, the Ol' Ball Coach figured it was time to enforce some scooter safety standards before a player got seriously injured. Miles' face after the accident probably had something to do with the new policy. When asked about his running back's condition, Spurrier said, "His (Miles') face looks like he slid into second base on a paved road." Did he beat the tag?

• The pros of firing your coach after 17 seasons, one national championship, two SEC championships and three SEC East championships: In a half-decade, you might rebuild your program into a national powerhouse. The cons of firing that very same coach: You discredit loyalty at your institution, lose your incoming recruiting class and sacrifice an entire football season. So it goes in Knoxville. Five days after Tennessee announced it was forcing football coach Philip Fulmer to resign at the end of the season, the Vols lost 13-7 to Wyoming, the lowest scoring team in college football and a 26.5-point underdog entering the game. It was the first time Tennessee had ever lost to a Mountain West opponent and, even worse, the Vols did it on homecoming. Kids, remember this lesson. When a football program gives in to the whims of capricious fans and fires its legendary coach mid-season because of subtle losing trends, Cowboys will ride into town and slay the local Volunteers.

• Students who matriculate at Harding University, a Christian liberal arts school in Searcy, Arkansas, agree to not consume alcohol, smoke, use illegal drugs, or participate in sexual activity until they are "traditionally" married. Accordingly, under no circumstances are men and women allowed to visit one another's dorm rooms. Recently, Harding quarterback David Knighton slipped up on that last clause and was kicked out of school before the final game of his college career. Knighton, who had thrown for 3,834 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, allowed a female student to spend the night on the couch of his off-campus house after she missed curfew. Word quickly spread on campus and, without so much as a hearing, one of the top quarterbacks in D-II had his senior season prematurely cut short. For what it's worth, Knighton's father, Reggie, has his son's back. "This decision that he made, he thought was a Christian decision -- not to leave someone out in the cold," Reggie Knighton said. "They (Harding administrators) were judge, jury and God all in one."

• UCLA forward Nikola Dragovic thought it would be a good idea to live with his college girlfriend. Big mistake. Huge. The young couple had a falling out and, suddenly, two volatile people who detested each other were sharing a small living space. On Friday, the 20-year-old Serbian went to the shared apartment to retrieve his belongings and found all his stuff dumped on the front porch. Understandably, this made the 6-foot-9 Serbian angry. A fight ensued, during which Dragovic pushed his (former) girlfriend to the ground. He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery. The incarceration caused Dragovic to miss UCLA's 76-42 exhibition victory over Biola. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times -- living with your girlfriend is about as good an idea as sticking your hand in a blender to see if it works.

• The crazy part about the Internet is that you say one little, prejudiced thing and all of a sudden everyone thinks you're a racist. Funny how that cause and effect theory works. Buck Burnette, a back-up offensive lineman at the University of Texas, was dismissed from the football team after posting a racial epithet on his Facebook page after Barack Obama won Tuesday's election. The back-up center from Wimberley, Texas, who is a fervent conservative and Christian, was so upset about Obama's victory that he posted a comment written by one of his hunting buddies that read "all the hunters gather up, we have a (epithet) in the whitehouse." Burnette has since taken down his Facebook page and issued a public apology, but the damage is already done, proving once again that the Internet and bigoted hunting buddies don't mix.

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