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Best Of 2004

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Individual College Athletic Performance

When Dathan Ritzenhein came to CU two years ago from Michigan, he was one of the most highly touted prospects to arrive at the Boulder campus in any sport. But the first-ever winner of two consecutive Foot Locker cross-country championships was kept out of the running last year with an early stress fracture of his leg. This time around, though, the red-shirt sophomore made up for lost time. In November he ran away with the NCAA Division I cross-country championships, blistering through the 6.2-mile course at a pace of 4:43 per mile. Bonus points: Ritzenhein was the second Buff in a row to win the race. Last year, senior harrier Jorge Torres finished on top.


Best New Slogan for CU Buffs

Just as Governor Bill "Sparky" Owens was able to turn the fearsome 2002 wildfire season into a national promotion for Centennial State s'mores, surely the University of Colorado and its spin-meisters can capitalize on all of the national press over the recruiting-party sex-assault scandal. Boulder's already given a whole new meaning to the term "student body " -- why not make it part of the Buffs' randy brand?


Best New Slogan for CU Buffs

Just as Governor Bill "Sparky" Owens was able to turn the fearsome 2002 wildfire season into a national promotion for Centennial State s'mores, surely the University of Colorado and its spin-meisters can capitalize on all of the national press over the recruiting-party sex-assault scandal. Boulder's already given a whole new meaning to the term "student body " -- why not make it part of the Buffs' randy brand?

Best Next Career for John Elway

We really, really want John to do well at something. Anything, really. After all, he's our icon, our stainless hero. So it'd be nice to have him around for a while longer -- at least until someone better comes along. The problem is figuring out what, exactly, he's good at. He can't start a successful new business (see ya, MVP.com). He's not that good at interpersonal relationships (buh-bye, Janet). He's a better-than-average duffer, but nowhere near professional caliber. In fact, being a retired Elway is not unlike being a retired politician: Everything he's done before has prepared him for nothing after. Our advice? Stick to the two things you know and accept a high-level position with Broncos boss Pat Bowlen: special assistant in charge of acquiring team cars.


Best Next Career for John Elway

We really, really want John to do well at something. Anything, really. After all, he's our icon, our stainless hero. So it'd be nice to have him around for a while longer -- at least until someone better comes along. The problem is figuring out what, exactly, he's good at. He can't start a successful new business (see ya, MVP.com). He's not that good at interpersonal relationships (buh-bye, Janet). He's a better-than-average duffer, but nowhere near professional caliber. In fact, being a retired Elway is not unlike being a retired politician: Everything he's done before has prepared him for nothing after. Our advice? Stick to the two things you know and accept a high-level position with Broncos boss Pat Bowlen: special assistant in charge of acquiring team cars.

Best Next Career for Gary Barnett
Custodian of the primate house, Denver Zoo
Christopher Smith

Yes, yes, we know. Not all of the evidence has been collected and analyzed. The strippers have not laid their souls bare. The bills from the liquor store are still coming in. And the regents have not yet admitted that they, too, smoked a little dope in their undergraduate days. Nonetheless, the recruiting, rape and party scandal that has shaken the University of Colorado football program to its foundation has yielded one incontrovertible fact: Whether he was an enabler or not, whether he endorsed the late-night frolicking or he didn't, head football coach Gary Barnett made little effort to grasp what was going on or not going on with his players. And that makes him an ideal guy for a new career mopping out the monkey cages at the zoo. You know: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.


Best Next Career for Gary Barnett

Yes, yes, we know. Not all of the evidence has been collected and analyzed. The strippers have not laid their souls bare. The bills from the liquor store are still coming in. And the regents have not yet admitted that they, too, smoked a little dope in their undergraduate days. Nonetheless, the recruiting, rape and party scandal that has shaken the University of Colorado football program to its foundation has yielded one incontrovertible fact: Whether he was an enabler or not, whether he endorsed the late-night frolicking or he didn't, head football coach Gary Barnett made little effort to grasp what was going on or not going on with his players. And that makes him an ideal guy for a new career mopping out the monkey cages at the zoo. You know: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

Best Sports Quote

CU football's sex-and-recruiting mess has inspired many a wiseguy's raw humor, but the lantern-jawed host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno, nailed the thing cold on February 25 during his monologue. To wit: "Today the Taliban denounced the University of Colorado for its treatment of women."


Best Sports Quote

CU football's sex-and-recruiting mess has inspired many a wiseguy's raw humor, but the lantern-jawed host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno, nailed the thing cold on February 25 during his monologue. To wit: "Today the Taliban denounced the University of Colorado for its treatment of women."

Best Trial in the Court of Public Opinion

Say what you will about L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant and that scrape he got into last summer up at Cordillera. Everybody else does. Thousands of Denver Nuggets fans have apparently already reached a verdict in Kobe's rape case, and they aren't afraid to announce it from the cheap seats. When the Lakers visited the Pepsi Center for the first time this season, the Los Angeles hoopster was mercilessly booed and jeered every time he touched the ball, and whenever he stood at the foul line to shoot a free throw, the assembled multitudes chanted at him: "Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!" No one knows how the case will turn out, but for once, Denver won a game against the Lakers. Final score: 113-91.

Best Trial in the Court of Public Opinion

Say what you will about L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant and that scrape he got into last summer up at Cordillera. Everybody else does. Thousands of Denver Nuggets fans have apparently already reached a verdict in Kobe's rape case, and they aren't afraid to announce it from the cheap seats. When the Lakers visited the Pepsi Center for the first time this season, the Los Angeles hoopster was mercilessly booed and jeered every time he touched the ball, and whenever he stood at the foul line to shoot a free throw, the assembled multitudes chanted at him: "Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!" No one knows how the case will turn out, but for once, Denver won a game against the Lakers. Final score: 113-91.

Best Plea for Acquittal

It's impossible to know if he was motivated by sincerity, self-interest or an undeniable urge to expand his social life at high altitude, but when embattled L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant was asked in mid-February what teams he might consider signing with should he exercise his options next year as a free agent, the name "Denver Nuggets" immediately sprang to his lips. Really. Truly. Wonder if Stan Kroenke would throw in a furnished condo west of Vail and the phone numbers of some unattached chambermaids?


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Best Individual College Athletic Performance: Dathan Ritzenhein

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