Better Newspaper Contest

2014 Award Winners

Hoosier State Press Association - The Indiana Publisher - Better Newspaper Contest

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Page 52 of 67

Page 53 Best Sports Commentary/Category 13 First place Andy Graham The Herald-Times (Bloomington) Comments: Strong columns, with a sense of humor – and carefully written to appeal to fans. Second place George Bremer The Herald Bulletin (Anderson) Comments: Well-written commentary pieces that occasion- ally draw some real power from the author's real-life experi- ences. The column on Robert Mathis is especially powerful. Third place Bill Beck The Elkhart Truth Comments: Strongly argued and well-written piece about the woes driving a decline in Little League participation. Best Editorial Cartoonist/Category 14 See Page 12 for all divisions. Division 5 For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Pasadena dreamin' Andy Graham The Herald-Times (Bloomington) The primary symptom of rare seasonal malady Indianensis Augustitis, if regular readers will recall, is irrational optimism regarding Indiana football. Symptoms normally peak during late summer weeks. My brother-in-law Mark, as the phrase goes, "has got it bad." He's the guy who just emailed me a bird's-eye photo of an empty Rose Bowl stadium with this accompanying message: "Just imagine a big red & white INDIANA painted across the end zone!" One can imagine it. Especially if exposed to hallucinogens. Not that crazier notions haven't afflicted long- suffering humankind. I mean, at one point, somebody actually thought people would pay over a buck apiece for little bottles of water. Of water! You know, the stuff that comes out of the tap for free! Oh, wait … Anyhow, it seems Mark needs treatment. But the only known cure is to have sufferers watch Indiana football seasons unfold. Normally at some juncture, often early in a given campaign, the fever breaks. So to speak. How early might Mark be cured this fall? Well, let's just see, shall we? • Indiana State, Aug. 29: The Trees played IU within a TD at Memorial Stadium last fall and return terrific tailback Shakir Bell, who gouged the Hoosiers for 192 yards in 24 carries. And season openers are always potentially squirrelly. However, ISU is breaking in a new coaching staff and this is an improved Hoosier club. The hosts win and, since the game is on a Thursday night, have a couple of extra days to prepare for … • Navy, Sept. 7: The Hoosiers should have won at Annapolis last October, leading by nine with six minutes left. IU has done plenty of prep work for Navy's unusual "flexbone" offense over the past couple of years. And Indiana will have made the customary leap any club has from its opener to its second game, while this is the Middies' opener. IU will dedicate the prow of the USS Indiana as a permanent fixture at Memorial Stadium. And the Hoosiers will properly honor the Navy with ceremonial salutes. Then torpedo its football team. • Bowling Green, Sept. 15: The Falcons are a popular pick to win the Mid- American Conference East. And these Hoosiers need no reminders about how potent good MAC teams are, having been burned three straight times by Ball State – including a dramatic 41-39 game last season in which BSU made a series of heroic plays down the stretch and the Hoosiers, quite frankly, got hosed by the refs. Expect IU to extract a measure of revenge against one of Ball State's brethren in a close one. • Missouri, Sept. 21: Mizzou lost a stud tailback to a knee injury before its first SEC season began last fall, and quarterback James Franklin played hurt as the Tigers finished 5-7. This is a talented club, well-coached by Gary Pinkel, and has had its "Southern Baptism" of football fire. But this marks the Tigers' first road trip after a couple of easy home dates and they're not quite fully ready for the Hoosiers. IU ekes out a nip and tuck win in a shootout, then has two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten opener … • Penn State, Oct. 5: The Hoosiers are 0-for-forever against the Nittanys, having failed to make Happy Valley unhappy 16 straight times. PSU's Bill O'Brien earned 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in his league debut. And his front-line starters are formidable. But the scandal-related scholarship reductions start to bite this fall, and he has to hope the injury bug doesn't bite any further. He'll have a rookie quarterback at the helm. Indiana will have a full house awaiting, buoyed by the 4-0 start and with two weeks to get pumped. The Rock will be rocking. PSU won't post quite enough points. So Indiana starts 5-0? (Mark is going to be a basket case.) • At Michigan State, Oct. 12: Indiana's first road trip is to Spartan Stadium, a real house of Hoosier horrors over the years. But while MSU might again have the league's best defense, this remains an offensively challenged Spartan squad along the lines of the one fortunate to escape IU with a 31-27 win after trailing 27-14 at halftime last fall. This time, the Spartans can't quite rally. • At Michigan, Oct. 19: The Hoosiers harbor huge momentum heading into the Big House, but Michigan, which hasn't seen IU in Ann Arbor since the infamous 36-33 Bill Lynch Chewing Gum Game in 2009, doesn't take the Hoosiers quite seriously enough until it's too late. Michigan's defense hasn't dealt directly with IU's version of the spread before and struggles. The Wolverines join their 110,00 fans watching in stunned silence as Indiana freshman Laray Smith supplies the game-clinching kickoff return midway through the fourth. Hmmmm. IU now has the nation's full attention, a 7-0 record and two weeks to prepare for … • Minnesota (Home coming), Nov. 2: Coach Jerry Kill, like IU's Kevin Wilson in his third year of a rebuilding project, got Minnesota to a bowl last year and has done an admirable job. And quarterback Philip Nelson really came on as a freshman last fall. But this is just too tall an order for the Gilded Rodentia, who end up road (not Jerry) kill because they simply can't score at Indiana's pace. • Illinois, Nov. 9: Fans back in Champaign are really after coach Tim Beckman's scalp by this time, and his struggling Illini leave Bloomington without theirs. • At Wisconsin, Nov. 16: The big, bad, bogeyman Badgers of IU nightmares are themselves haunted by the bloated shade of Bret Bielema. Wisconsin fans who rolled out the barrel a bit too early are unfairly on new coach Gary Andersen's case, and this outing just makes things worse. As in 2001 – when Antwaan Randle El led a Hoosier team into Camp Randall after having watched IU sustain a 59-0 thrashing there just two years earlier – Indiana comes out hitting on all cylinders and never relents. Payback never tasted so sweet for giddy Hoosier players, coaches and fans. 10-0. "Fake Coach Wilson" renames his celebrated Twitter account "Fake Messiah." • At Ohio State, Nov. 23: The scores of IU's last two games against the Buckeyes are both a bit

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