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The inaugural Scratchies

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scratchies logo award (2).jpgWhat happens when you have no games, finals week, the end of the year approaching and a blogger with time on his hands? You get the Scratchies (not a skin disease). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud (or embarrassed) to introduce the inaugural Scratchies, an end-of-the-semester awards rundown that I plan hope to do at the end of every fall and spring semester to recap the previous athletics season.

Not to be confused with ESPN's Herbie Awards or UK's end-of-the-year CATSPY Awards, the Scratchies offer no actual hardware of glitzy awards show. Instead, these honorees have earned the appreciation of a lowly blogger trying to pass the time of a six-day game-less stretch.

Nonetheless, check back during finals week of the spring semester for the Spring Semester 2011 Scratchies Awards. Without further ado, I give you the 2010 Fall Semester Scratchies. And please feel free to disagree and comment on who you think should have won.

MVW (Most Valuable Wildcat)
Randall Cobb, football
- Who else? Mr. Do Everything was, well, just about everything for the Kentucky football team. He caught passes, ran the ball from the quarterback position, returned punts and kicks, held snaps, took out your trash, and even got the paper. What didn't Cobb do this year? He led the Southeastern Conference with 2,192 all-purpose yards, broke the career touchdown mark at UK and was the program's first Associated Press first-team All-American since Derek Abney in 2002.

The Dream Team (team of the semester)
Men's basketball - I'm going to take a lot of grief for this one because the Cats are only nine games into the season, but John Calipari's team has been the most impressive through the first semester. Given the schedule UK has had to manage through - most computers rank Kentucky's early season slate as one of the toughest in the nation - and the players Calipari had to replace, the Cats have played remarkably well in early season tests. Enes Kanter's status remains up in the air, but this team still has a chance to make a deep run come March.

RBW_6808.jpgThe Adolph Rupp Award (coach of the semester)
Craig Skinner, volleyball
- One could make a case for Skinner winning this award just about every year. Too often overlooked for his team's accomplishments, Skinner has put together arguably the steadiest program at UK in guiding the Cats to six straight NCAA Tournament berths. The team's appearance this year may have been his most impressive. Despite losing All-SEC stalwarts Sarah Rumely, BriAnne Sauer and Sarah Mendoza, and losing four of five midway through the season, Kentucky rallied down the stretch to win six of seven and make the NCAA Tournament.

The Jose Bautista Award (most improved player)
Danny Trevathan, football
- Danny Trevathan has long been touted as the next great in a recent trend of star linebackers at Kentucky, but nobody could have predicted Trevathan would have the type of breakthrough season he enjoyed in 2010. On a defense in serious need of a leader, Trevathan emerged from last year's somewhat limited role and became one of the best linebackers in the SEC. Trevathan led the SEC with 130 tackles.

The Butler Award (surprise team)
Women's soccer - In Jon Lipsitz's first season as head coach, the Cats struggled just to find the back of the net much less wins. A season after scoring 11 goals on the year, Lipsitz's 2010 team managed to match that in two games alone against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. With a newfound offense and a continually stingy defense, the Cats made the SEC Tournament and nearly pulled off an upset of No. 2 seed South Carolina. With most of this season's starters returning next year, the future is extremely bright.

One Shining Moment (best moment)
Football's upset of No. 10 South Carolina
- Joker Phillips notched one of the few signature victories that his predecessor, Rich Brooks, could not attain. In snapping a 10-game losing streak to South Carolina and beating coach Steve Spurrier for the first time, UK ended one of the notorious streaks that has plagued the program. Mike Hartline's 24-yard pass to Randall Cobb put the Cats ahead and Anthony Mosley's interception in the end zone sealed the victory.

The "band is out on the field" Award (best game)
Volleyball's upset of No. 15 LSU
- In desperate need of a marquee win to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume, the Kentucky volleyball team rallied for a come-from-behind 3-2 win over defending conference champion LSU on Senior Day. The victory proved to be the turnaround victory Skinner's team was looking for as the Cats made their fifth straight NCAA Tournament.

52_UK_Vanderbilt_14_ASB.JPGThe Doug Flutie Hail Mary Award (best play)
Cobb's sensational run
- Already in the midst of a career rushing day against Vanderbilt, Randall Cobb saved his best run for last. On a designed throw from the quarterback position, the 5-foot-10, 186-pound junior scrambled away from two would-be sacks, ran down the left sideline, cut it back across the field and shook a couple more defenders -- all before finally running out of gas and stepping out of bounds on the right sideline.

The Cam Newton Award (breakthrough player)
Eric Quigley, men's tennis
- Not that Quigley isn't already a star at UK, but this fall season cemented his status as one of the best players of the 2010-11 athletics class. Quigley won the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Indoor Championship in dominating fashion, defeating the country's No. 1-ranked player. Quigley also made school history by becoming only the sixth player in school history to play in the finals of a collegiate grand slam.

All-Calipari Team (All-Freshman team)
Caitlin Landis, women's soccer
- Scored seven goals in her first season
Brandon Knight, men's basketball - Averaging 17.4 points and has dished out 33 assists through his first nine career games
Tyler Beadle, men's soccer - Recorded four shutouts as the full-time starter
Maegan Conwright, women's basketball - First-year point guard is averaging 9.1 points
Emily Holsopple, rifle - Represented UK at the USA Shooting Championships

All-Up-and-Comers (non-freshmen on the rise)
Sophomore Stephanie Klefot, volleyball
- Named SEC Libero of the Year
Sophomore Chelsea Oswald, cross country - Won the Iona Meet of Champions this fall
Sophomore Larry Warford, football - Garnered All-SEC honors in first full-time duty
Junior Kelsey Hunyadi, women's soccer - Led UK with eight goals despite missing four games
Junior DeAndre Liggins, men's basketball - Sure, he's a veteran, but in his first season as a starter, he's averaging 9.9 points

All-Wildcat Team (The Scratchies equivalent of the All-America team)
Freshman Terrence Jones, men's basketball
- Leads the team in scoring (18.9) and rebounding (10.2)
Senior Victoria Dunlap, women's basketball - Reigning SEC Player of the Year leads the SEC in scoring (19.3), rebounding (11.4), steals (3.7) and blocks (2.3).
Senior Lauren Rapp, volleyball - Finished seventh in school history with 1,280 kills
Eric Quigley, men's tennis - See above
Randall Cobb, football - See above

All-Rex Ryan Team (when you need a sound bite, these are your go-to guys)
Senior Ricky Lumpkin, football
Ian Collins, men's soccer
Jon Lipsitz, women's soccer
Derrick Locke, football
Amber Smith, women's basketball

A77G2095.jpgThe Craig Sager Award (best dressed)
Jon Lipsitz, women's soccer -
He wears a suit on the sidelines of every soccer game. Enough said. And yes, that Craig Sager Award has just a touch of sarcasm to it. And no, Lipsitz does not dress like Craig Sager.

The Streak (strangest stat or streak)
Overtime, anyone?
- The men's soccer team played in a school-record nine overtime games in 2010. The nine overtime games came during a 12-game stretch in which the Cats battled a slew of injuries.

The Steve Bartman Award (best blooper)
Chris Matthews, football
- During one of Joker Phillips' weekly news conferences, Matthews, who had just finished up with interviews of his own, sat in the back of the media room minding his business while dozens of reporters fired questions at Phillips. In a rather quiet room, a loud bang turned the attention of everyone to Matthews lying on the floor. Matthews had leaned back too far and fell out of his seat. It was one of those things where you had to be there.

He said what? (quote of the semester)
"I love that kid. He does everything that you want a center or a big man to do. He plays ball screens great, he rebounds the basketball, he blocks shots. He's the mother hen out there." - Boston coach Patrick Chambers on men's basketball forward Josh Harrellson

The "Get Your Popcorn Ready" Award (best celebration/dance)
Matthew Mitchell, women's basketball
- Already famous/notorious (you choose the adjective) for being one of the most outspokenly confident and hilarious men in UK's athletics department, Mitchell saved his best moment for this year's Big Blue Madness. With "The Dougie" being the craze these days, Mitchell decided to bust out the move in front of 24,000 fans during the UK women's basketball team's introductions. Only the video itself of the dance can do it justice.

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