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Monday, October 5, 2009
This and That

By Dick Vitale

Each week I talk about the world of sports:

• It's time to unveil my awards for Major League Baseball's 2009 season. I am not Peter Gammons, but I love the sport and follow it closely. For the MVPs, I am going with Albert Pujols (a runaway) and Joe Mauer edging out Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. For the Cy Young, I am going with Chris Carpenter of St. Louis is a close call, and Zach Greinke of Kansas City over Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia. For Manager of the Year, I am picking Jim Tracy of Colorado for reviving the team after taking it over; I like Ron Gardenhire in the AL. Remember, the Twins stayed in the race despite Justin Morneau's absence down the stretch. He edges Joe Girardi of the Yankees.

• I can't wait to see the Florida-LSU game this weekend. I hope that Tim Tebow is OK to play following his concussion at Kentucky. This should be fun to see two top five teams doing battle. Baton Rouge on a Saturday night should be rocking and rolling, and the Tigers are out to avenge a 51-21 in The Swamp last season. Les Miles' team showed a lot of heart by scoring late to win at Georgia last week.

• Speaking of LSU-Georgia, two late calls of excessive celebration really bothered me. It is time to change that rule. These are college kids, playing before 70,000 or 80,000 (or more in some cases), and after scoring in crunch time, what are you expecting them to do. If they are not taunting the opposition, let them enjoy their moment in the son and celebrate. The penalty against Georgia proved costly as LSU got good field position, plus another Bulldog penalty en route to the winning touchdown by Charles Scott.

• The New Orleans Saints are for real, my friends! Drew Brees didn't have to have a monster game to beat the Jets. It is time for some credit for the New Orleans defense, which has played well this season. Pierre Thomas had a great second half running the football.

• Do you think Tony Romo will hear some criticism this week? Fair or unfair, he has gone two straight games without a touchdown pass and Dallas' loss at Denver was a tough one to swallow. Jerry Jones should be in the headlines, but it may be for the wrong reasons. You know he is not happy these days.

• Peyton Manning just keeps on rolling. No surprise as he put up another 300-yard passing game, spreading the ball to several receivers. Guys named Garcon and Collie are stepping up and making a difference now that Marvin Harrison is gone and Anthony Gonzalez is injured.

• Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame is starting to remind me of Joe Montana during his college days. Clausen threw for 422 yards in a thrilling win over Washington in overtime. He finds ways to win games at the end, like he did against Michigan State and Purdue.

• Cincinnati defeated Miami-Ohio and South Florida got past Syracuse. My friends, the Bearcats of Brian Kelly are going to have quite a showdown against Jim Leavitt's gang on a Thursday night on ESPN. I am looking forward to being there for that one!

• The Dodgers finally clinched the NL West on Saturday, beating the Rockies. Youngster Clayton Kershaw pitched a brilliant game to lock up the division title. Joe Torre's team really needed a big win to put this away, setting up a showdown against Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals. That should be an interesting series.

• Training camp has started in the NBA. The Lakers have Ron Artest on their roster, and I think he will get along fine with Kobe Bryant. Look for Artest to be a defensive dynamo for Phil Jackson. There won't be controversy there.