ESPY Awards 2012: Predicting Winners for All Team-Based Accolades

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  The Kentucky Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The 2012 ESPY Awards will take place Wednesday, July 11 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Everyone should tune in to watch Rob Riggle scream incessantly and to see 33 accolades handed to some of the world's greatest athletes.

It doesn't get any better than that.

Most of the awards are based on individual achievements. They are given to athletes from every sport imaginable, but only three honors are given out based on team accomplishments.

The focus will be placed on the individual Wednesday night, but let's not rest our eyes in that direction right now.

It's time to predict the winners for the ESPYs' team-based awards.

Best Upset


Iowa State over Oklahoma State, NCAA Football

L.A. Kings, Stanley Cup

Lehigh over Duke, NCAA Tournament

Norfolk State over Missouri, NCAA Tournament

Predicted Winner: Norfolk State over Missouri

This award could go any which way, but Norfolk State's victory over Missouri defines improbable. The No. 15 seed isn't supposed to smell victory against the No. 2 seed in March Madness, let alone actually get a taste.

Spartan big man Kyle O'Quinn turned in a massive performance. The Spartans shot better than they ever had in their lives, and Missouri was sent packing.

Duke's upset loss to Lehigh was surprising, but C.J. McCollum's presence made it less so. Duke was a vulnerable squad from the beginning.

As for the other two, the Kings were unlikely, but anything can happen in hockey. Iowa State's overtime victory over then-undefeated Oklahoma State turned the college football world on its head, but it still doesn't match the sheer unlikelihood of the Spartans' victory over the Missouri Tigers.

Best Game


Missouri at Kansas, College Basketball

Rangers vs. Cardinals, World Series Game 6

49ers vs. Saints, NFL Playoffs

Predicted Winner: Rangers vs. Cardinals

I don't think this one bears much of an explanation. The Cardinals' series-changing victory in Game 6 was nothing short of remarkable.

St. Louis was down to its final strike twice, and twice the Cardinals rallied back. David Freese's walk-off home run in the 11th inning put a cap on one of the greatest baseball games of all time.

Missouri and Kansas played an outstanding game, but it didn't bear the weight of a Game 6 in the World Series. Thomas Robinson's game-saving block and stellar overall performance highlighted an outstanding Big 12 battle as March Madness approached.

The game between the 49ers and the Saints was close, as well, and it was a postseason matchup, but it still doesn't measure up. The chess match between San Francisco's defense and Drew Brees was anticipated, and it didn't disappoint.

But last year's World Series was one for the ages. I don't see this nomination being close in the end.

Best Team


Alabama Football

Baylor Women's Basketball

Kentucky Men's Basketball

Los Angeles Kings

Miami Heat

New York Giants

St. Louis Cardinals

Predicted Winner: Kentucky Men's Basketball

This award could be renamed "The Champion of Champions" award for this year. All of these teams are excellent and dominated the competition when it mattered most this season, but only one team can take home the honor.

I give the nod to Kentucky for a few reasons.

They accomplished what no one thought a young group could, and they did it with a high-powered microscope burning through their backs the entire time. John Calipari's squad faced inordinate expectations, and they answered them each time they stepped onto the floor.

That isn't easy to do. This team was special. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist redefined the definition of "leader" to include 19-year-old kids in the conversation. Their supporting cast was excellent, and Calipari did a masterful job of steering the ship.

The Heat will receive some votes, but their NBA championship was much more predictable.

The same goes for Alabama's BCS championship and the Baylor women's basketball team's claiming the NCAA crown. Both were extremely dominant squads, but that success was anticipated.

Kentucky's biggest threats are the Cardinals and the Giants. Eli Manning's second Super Bowl victory came after an unlikely run to get to the NFL's ultimate game, and the Cardinals battled injuries and adversity to win the World Series.

None of these accomplishments should be shortchanged, but there was just something about that Kentucky squad this year.

What they did was special to watch, and they deserve some love Wednesday evening.


    Iconic Sports Illustrated Writer Deford Dies at Age 78

    Media logo

    Iconic Sports Illustrated Writer Deford Dies at Age 78

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report