ITEM: Florida's sensational quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore ever awarded the Heisman Trophy last Saturday and he tells the world: "I am fortunate, fortunate for a lot of things. God truly blessed me and this just adds on. It's an honor."
ITEM: Hawaii football coach June Jones, after his Warriors defeated Washington to go undefeated and earn a BCS berth, tells ESPN: "Our kids have never quit all year. We've been in these situations on the road and they've rallied. I'm so proud of them. You know the good Lord has blessed these kids because they've honored him."
ITEM: Before his lightweight bout in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last Saturday, boxer Edner Cherry told reporter Benny Henderson: "I just want to give honor to God. God opens the door that no man could open. God has made this happen. I am ready for (Wes) Ferguson physically, mentally and I am prepared for this fight again."
ITEM: Before the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, Colt coach Tony Dungy told the media: "The Lord set this up in a way that no one would believe it. The Lord tested us a lot this year, but He set this up to get all the glory."
ITEM: In Birmingham, Ala., after Cordova High School won the 3A state title last week over Clay County, Cordova head coach Scott Basden said: "I thank God above for blessing us and allowing me to coach these guys."
ITEM: Gabe Muoneke, a D-League professional basketball player, crediting his college career to Deloss Dodds, writes in his blog that he was lucky to run into Dodds: "I feel God grants His 'luck.'"
ITEM: Colorado women's basketball coach Kathy McConnell-Miller, after her team defeated its second top-25 opponent in five days, told KKZN radio last weekend: "I have to praise this team, and I have to thank God for the fact that they came in here today and they were very poised."
ITEM: In Orlando, after his Pahokee High team won the 2A Florida State Football title last Saturday, assistant coach Don Thompson told the Palm Beach Post: "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. I just thank God that he's still around to help me out."
ITEM: Last Saturday, Indonesia's 17-year-old bowler Tannya Roumimper, the No. 18-ranked bowler in Asia, won the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in Bangkok, then told the Jakarta Post: "I only hoped to get a medal whatever color it was, but God gave me a gift beyond my expectations. I didn't think I'd win a gold medal. Thank God. I prayed for my team so we could perform well in other events."
ITEM: A week ago in Nigeria, golfer Christian Godfrey won his biggest paycheck in Port Harcourt, a part of the President's Cup. Said Godfrey: "We wanted to take the trophy back with us to Abuja. I have to thank God ... like I said, I think it was more about fate for me."
ITEM: After catching an unbelievable fourth-and-18 pass from Max Hall on Nov. 24 to set up an unlikely win over rival Utah, BYU sophomore receiver Austin Collie is asked by reporter Pat Kinehan if luck played a part in the play.
Collie answers: "I wouldn't say it was lucky. We executed the play well. We should have had another one (TD). Obviously, if you do what's right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it. Magic happens."
In the ensuing five days, Collie became the object of ridicule set on by the media, belying conjecture over what he implied, intended to say, meant to convey and declare. It was a topic handed off through multiple shifts of TV and radio talk show hosts and print commentary.
Only in Utah.
The result was by far the most unsophisticated furor over nothing in what's become an ugly and mislabeled "Holy War." Spurred on by the Fourth Estate hyping up the game for a week of hatred, it's akin to pinching a puss-filled boil. BYU-Utah week has become archaic and boringly predictable. The coverage of the Collie quote climbs to the top of the list of Utah Sports Low Points of 2007.
I'll defend the right of folks to question Collie and my media brethren to make hay of any issue. But that same ticket got Howard Cosell in trouble when he said, "Look at that little monkey run," to describe Washington Redskins black receiver Alvin Garrett. It got Don Imus the boot for a similar indescretion.
Granted, the Collie flare-up doesn't rise to the political incorrectness of those two sports gaffes, but overshadowing The Catch with The Quote is in the same ZIP code of media dumbness.God doesn't care that Tim Tebow won the Heisman instead of Colt Brennen; nor does he favor BYU or Utah in a game of football. But in a secular society where spirituality is a vacuum, so what if Tebow or Collie emotionally salute their maker?
ITEM: On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Collie said of the ruckus: "I really think it's because I'm a Mormon white kid from Brigham Young University. Anybody else says that from any other team, and it's just 'how spiritual that guy is.'"Give the kid a divining stick and point him to a pasture.