Sportsman of the Month rundown

first_imgOnce again, Sports Illustrated got it all wrong.Brett Favre is your 2007 Sportsman of the Year. Not a badpick, but this reeks of a lifetime achievement award more than a “Favre was THEgreatest athlete in 2007” honor.Of course, there are so many deserving candidates, and onlyone year. Fortunately, there are 12 months to make use of.Here’s the Second Annual Sportsman of the Month column:January — Peyton ManningAFC Championship Game. Colts down 21-6 to the Patriots atthe half. Was Peyton Manning ready to lose yet another big playoff game?Uh, no. Manning took control, throwing for 349 yards andleading Indianapolis to a comeback 38-34 victory.After the game, Manning couldn’t stop grinning as hemimicked ripping the metaphorical monkey off his back. The greatest footballplayer alive had finally “won the big one.”February — Tony Dungy and Lovie SmithDungy’s story of crisis (His 18-year-old son committed suicidein late 2005) and his ensuing comeback is unbelievably compelling, and likeManning he ripped the monkey off his back and finally won the big one.And Smith, uh, was rewarded for his faith in Rex Grossman.Oh, and he paired with Dungy to become the first two black coaches to leadtheir teams to the Super Bowl.March — Florida GatorsTrue, Billy Donovan’s squad didn’t actually claim thecollege basketball title until April. But the University of Florida enteredelite, uncontested status when the Gators won their second consecutive title inbasketball — sandwiched around a shocking football championship a few monthsbefore. Poor Ohio State.April — Alex RodriguezA-Rod had one of the most jaw-dropping baseball seasonsever, to finally clam up all those New York fans that wondered why he was eventhere.April was an extended highlight reel: .355 average, 14homers, 34 RBI and a few dramatic walk-off jacks along the way.May — LeBron JamesIf you missed LeBron’s Game 5 of the East finals againstDetroit, well, you missed out. The King went off for 48 points — including histeam’s final 25 points. LeBron looked absolutely “Jordanesque” and sent thebasketball world into a frenzy over this magical night.And then two months later, LeBron hosted the ESPYs withJimmy Kimmel. What a year.Of course, even LeBron wasn’t good enough for…June — the San Antonio SpursThey might have gotten my pick for Sportsman of the Year… ifI still didn’t feel that Spurs-Suns melee cost the Suns the rightful NBA championship.But it’s time these guys get their due. They are, in fact, adynasty. Four NBA titles in nine years, and they do it the right way, the teamway. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili don’t wow you with their play,but they’re consistently the guys standing at the end.July — Roger FedererGreatness. Pure greatness.Federer won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon, and for oncewas pressed to the limit by new foe Rafael Nadal. Nobody had touched the Swissstud on his favorite surface — grass — but the Spanish kid with bazooka bicepsforced a fifth set. But instead of wilting under the pressure of history,Federer prevailed and tied the all-time record for consecutive titles at theAll-England Club.August — Barry BondsQuick moment of respect for the new Home Run King…Moment over. Let’s move on.September — Brett FavreThis just in: A certain gray-bearded 38-year-old quarterbackis absolutely torching defenses this season.While he probably shouldn’t have gotten the SI award, itseems appropriate that he get the nod for September. After all, he led the Packto a surprising 4-0 start — including wins at the New York Giants and over SanDiego — while setting his own giant record with his 421st touchdown pass atMinnesota.Rocktober — Colorado RockiesI picked the surprising Detroit Tigers for October lastyear, and it only seems right I give the same respect to the kid Rocks. Twenty-oneof 22 wins! Unheard of. We’ll probably never see it again.November — NCAA quarterbacks (Ryan, Williams, Brennan,Daniel, Tebow)Tomorrow the Heisman is announced. This is one of the mostwide-open races ever. And while each of these QBs is flawed, they each hadtheir own great moment in November.Matt Ryan against Clemson. Juice Williams against OhioState. Chase Daniel against Kansas.And Colt Brennan and Tim Tebow against, well, everybody.That’s probably what makes those two the favorites.December — Iowa State women’s volleyball teamC’mon, help me out here. There’s only been five days thismonth. It’s a painful pick, sure, but I’ll go with the little team that could,the team that shocked the high-flying UW volleyball team and is on its way tothe first Sweet 16 in program history.Brenner’s Sportsmen of the year — Boston athletesJosh Beckett and Mike Lowell. KG and Paul Pierce. Tom Bradyand Randy Moss.The year started inauspiciously for Beantown (see: Manning,Peyton). But ever since the baseball season began, it’s been all Boston, allthe time this year. They’ve absolutely taken the sports world by storm.I’m sick of Boston, you’re sick of Boston. But you can’thelp but feel jealous for the city and its sports fans.In the last 50 years, only four cities have won multiplechampionships in the same year (among pro football, basketball, baseball andhockey): Boston (2004), New York (1969) Los Angeles (1988), and Pittsburgh(1979).Nobody’s ever won three. Stay tuned.Love the picks? Hate’em? Think I left someone or some team out? Post your comment on the messageboard or shoot me an e-mail at ajbrenner@wisc.edu.last_img read more

Trojan football faces most difficult schedule in nation

first_imgWith the opening game of the 2016 football season against defending champion Alabama less than a month away, the Trojans must prepare for not only their tough season opener, but also the most difficult schedule in the nation. Additionally on the schedule for the Trojans are eight of the 10 Pac-12 teams who made a bowl game last season.Ranked 17th in the preseason USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll, USC will not have easy games early in the season with three of their first four games coming in road games against Alabama, Stanford and Utah.The Trojans may put up a solid fight with the Tide as Alabama loses star running back and last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry. This could put a serious strain on the Tide’s emphasis on a run-the-ball offense, forcing the new quarterback, likely Cooper Bateman or Blake Barnett, to throw the ball.The key for a USC victory in the opener is to be able to break through the offensive line and put pressure on the quarterback while covering senior Alabama tight end O.J. Howard.“We want to keep defenses off balance by being balanced offensively,” head coach Clay Helton said. “We believe we have the personnel to run the ball effectively and physically and to be explosive in the passing game. At the end of the day, though, we know that we must be able to run the ball and not turn it over.”In the weeks to follow, the Trojans can expect tough road games as they play conference rivals No. 7 Stanford and Utah in weeks three and four, respectively. Again, their defense will have to control two primarily running offenses, particularly Stanford with the return of Heisman runner-up and AP Player of the Year junior running back Christian McCaffrey, who is predicted to lead the Cardinal to another strong season.Midseason, USC faces Arizona State, Colorado and Arizona, with a week eight bye. Arizona’s junior quarterback Anu Solomon, ranked fourth in the school’s passing yards history, will test the Trojans’ receiver and tight end coverage while Colorado continues to improve its pass rush defense.The final weeks, will continue to be challenging as the Trojans face Cal and No. 23 Oregon at home in weeks nine and 10 respectively before hitting the road to face No. 18 Washington and No. 24 UCLA the next two weeks before finally hosting No. 9 Notre Dame at home for a timeless non-conference matchup.The Fighting Irish have had the upper hand against the Trojans, having won the most recent matchup 41-31. Notre Dame features two quarterbacks — senior Malik Zaire and junior DeShone Kizer — on the 2016 Maxwell Award Watch List, who combine to become a  deadly duo for passing and rushing yards at quarterback. However, the Irish have lost key offensive players such as wide receiver Will Fuller, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and running back C.J. Posise.But the Trojans have the advantage over their crosstown rival, leading the series 46-31-7. The main area of concern for the Trojans is the Bruins’ defense. The 2015 season marked a free fall in UCLA’s “Linebacker U” reputation with linebacker Myles Jack out for the majority of the season due to a torn meniscus. Despite the loss, UCLA sees potential in rebuilding their defense this season with returning senior linebacker Jayon Brown, who recorded 69 tackles in the Bruins’ last seven games.Despite a formidable schedule ahead, Helton and the team are ready to tackle the challenge head on.“I, along with our coaches and players, understand where the bar is set, and we welcome the high expectations,” Helton said. “Our goal will never change here at USC. We are about winning championships and all of us will work tirelessly toward that goal.”last_img read more

Athletic club matching donations to help ‘Toys for Kids’

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisAlpena — It’s been a tough holiday season for the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 583’s ‘Toys for Kids’ wrapping drive. They serve hundreds of families in need and are still shy of their goal to serve all of those children in need before the holidays.Social media posts have been floating around about the nonprofit’s need for toy and monetary donations. Local organizations are already beginning to step in, one of those being Bay Athletic Club.As part of their season of giving, the athletic center is matching toy and monetary donations for the organization that they’ve helped support for many years.“Sometimes, we just need to remember how good it feels to be able to help someone else even if you don’t know who that person is,” said Bay Athletic Club Communications Director Sarah Morrison. “When you’re out shopping, just swing by an aisle and grab something and that can be your donation.”You can drop off donations at Bay Athletic Club in Alpena off of Chisholm Street now through Friday. If you can’t make it to Bay Athletic by Friday. Donations can be made to the ‘Toys for Kids’ headquarters on 2040 Werth Rd. (the Old Ripley Street Fruit Market)“Every little thing you do can make a really big impact,” said Morrison.Toys are donated to families in need throughout Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency, and Presque Isle Counties.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: alpena, Bay Athletic, bay athletic club, holidays, northeast michigan, Sunrise Side, toys for kids, Vietnam Vets Chapter 583Continue ReadingPrevious Rolling into the holiday season with a giving heartNext Alpena Public Schools Request Bond Sales to Update Structures and Security Systemslast_img read more