From Jim to Jeff to Harvey, it’s been a crazy year already

With several fall sports set to hit full stride within the next couple of weeks, this seems like a good time to sit back and reflect upon the happenings-to-date in the local and national sports worlds.
The following is a list of early favorites for end-of-the-year awards. The envelopes please …
Most unexpected start award, Gophers athletics:
Well, this one is a no-brainer. After compiling a 12-32 record in his first three years at the helm, Gophers football coach Jim Wacker has his troops off to a 3-0 start, including a dramatic 35-33 win over then-No. 23 Syracuse. Who would have thought?
Runner up: The Minnesota women’s volleyball team, under the direction of first-year coach Mike Hebert, is 10-5 after a straight-set win over No. 8 Ohio State. The Gophers are now only three victories shy of their entire total last season.
Caution: The football team’s last-second home victory over Ball State may be closer to the truth than its upset of Syracuse. But the team definitely has some winnable games left, and three more victories could send the Gophers bowling for the first time since the Reagan administration.
Biggest disappointments award, college football:
Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Nebraska. The Big 12 looks more like the Big Hype and nothing else right now. The Aggies are 1-3 and the Sooners are winless. Nobody expected Nebraska to win forever, but a shutout at Arizona State? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Caution: Oklahoma may not win a game this season, and Texas A&M may start 1-7.
Bad karma award:
Atlanta Falcon’s quarterback Jeff George and head coach June Jones. George is and always has been a head case. He’s got a great arm, but it’s uncomfortable for him to throw with a foot in his mouth.
Runner-up: Ohio State head coach John Cooper and the Notre Dame bench. Anyone who tuned into the “battle of the century” Saturday was treated to a fracas towards the end of the fourth quarter. Cooper was hardly a peacemaker. ABC field microphones picked up a few choice phrases that had nothing to do with maternity, yet still included the word “mother.”
Caution: Drop George from your fantasy football league team at once. He may toil in obscurity longer than you think.
Jekyll-and-Hyde award:
Syracuse football team.
How did Syracuse respond to being pasted by North Carolina and edged by the Gophers? They handed Virginia Tech a 52-21 defeat, ending the longest current winning streak in Division I-A football.
A few more convincing Syracuse wins would make Minnesota’s triumph seem even larger. Only time will tell.
Caution: Another roller coaster team, Purdue, plays host to the Gophers this weekend. What looked like a probable Minnesota road victory turned cloudy after the Boilermakers beat North Carolina State by three touchdowns last weekend.
Best quote award, Gophers athletics:
Sue Montagne, Minnesota’s soccer coach, after the team’s 3-1 loss against Wisconsin: “Frankly, I’m embarrassed.” C’mon, coach. Tell it like it is.
Caution: Don’t expect Montagne to need those words for the rest of the Big Ten season.
Bad news, bad news award:
Gophers women’s basketball team.
Well, here’s the bad news: Minnesota was 4-23 last season, including a big goose egg in 16 tries during the conference season.
And now for the bad news: The team only has nine players on the roster right now after Cheri Stafford, one of their best players last season, was lost to season-ending knee surgery.
Caution: The team still plans to compete this season.
Hop on the bandwagon award:
Minnesota football fans, be it pro or college. It’s funny how many people come out of the woodwork after a few wins.
It’s funnier how many run and hide after a few losses. After the Vikings’ tumble against New York this weekend, there may be some fans circling the wagon already.
Caution: The teams could just as easily be a combined 1-7 instead of vice-versa.