There are some pretty lame trophies in the world of college football.
Illinois and Ohio State play for the Illibuck trophy, which is some sort of turtle. Other teams play for cups, cannons, bells, bowls, barrels, boots, axes, little brown jugs and old oaken buckets. Mississippi and Mississippi State play for an egg. Hawaii and Fresno State play for a screwdriver.
Starting this fall, Iowa and Iowa State will play for something they picked up in the Precious Moments section at the local Hallmark store.
That's the way it looks anyway.
The two schools unveiled their new and allegedly improved Cy-Hawk Trophy on Friday at the Iowa State Fair.
Brace yourself. This thing is ghastly. It shows a dad kneeling and holding an ear of corn as he speaks to his son and his wife, who is holding another child. There is more corn spread out in front of them.
Did we mention that the corporate sponsor is the Iowa Corn Growers?
It's a touching scene and all, but it says nothing about football, nothing about the rivalry, and it perpetuates the stereotype that all Iowans are farmers.
At Friday's unveiling, officials put a happy face on it by saying it represents "the people and characteristics that are uniquely Iowan."
It's uniquely awful.
The outcry against the trophy from fans has been profound, immediate and very nearly unanimous. When photos of the trophy first appeared online, some thought it was a joke. Others suggested that it's so bad it should be given to the losing team in the annual game.
One summed it up by calling it "possibly the worst football trophy I have ever seen."
If you spent any time
at the International Softball Congress World tournament in Moline this past week, you probably picked up on the fact that fast-pitch softball aficionados are a bit snobbish about their sport.
They clearly look down their noses at the slow-pitch version of the game. One T-shirt seen at the tournament: "I'd rather my sister be a hooker than my brother play slow-pitch."
The Heisman Trophy hype officially has begun. Arriving in the mail this week was a nice, slick collectible card in a thick plastic case promoting Robert Griffin III for the award.
That would be Baylor's quarterback, by the way. He passed for 3,501 yards and rushed for 635 more last season. Those are nice numbers, but they're not going to get you Heisman consideration unless you have 10 or 11 victories to go with it.
The only time Baylor ever reached double figures in wins was in 1980, when one of its captains was a wild-eyed linebacker named Mike Singletary. He didn't win the Heisman, either.
Bear up, Chicago Bears fans. The offensive line couldn't possibly be as awful this season as it was a year ago, could it?
Well, maybe. Let's recount what has happened so far.
The Bears let one of the best centers in the NFL leave via free agency. They signed another veteran center for $3 million a year, then relegated him to the second team. They moved a so-so guard to center. They moved a guy who couldn't play right tackle to the more vital position of left tackle. They inserted a rookie at right tackle. They took the guy they drafted No. 1 in 2008 to be their left tackle of the future and permanently exiled him to left guard. They handed the right guard job to a guy who was the 246th player chosen in the 2009 draft.
Then they went out and gave up nine sacks in the first preseason game against that vaunted Buffalo Bills defense.
Some radio commentators were singing the praises of Jim Hendry after he was fired as general manager of the Chicago Cubs on Friday. One of their big pluses was the fact that the Cubs were over .500 during Hendry's nine-plus years on the job. They were 749-748.
He wasn't the worst GM in baseball, but it's clearly time to try something different.
Before departing the scene, Hendry signed 18 of the Cubs' top 20 picks from the June amateur draft, including a guy who should really get fans excited: No. 1 pick Javier Baez, an 18-year-old shortstop from Jacksonville, Fla.
I'm sure Baez didn't face the toughest competition at Arlington Country Day High School, but the statistics from his senior season were absolutely astonishing: A batting average of .771 (64 hits in 83 at-bats). An .835 on-base percentage. A 1.951 slugging percentage. He had 22 home runs, six triples, 20 doubles and 16 singles, drove in 52 runs, scored 46, stole 28 bases and even walked 32 times in 115 total plate appearances.
I think I might have walked him 115 times.
You don't even see statistics like that in slow-pitch softball.