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Who's Hot / Who's Not

Dec. 26, 2005
Dec. 26, 2005

Table of Contents
Dec. 26, 2005

Catching Up With
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
The Best of 2005
The Year in Sports 2005
Best of the Worst 2005
Departments

Who's Hot / Who's Not

Edited by Kostya Kennedy

WHO'S HOT

This is an article from the Dec. 26, 2005 issue Original Layout

David Noel
'Tis his season! And not in name only. Senior forward is UNC's early MVP. He's scoring (14.0 points a game), rebounding (7.3) and serving as defensive stopper for the 6-1 Tar Heels, who'll be home for the holidays with three games in Chapel Hill starting on Dec. 28.

Purple Raiders
Mount Union beat Wisconsin-Whitewater 35-28 to win the Division III title and end a 14-1 year. Said Purple Raiders coach Larry Kehres, whose .915 winning percentage is NCAA football's best ever, "This team deserves to be called great."

Gateses
Antonio snagged six passes in San Diego's big win over the Colts (page 143) and leads all tight ends with 82 catches. The other Gateses--Bill and Melinda--aren't as adept at receiving, but for their giving they were named, with Bono, TIME's Persons of the Year.

Chris Cooley
Redskin had three TD catches (doubling his season's total) in a win over Dallas that put team in wild-card position. As Mavs guard Darrell Armstrong might--and did--say, into a microphone before a home game, "How 'bout the Redskins?"

WHO'S NOT

Ernie Els
In a showdown in South Africa, Retief Goosen said, "No, Els," to Ernie by getting birdies on his last two holes to win by a stroke. Els's five-foot putt for eagle on 18 fell short. Said Goosen, "I was surprised when he missed."

Oakland Raiders
Think losing to the lousy Jets in Week 14 was rough? Try god-awful Browns 9, god-awfuller Raiders 7 in Week 15. Silver and Black fell to 4-10 this year, 9-21 under coach Norv Turner, who may be near the end of a brief Raiders reign.

John Ruiz
Before his Dec. 17 bout with 7-foot, 323-pound Nikolay Valuev, boxer declared, "He's got a head the size of a Volkswagen. I can't miss hitting him." He didn't, but lost anyway in a loudly booed split decision.

Arizona
Once-high hopes for the injury-riddled Cardinals hit bottom in a loss to the Texans (WR Anquan Boldin to Mesa's East Valley Tribune: "We never expected to come in here and lose.") The Coyotes were rattled by Coach Gretzky's departure to be with his ill mother, and the Suns dropped four of five.

SI PLAYERS POLL

Who has the best visitor's locker room in the NFL?
Broncos 22%
Texans 14%
Packers 9%
Panthers 6%

Who has the worst?
49ers 21%
Cardinals 15%
Raiders 14%
Bills 8%

FAST FACTS: Visitors might get too comfortable in the spacious locker room at Denver's five-year-old Invesco Field--the Broncos are unbeaten at home this year.... Complaints about the 49ers' visitor's room, built decades ago for MLB's Giants, include that it's crowded, far from the field and generally dingy.

[ Based on a survey of 357 NFL players ] • For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.

PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (NOEL)PHOTOSCOTT A. MILLER/US/PRESSWIRE (PURPLE RAIDER)PHOTOWILLIAM E. AMATUCCI JR./WIREIMAGE.COM (COOLEY)PHOTOJUDA NGWENYA/REUTERS (ELS)PHOTOPAUL SAKUMA/AP (TURNER)PHOTOJOCKEL FINCK/AP (RUIZ)PHOTONFL/WIREIMMAGE.COM (HELMETS)TWO PHOTOS