Some of this is funny, some of this is disturbing. But generally this behavior is degrading to the game. We present you the most classless acts of the 2006 season. Once again, we've opened it to voting. You get only one vote, so give it some thought. We have several outstanding entries.
1. Mike Sanford, Nevada Las Vegas
Situation: Nevada Las Vegas trails Iowa State, 16-10, with seven seconds remaining in a Sept. 9 game at Ames. With the Rebels at the Cyclone 11, quarterback Shane Steichen throws a pass into a gaggle of players at the back of the end zone. As time expires, Nevada Las Vegas' Aaron Straiten emerges holding the ball. The officials rule that Straiten was out of bounds when he caught the pass.
Classless Act: In protest, Nevada Las Vegas coach Mike Sanford keeps his team on the field for 15 minutes, hoping to force officials to review the play. It turns out the play was reviewed and the call stood, but word didn't reach Sanford until long after his tirade. Cyclone fans begin chanting "Let's go home" to the Rebel players, who were more than eager to respond to the chants. Eventually, the Rebels leave the field, but the players had to be escorted to the team bus by police to shield them from the angry Cyclone mob.
2. Glen Mason, Minnesota
Situation: Temple, losers of 15 in a row and one of the worst teams in Division I-A, comes rolling into Minneapolis to play Minnesota on Sept. 16.
Classless Act: Golden Gopher coach Glen Mason, with his team clinging to a 59-0 lead with 3:50 remaining, sends out kicker Jason Giannini to try a 41-yard field goal. The kick is good and Minnesota holds on for a 62-0 victory.
3. Gary Barnett, formerly of Colorado
Situation: Colorado's 0-2 start under new coach Dan Hawkins includes arguably the lowest-point in team history: a 19-10 loss to I-AA Montana State in the first meeting between the teams since 1927. To make matters worse, the Bobcats lose their next game to Division II Chadron State, 35-24.
Classless Act: Gary Barnett, the man Hawkins replaced, could not keep his mouth shut. This despite a $3 million settlement from the university that ended his turbulent tenure. "Those are my guys. I know the talent that we have there, the maturity and the leadership, and I want those guys to get everything they deserve, and I want them to play in the [Big 12] championship game again. Then, on the other side, I got taken out of that situation. I got removed from it and someone else made that decision. Part of me felt a little vindication because of it."
4. Oklahoma Sooners
Situation: Oklahoma travels to Oregon for a Sept. 16 game. Everything is going according to plan for the Sooners until the final 66 seconds, when an onside kick and a questionable pass interference call lead to a 34-33 loss to the Ducks. The ugly and unfortunate ending altered the course of Oklahoma's season.
Classless Acts: Fans — presumably Sooner fans — threaten the life of replay official Gordon Riese. Equally disturbing: Oklahoma president David Boren asks that the game be stricken from the records. The key word here is game, as this is only a game. ...
5. North Carolina State fans
Situation: North Carolina State plays host to Boston College on Sept. 23. The Wolfpack stun the No. 20 Eagles, 17-15, one of the few bright moments in a 3-9 season.
Classless Acts: The victory over the Eagles turns into a Golden Shower for some. Reports trickle out of people urinating in the stands. "I know people were urinating in their sections," student body president Will Quick said. "I have heard reports of individuals being splashed by urine."
6. Brigham Young
Situation: Brigham Young and Utah State meet for the first time since 2002 on Sept. 23 in Provo. Tensions were high. Four personal fouls were called and there was pushing and shoving at the Utah State bench after Brigham Young running back Fui Vakapuna was knocked out of bounds early in the fourth quarter. Photo by Dan Roden.
Classless Act: Brigham Young decides to pour it on, with starting quarterback Jason Beck continuing to throw the ball and completing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jonny Harline with 2:16 left to complete a 38-0 Cougar victory.
Situation: Illinois, which had lost 24 of 25 Big Ten Conference games, traveled to East Lansing on Sept. 30 to play Michigan State, which was coming off a disastrous 40-37 loss at home to Notre Dame. Nonetheless, the Spartans are a 26-point favorites. So what happens? Illinois wins, 23-20.
Classless Act: Illinois players, in a practice that has been banned by the Big Ten, tried to plant the Fighting Illini flag at midfield after the game. This did not go over well with Michigan State players, many of the same players who a year earlier planted the Spartan flag at midfield at Notre Dame after a victory.
8. Steve Spurrier
Situation: South Carolina builds leads of 17-0 and 24-10 in an Oct. 7 game against Kentucky at Lexington, then holds on for a 24-17 victory. The Gamecocks' pass defense is shaky down the stretch, and the Wildcats have a shot to tie the score with a Hail Mary on the final play.
Classless Act: Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier blames the late defensive breakdowns on secondary coach Ron Cooper, and Cooper is summoned to the press conference and is interrogated by Spurrier. "Coach Cooper, they want to know what coverage we were in on that 62-yarder. Three deep?" An uncomfortable Cooper responded, "Three deep. Had the bust by the left corner and the left nickel." ... Spurrier later apologized.
9. Miami, Florida International and Lamar Thomas
Situation: Florida International and Miami square off in the "City Line Series" Oct. 14 at the Orange Bowl. It was a forgettable game (Miami won, 35-0) except for the brawl that erupted in the third quarter, when the benches emptied and the players went at it for nearly five minutes. Thirty-one players were suspended.
Classless Acts: Besides the actions of FIU and Miami, former Hurricane receiver Lamar Thomas, working as a commentator on the telecast, loses his job after a series of comments lauding the melee. "That's what I'm talking about," Thomas said.
10. Mike Leach, Texas Tech
Situation: As they say, it's garbage time. Texas Tech is leading Baylor, 55-21, with 2:05 left in a Nov. 4 game at Lubbock. Ernest Smith, a freshman receiver for the Bears, appears to fumble after catching a 15-yard pass from Blake Szymanski. The officials rule that Smith was down when he hit the turf.
Classless Act: Red Raider coach Mike Leach, with his team clinging to a 34-point lead, decides to challenge the call. The call is overturned and Texas Tech takes over. Baylor coach Guy Morriss says afterward, "If the day ever comes, we're going to try to hang 75 on them, I'll guarantee you that."
11. Steve Levy, California
Situation: California is about to complete a 10-3 season with a convincing victory over Texas A&M in the Dec. 28 Holiday Bowl in San Diego. The Golden Bears lead, 38-10, with less than a minute remaining.
Classless Act: California quarterback Steve Levy ignores a call by coach Jeff Tedford to take a knee and decides to run an off-tackle play, handing the ball to Bryan Schutte, who scores a touchdown from three yards out with 28 seconds remaining to make the final score 45-10. Tedford grabs Levy by the facemask when the quarterback returns to the sideline. It wasn't the first time Levy, a senior, was in trouble with Tedford. He was suspended in the offseason after he was arrested for involvement in a bar brawl in San Francisco and was reinstated just before fall practice started.
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