Reusse's 2012 Turkey of the Year

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2012 - 7:25 AM

The U likes its cupcakes, but who needs dessert if we take a buyout to call off the annual banquet?

The Turkey Banquet always has started promptly at 2:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The attendees have been trained to move to their tables when they notice on the TVs that the Detroit Lions are walking off the field, accompanied by boos from the smattering of fans that remain.

Today, the members of the Turkey Committee are facing unprecedented chaos in these hours before the scheduled start of the 35th annual banquet. A three-person panel has engaged in intense financial negotiations with Norwood Teague, the athletic director at Minnesota.

The explanation we've gotten from Teague (or Woody, as we know him on the committee) is that he had coaches in his major programs who were concerned about the potential results in these Turkey of the Year awards.

Teague came to us in his usual straightforward style, asking, "What would it take as a buyout to get you to cancel the Turkey Banquet?"

Initially, there was outrage at the mere suggestion that we could be paid not to stick to our schedule, but as we kicked it around, an understanding grew: For a proper sum, we would be eligible to play this banquet game for years to come.

Worthington's Andy Johnson, in only his second year on the committee, said: "I've done this before. I ran the Cruise Dinner for the Worthington YMCA. I know what it takes to win at this level. And we can build this up to a winning banquet in the years ahead if we're willing to change our schedule now."

That's why the committee still waits, to hear if Teague is going to come up with our discounted buyout price of $775,000 to cancel the Turkey Banquet.

Until then, the program must be readied, and here are the guests:

Terry Ryan. The Twins soared from 63 to 66 wins in his first year back as general manager. And then he shook up the coaching staff, with the footnote Paul Molitor wasn't "a fit." Let's see ... a Hall of Famer doesn't fit, but Scott Ullger -- from hitting coach, to third base, to bench, to first base -- still does?

Plus, Terry's cousin Paul Ryan couldn't carry his home county as a vice presidential candidate.

Lance Armstrong. The committee doesn't really give a urine sample that Armstrong was a better cheater than the cheaters he beat in seven Tours de France, but so many people contacted us on Lance's behalf it was decided to put him on the guest list.

McKayla Maroney. The U.S. gymnast has promised to fall down and then pout for us when she receives her Turkey statuette, which is everything we could ask for.

John L. Smith. This legendary wacko bailed without coaching a game at his alma mater of Weber State to jump at replacing failed motorcyclist Bobby Petrino at Arkansas. Big expectations have turned to 4-7 for the Hogs, including home losses by 52-0, 58-10 and to Louisiana-Monroe.

Dustin Penner. OK, Minnesotans, you can laugh at will over the tale of a broken hand suffered through knuckle pushups, but Penner -- a hulking hockey player -- admitted to suffering a back injury while reaching too enthusiastically to devour pancakes prepared by his lovely bride.

Seimone Augustus. Seimone was an embarrassment to her 2011 Star Tribune Sports Person of the Year award when she went 3-for-21 from the field and clanked the defending champ Lynx out of the WNBA Finals.

Bobby Valentine. The Red Sox should have called Temporaries of New England for a manager rather than hire this one-man wrecking crew to replace Terry Francona. Bobby V. was the worst managerial hire since Joe Quinn (12-104) with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.

Lance Easley. He was the late-arriving official who signaled a touchdown despite his blocked view to give Seattle a last-play win over the Packers. This call was the end of Easley and the rest of the replacement refs, but it didn't stop Lance from throwing down Jager bombs and taking photos with football fans a couple of nights later in a Fresno, Calif., bar.

Danny Valencia. Twins handed him a job. He gave it back within a month with his empty-headed approaches to hitting and fielding. And now he's established himself as a Triple-A lifer.

Jim Delany. Maryland and Rutgers? Next time the Big Ten commissioner has the audacity to mention that what really matters to his conference are "the student athletes," the committee hopes someone is nearby to hit him in the face with a mincemeat pie.

Craig Leipold. The Wild owner committed $197 million to give 13-year contracts to free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise on July 4. A couple of days later he was sitting at a table to set the stage for negotiations, insisting there had to be a limit on the number of years in these ridiculous NHL contracts.

And now we get to the head table, with a setting for six:

David Kahn. Stephon Curry was here beating the Timberwolves the other night, reminding the committee of Kahn's decision to pass on him in favor of Jonny Flynn. Brandon Roy lasted five games with his ruined knees, while Jamal Crawford has been lighting it up for the Clippers. The president for basketball deserves his place among the Turkey elites of 2012.

Royce White. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg should get a parade for keeping the court-dodging, totally unreliable White in the lineup and productive for the Cyclones last winter.

Zygi Wilf. The Turkey of Year for 2011 made a strong charge to become the first back-to-back Grand Turkey winner. He did this with his team's pompous response to Gov. Mark Dayton's concern over PSGs (personal seat gouges), particularly when you consider Dayton had more to do with getting Zygmunt a stadium than anyone.

Second runner-up: Trevor Mbakwe. We're constantly assured the Gophers' sixth-year senior is really a good kid, and if it wasn't for those dang arrests and probation hearings that keep popping up every few months, the committee might totally agree.

First runner-up: Jerry Kill. Country Jer came to town so unaware of what it's like in a big-time market that he was shocked at the fallout from the $800,000 fee paid to North Carolina to cancel a home-and-home series. But, hey, Kill turned things around at Southern Illinois, so why not buy into his constant reassurance that every move is part of a masterful plan that guarantees big success, and not an expensive act of cowardice?

And here's the Turkey of the Year: Tubby Smith.

Five seasons ago, Tubby left Kentucky and hired himself as the new coach at Minnesota. He hasn't won an NCAA tournament game. And in one glorious 12-hour period this fall, star player Mbakwe was avoiding jail in Miami, while Tubby's son and assistant coach, Saul Smith, was getting a DUI in the Twin Cities. Tubby's discipline? Close to nothing.

Entering Season 6, Tubby's teams have played their best in November, not March, which isn't exactly what Minnesota was after when it proferred the big-buck contract in April 2007.

That's it, although the committee must remind Turkey Banquet goers that all of this could be canceled, if Woody Teague gets the check for 775 grand to us before the Lions finish today's loss.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. • preusse@startribune.com

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Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Chicago 6:00 PM
Cleveland
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Washington
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19

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