Today in sports: Sports Illustrated makes a curious Sportsman of the Year selection, the schedule for all 35 bowl games is out, Harvard basketball cracks the Top 25, and the New York Mets insist Bernie Madoff didn't make Jose Reyes leave.
- Sports Illustrated has named Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year for 2011. The pairing is a curious one, given the magazine's preference for bestowing the honor on individuals, or barring that, a set of teammates. Each had a strong enough individual case: Krzyzewski won his 903rd game last month, passing Bob Knight for most wins by Division I men's basketball coach, while Summit, who has an NCAA record 1071 wins, is continuing to coach despite being diagnosed with early-onset dementia over the summer. Still, neither won a title this year and other than winning a lot of basketball games, they don't have anything obvious in common. Alexander Wolff, the author of the piece, disagrees. In a teaser for the piece posted on Sports Illustrated's Web site today, he writes that Krzyzewski and Summitt share "a kind of formula for success that endures, whether you're coaching men or women." We're not sure having ones pick of the nation's top recruits year-in and year-out qualifies as "a formula for success," but we're willing to persuaded. [Sports Illustrated]
- New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes and the Miami Marlins have reached an agreement on a six-year, $106 million contract. This news will come as a disappointment to Jerry Seinfeld, not just as a Mets fan, but as someone who recently named his dog Jose Reyes. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the team's inability to make a competitive offer to Reyes was the result of the club posting $70 million in losses, and unrelated to the fact owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon are being sued by the trustee for Bernie Madoff's victims. [The New York Times]
- "A source familiar" with the thinking of Brett Favre says the 42-year-old quarterback would "listen" to the Chicago Bears if the team asked him to come off the couch and save their rapidly disintegrating season. The only trouble is that the Bears have no interest in signing him. Said head coach Lovie Smith Monday when asked about the team's quarterbacks, who have been terrible in the two games since starter Jay Cutler suffered a season ending thumb injury: That's our group. We're going to make improvements with our group. We're not looking on the outside. We won't have a quarterback tryout or anything like that." At this point, people should really realize that that's exactly the kind of talk that will increase Favre's desire to pursue one last protracted comeback. [ESPNChicago.com]
- As expected, Louisiana State will play the University of Alabama in college football's title game on January 9th, despite grumbling from fans who recall that when the two teams played last month, the result was a less-than-thrilling 9-6 LSU win. The good news is that there 34 other bowl games that have the potential to be more exciting than the national championship, will the possible exception of the Ohio-Utah State matchup in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. [ESPN.com]
- Harvard is ranked in the AP men's basketball Top 25 poll for the first time ever this week. The No. 24 Crimson are the first Ivy League team to be ranked since Princeton in 1998. Considering they play the No. 9 ranked University of Connecticut on the road Thursday, the team's time in the top 25 may be limited, but at least they're no longer the answer to the trivia question, "Which two Ivy League schools have never been ranked in the top 25 in basketball?" That honor now belongs exclusively to Brown. [AP]