Column: 19th annual Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust Awards; the envelope please…

Published 9:40 pm Monday, January 2, 2006

By Staff
For the 19th consecutive year it is time to rip open the envelopes and take a look at the “Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust Awards,” which have come to be known as the TYAACODs (pronounced Ty Cod).
Hopefully this humorous look at the best and worst of 2005 in the world of sports can put a little smile on your face.
The envelopes please…
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
This is a tough call because sportsman is such a broad term. Once again I select Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was the class of the Tour de France once again, winning a record seventh race, and despite allegations of doping, remains a role model for all of us. Plus, he's married to Sheryl Crow.
GREATEST MOMENT
Getting to watch Southern California nip Notre Dame in one of the greatest college football games of all time. The Trojans are in a position to win a third straight National Championship. They will be the first team in college football history to start two Heisman Trophy winners in the same game.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT
The University of Michigan football team. The Wolverines had high hopes going into the season, but after losing four games this season, it was tough to watch Michigan at all. However, I will have an eye on the Wolverines tonight as they play Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl. Finally we will get a chance to settle the split National Championship on the field even though the players, and for the most part, the coaches are not the same.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT II
Kurt Busch being released from Roush Racing with just a few weeks left in the NASCAR season. Busch was released after having a run-in with the law in Arizona where he was cited for reckless driving. NASCAR has been able to steer clear of problems like this, but Busch, who is not my favorite driver any way, puts the sport in a bad light.
PITCHMAN AWARD
LeBron James is everywhere. You can hardly turn on the television without seeing him in a commercial hawking something. I have to admit though, James' Sprite commercials are extremely entertaining. Last year he shared this award with Atlanta's Michael Vick, who has not had the best of seasons for the Falcons and is appearing in less commercials.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Here are a few of the teams that won championships in 2005: New England Patriots (NFL), San Antonio Spurs (NBA), Southern California (college football), North Carolina (men's basketball), Texas (baseball), Baylor (women's basketball), Maryland (men's soccer), Portland (women's soccer), Washington (women's volleyball), Pepperdine (men's volleyball), Denver (hockey), Tony Stewart (NASCAR), Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) and the Chicago White Sox (baseball).
NEARLY GREAT MOMENT
Danica Patrick leads in the closing laps of the Indianapolis 500, but cannot hold on to become the first woman to win the historic event.
HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF?
T-E-R-R-E-L-L O-W-E-N-S. The loud-mouthed Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, who has been a pain in the backside of more than one team in his career, is benched permanently by the Eagles. It's about time someone shut him up.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Notre Dame returns to college football's elite; Phil Jackson returns to coach the Los Angeles Lakers; Pat Riley returns to coach the Miami Heat; and Steve Spurrier returns to the sidelines to coach South Carolina.
WE'RE GOING TO MISS YOU
Here are some of those who died during 2005: George Mikan, Hank Stram, Gene Mauch, Wellington Mara, Al Lopez, George Archer, Jason Collier, Glen Davis, Sue Gunter, Sam Mills, Reggie Robie, Chris Schenkel, Max Schmeling and Dick Weber.
WE'RE GOING TO MISS YOU II
Monday Night Football ended a 36-year run on Monday night. Football will still be seen, but on ESPN under a different name. Mark Messier and Jerry Rice both called it a career in 2005. The two of them are locks for their respective hall of fames.
BIGGEST SURPRISE
Carl Edwards took NASCAR by storm this season. With a winning smile and a winning team, the youngster not only made the Chase for the Cup, but nearly won the series championship. Edwards leaves all of us feeling pretty good about the future of NASCAR.
Scott Novak is sports editor of the Dowagiac Daily News. Email him at scott.novak-@leaderpub.com.