Least Cool Person of 2007-2008 championship: 1) Larry Taylor vs. 2) Mitch Barnhart

Abundance always carries with it a considerable price tag, and the media over saturation present in the world of modern sports is certainly no exception.

There is a price to be paid for unlimited highlights, statistics and analysis available at the press of a button or the click of a mouse, and perhaps the most significant sacrifice the modern fan has had to make is their ability to be blown away.

Amazing isn't amazing anymore. An individual performance that wows the nation is as foreign to this decade as an elaborate touchdown celebration was to the 1950s, or a steroid scandal was to the 1980s.

It is a privilege to be floored in this day and age, and today we celebrate the work of two men who gave us that privilege this season.

Larry Taylor signaling for a fair catch and then returning the punt 70 yards for a game-changing touchdown was Joe Namath guaranteeing victory before Super Bowl III. Him saying after the game that he didn't signal for the fair catch and then later saying that the move was premeditated, well that was Broadway Joe backing up his mouth.

When I watched Mitch Barnhart talk about turning down ESPN's offer to air the Louisville/Kentucky game on Labor Day night, I couldn't help but see Babe Ruth calling his shot in the '32 World Series. When he claimed that playing the game would make the Wildcats more susceptible to an upset five days later against Norfolk State, the vivid image of The Sultan of Swat blasting Charlie Root's curveball over the center field fence at Wrigley was undeniable.

Both of these men exist as superstars this morning, but when they're drinking their coffee this time tomorrow, only one will be a legend.

It's time.


1) LARRY TAYLOR - Punt Returner, Connecticut

Rap Sheet:

--Blatantly called for a fair catch before returning the ball 70-yards for a touchdown when the officials didn't blow the play dead.

--Made the following statement immediately after the game: "That wasn't no fair catch, that was a fair play out there. The referee didn't call anything, he said it was a fair play. I felt I didn't fair catch it anyway."

--Play very well may have cost Louisville the game, and ultimately a bowl bid.

--Had the nerve to claim that he had planned the act beforehand, and had made the official aware of his intentions.

--Attempted to repeat the maneuver multiple times in subsequent games, getting away with it twice against Cincinnati.

Redeeming Qualities:

--Plays for the relatively harmless and respectable Connecticut football program.

VS.

2) MITCH BARNHART - Director of Athletics, Kentucky



Rap Sheet:

--Put spite ahead of the well-being of his own program when he declined ESPN's offer to air the Louisville/Kentucky football game on Labor Day evening, presumably because it was what Tom Jurich wanted.

--When turning down the offer to have his team play in the time slot previously reserved for the Miami/Florida State rivalry, Barnhart used the excuse that playing on Monday would make Kentucky vulnerable for the following Saturday's home game against Norfolk State. Tennessee and UCLA ultimately accepted an offer to play the Labor Day evening game.

--Once again refused to sobbingly beg for forgiveness for his "we will own this state" remark when he took the Kentucky AD job in 2002.

--Looks goofy in pictures.

Redeeming Qualities:

--I thought he handled the multitude of Tubby/Gillispie situations well (the ones that stretched into this academic year).



It's all on you now. Who was the least cool person of the 2007-2008 Louisville sports season: Larry Taylor or Mitch Barnhart?


A champion will be crowned at midnight.

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