Big Ten: Sam Valenzisi
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Given the ire about Michigan State kicker Brett Swenson being left off the list of Lou Groza Award semifinalists, I thought you would be interested in the note I received from one of the voters.
Sam Valenzisi was an All-American kicker at Northwestern who starred on the 1995 Rose Bowl team. He was a Lou Groza Award finalist in 1995.
"Adam -- As a voter for the Lou Groza Award, I do my own research on each candidate to measure behind the numbers (why were kicks missed, what point in the game were they missed/made, road/home, identity of the opponent, missed XPs weigh more than missed FGs) because not every kick--made or missed--is equally as meaningful in its impact on the game. In my mind, misses against your arch-rival mean more. In defense of Charlie Dunn and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, they do include a line for a write-in candidate on their ballot (I received mine in the mail yesterday). As a former Big Ten kicker (Northwestern '93-'95) and Groza finalist, I take my responsibility seriously and assure you that any of the voters I know would consider writing-in a worthy candidate if he was not among the semi-finalists (or finalists). I know I have done so in the past, and a big game/make/miss by Swenson--perhaps against Penn State on 11/22 with a possible Big Ten title, Rose Bowl (MSU) and BCS championship berth (PSU) on the line--would definitely resonate with voters. Sam Valenzisi Chicago, IL"
So, there's still a chance for Swenson to get the recognition many of us think he deserves.