Looking back at 2011: Dan Wetzel’s year in columns
I filed around 220 columns/podcasts this year for Yahoo! Sports (149 about either pro or college football), and per tradition, I’ll make the final one easy by linking to some of the more memorable.
Thanks to everyone who read or listened and helped Yahoo! Sports again set records for online readership. This may be a job, but on most days it isn’t work. And while no one is going to agree with everything I write, I try to report fully and put effort into each column.
So here’s what I’ll remember, everything from a mournful Final Four locker room, to a crowded diner with Don King explaining how he killed a man with his bare hands, to a joyous bar in Cleveland as LeBron lost, to the publication of a gut-wrenching grand jury presentment.
Jan. 3: Pryor’s acts expose charade of college athletics
Terrelle Pryor was the unwitting truth-teller of college sports. At this point, Ohio State thought it had everything under control.
Jan. 24: Social media attack dooms Cutler
Like a pack of junior high girls, NFL players turned on Jay Cutler, who was labeled soft before he had a chance to explain himself.
Jan. 26: Don King Is Still Selling
Don King has been called the epitome of an American con man and the embodiment of the American Dream. At 79, he hasn’t slowed down much.
Feb. 16: Floyd, Eustachy home in on success
On the way to the top, Tim Floyd once sold Larry Eustachy a house. On the day that their teams met, they were no longer golden, just a lot more content.
[Video: The top sports story of 2011]
March 28: A father’s choice: Family over Final Four dreams
Thabiti Boone is my vote for Father of the Year – a March Madness winner in the end.
March 30: BCS conducts shallow probe as party rages on
The Fiesta Bowl “embarrassed” the BCS, which chose to blame the givers, not the receivers, in its pathetic circle of cronyism.
April 4: Butler goes down its way
The Bulldogs fell short in the NCAA final, but the postgame scene showed what the program is about.
June 3: Taunting or not, Heat fired up Mavs
The NBA Finals was a gift to columnists. Here’s where a bit of preening between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade may have marked the beginning of the end.
June 12: LeBron’s failure warms Cleveland’s heart
I watched Dallas finish off Miami in downtown Cleveland. There was a lot of laughter.
Aug. 17: Miami scandal is symptom of NCAA flaws
Donna Shalala and her NCAA cohorts are to blame for the “scandals” that rocked college sports this year.
[ Yahoo! Year in Review: The standout news of 2011, top 10s and more]
Oct. 7: Brown recognized as Arkansas football trailblazer
In 1965 one man tried to single-handedly integrate Southern football. First he failed, then he was forgotten. Meet the remarkable Darrell Brown.
Oct. 16: Harbaugh unapologetic about his emotional style
Jim Harbaugh fired up San Francisco and on this day wasn’t backing down from an angry Jim Schwartz.
Nov. 5: Miles flips the script as LSU sinks Alabama
In the latest Game of the Century, Les Miles avoided his signature antics and beat Nick Saban at his own game.
Nov. 5: Penn State’s insufficient action amid child sex allegations stunning
I wrote this just an hour after the Jerry Sandusky grand jury presentment became public. The story only got worse.
Nov. 25: Suh’s distorted self-image meeting reality
Ndamukong Suh has made himself out to be a working-man’s hero, but his tactics paint a different picture of the defensive tackle.
Dec. 3: SEC reaps reward of rejected playoff plan
Down on the title game rematch? Don’t blame the SEC, which tried to save college football from the BCS.
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• Yahoo! Year in Review: Standout news of 2011, top 10s and more