Te’o, Mariota Up For Awards

We’ve now seen several players with Hawaii connections on national watch lists. Oregon freshman QB Marcus Mariota (Saint Louis) is on the list of Davey O’Brien semi-finalists, and Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o (Punahou) is one of the final 12 for the Butkus award.

And current Punahou LB Isaac Savaiigea is on the high school list of the Butkus award group of 12.

At least five national pundits are predicting that Te’o will be one of the invites to New York for the Heisman ceremony, though none is tabbing him to win it. No exclusively defensive player has won the award. Charles Woodson was a fabulous kick returner and also had a limited role with the Michigan offense when he took home the trophy in 1997.

* NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made one of his smarter recent decisions when he recused himself from the bounty-gate player appeal. While Goodell would prefer to exercise ironclad control over the league, to force players to submit to his appeal after having rendered judgment defied common sense. It was jeopardizing his credibility at a crucial time in NFL history with head trauma lawsuits on the horizon.

Assigning former commissioner Paul Tagliabue to hear the appeals may not work either; it is common knowledge to even the most casual fan that commissioners work for the owners.

Penalties for excessive hits, dating back a couple years, have finally started to pay off. There appear to be fewer calls and fines than in previous years, and thus far they are mostly less severe.

* There has been a switch in the balance of power between the conferences in the NFL. Only a couple of year ago, everyone was talking about the dominance of the AFC and the weakness of the NFC. Now, five of the best six teams in the league are generally accepted to be in the NFC; only Houston appears to match up with the 49ers, Bears, Giants, Falcons and Packers. Of course, the narrative may well turn in another month.

* It looks like a 13th football game for UH this season will have substantial hurdles, both financial and logistical. The potential opponent apparently wants about $250,000; the Temple Owls may have some flexibility on that if they believe it would get them into a bowl game. But UH has already promised season ticket holders no increase, but delivered one less game. So revenue would come from the walk-up crowd. UH would be lucky to lose only $100,000. Also, the stadium has an event scheduled for Dec 8, and the basketball team plays at the Stan Sheriff that night. All in all, it appears the best option is to tell Temple to try another year, and put the time and energy into recruiting instead.