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(Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images via the Morning Call)

The Oscars?  Not so much, anymore.

The Grammys?  Boring as hell to me. 

The Tonys?  Are you kidding me?

That was my general reaction to all the national awards shows going into this summer - and don't get me started about the 'B' list of such shows, like the Golden Globes, MTV Music Awards, or the like.  (Even the Razzies don't really have my interest level anymore.)

But then again, I've never had a personal interest in any of them.

You see, ESPN's sports-themed awads show, the ESPYs, nominated Lehigh in their "Best Upset" category with - perhaps you've heard? - their victory over No. 2 seeded Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

And, suddenly, and unsurprisingly, ESPYs-mania takes over the Nation.

The ESPYs, which will be broadcast from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles starting at 9PM EDT on Wednesday, honors athletes and teams from all sports, from college to the pros, for their exploits from the 2011-2012 seasons.

Lehigh's victory over Duke is one of four nominees in the "Best Upset" category, along with Norfolk State's win over Missouri on the same day in the NCAA Tournament, the No. 8 seed L.A. Kings lifting the Stanley Cup, and Iowa State's improbable win over Oklahoma State in the college football season.

The folks at Lehigh Sports (and myself) lobbied everyone to vote for Lehigh for "best upset" early and often, and you've got to believe Lehigh has a great chance to take home the ESPY the same way Bucknell did in 2005, thanks to the fact that so many people seem to have a deep-seated hatred of the Blue Devils nationwide.

The Morning Call had a full-page spread about the experience today:

It hasn't hit most of his teammates yet, but F Holden Greiner was on board with his teammates when he said he was blind-sided by Lehigh's ESPY nomination for Best Upset.

"I'm a huge fan of the ESPYs," he said. "I love sports and comedy, and it's a nice blend. I've been watching the ESPYs almost my entire life and I didn't even think it was a category."

"I don't think anybody thought about [the ESPYs]," Mountain Hawk F John Adams said. "I think we're all proud of doing what we had to do to win that game. I completely forgot about the ESPYs."

While Adams has remained on campus after graduation until he finalizes his job plans, senior-to-be G B.J. Bailey was hundreds of miles away when the announcement was made.

The transfer from Boston University, who played an integral part in Lehigh's stretch run, had just spent 13 hours climbing a mountain in southern Utah when he found out the new-fashioned way.

"I check out Twitter and called up something from the Lehigh sports page and it said, 'so-and-so, Lehigh for Best Upset," Bailey recalled.

"So I go on Facebook and I see it there. A couple of hours later, I go back on Twitter and my people are tweeting 'just voted for my friend B.J. Bailey for their ESPY nomination.'"

Perhaps the best part of the story was at the end, where it was revealed that there were three invites for players to show up at the awards show in L.A. - for head coach Brett Reed, G C.J. McCollum and F Gabe Knutson.  - and their "dates".  "In a showing of solidarity," they called on G Mackey McKnight, F Jordan Hamilton and F John Adams to join them in Cali.

In addition, the Express-Times had an extended interview with Gabe on ESPYs mania as well:

“Honestly, I never imagined this,” said Knutson, who’ll catch a flight out of Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday morning. “It never crossed my mind. I don’t think anybody could have drawn it up any better than it happened. Obviously it’s a great honor to be nominated.”

The other nominees for the “Best Upset” Award are Norfolk State’s win over Missouri in men’s basketball, Iowa State’s triumph over Oklahoma State in NCAA football, and the Los Angeles Kings’ Stanley Cup Championship run.

“I’m not saying I expect us to win,” Knutson said. “The other three nominations were big-time upsets. I’m just really excited for our team.”

Iowa State LB Jake Knott graduated with Knutson from Waukee High School in Iowa and both are on the same flight to Los Angeles.

“It’s pretty cool to have a guy from the same high school to go with,” Knutson said. “QB Aaron Rodgers is going to be there and I’m a huge (Green Bay) Packers fan. Just to be there with all the other athletes should be a really neat experience.”

As for Houston, Texas native Mackey McKnight told me the person he most hopes to meet is QB Drew Brees, who swept the ESPYs back in 2010 after the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl title and is nominated for two ESPYs in this year's go-round.

"I'll be just enjoying the experience altogether, and being with the seniors one last time," he tweeted to me before departing for Los Angeles.

C.J. McCollum said to me, in his perenially focused way, that he was most looking forward to "the experience and meeting people. It should be a great event."

Most summers, Lehigh football and basketball fans are counting down the days until the fall.  But this year, their collective eyes will be live on ESPN at 9PM, seeing if the magical 2011-2012 Lehigh sports season will be capped with the ESPYs.


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