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 Coming to you soon, a grid-lock of train wrecks that not even Superman could stop.

Chad Johnson wants to bail on the Cincy Bengals, and frankly, do you blame him? The Bengals are just one quarterback knee injury away from becoming a complete, flaming ball-of-fire train wreck. Their quarterback reserves are from Harvard, UTEP, and Nevada. Oh yeah, it's coming. Since Chris Henry decided that life was more fun off the field, the Bengals' list of serious talent has been reduced to a Heisman-winning quarterback and a wide receiver whose name nobody can spell correctly. Ohio is going to have a loooong Winter.

The entire state of sports in Ohio is a total SNAFU. The Browns? Stink. Indians? Reek. Cavaliers? Except for LBJ, stink. The Bulls? Stink. (and yes I know they aren't in Ohio, but since so many fans are forced to choose between the Cavs and the Bulls, I mention them since they have a lot of Ohioan fans) Akron? Kent State? Miami? Stink. Stink. Stink.

Thank goodness the Buckeyes stepped up to the plate, otherwise, the SEC fans wouldn't have any fodder for their current "0-8" chant.



It's not just the state of Ohio who is nervously looking down the railroad tracks- it's the entire Midwest, aka the Big Ten.



Penn State is now resting their hopes on Pat Devlin. Who? Suddenly, Morelli is missed. After their stud linebacker Sean Lee got hurt, Linebacker U is suddenly looking like Pee-U. Then there's Wisconsin, who, as usual, is excitedly looking forward to the new year with misty eyes and false hopes. A quick look at their schedule is impressive, with three consecutive "tough games" at Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. A closer inspection, however, reveals the cupboard of cupcakes that has been the downfall of the Badgers' football program: Akron, Marshall and Cal Poly. All home games, of course. Capitol One has already penciled you in for their bowl. Some things never change.

Wolverine fans must be taking some serious meds to try and refrain from having total meltdowns over the nervousness of their football season's outlook. There's those expensive new renovations to the Big House, all of which will be paid for by the surely-impending ticket face price-raises. If you are a Big Blue fan, do you really want to fork over more money to watch a spread offense run by pro-set players? Already two players have bolted from the program (Petrino has sent his thank you note) and they still don't have a starting quarterback. But it could be worse. You could be an Irish fan.



You can count three two guaranteed wins for the Irish against San Diego State, Pitt and Syracuse, but the rest of the games is going to be ugly. When your coach is making over 3 mil a year due to his great offensive mind, you have to wonder why your team is in dead last place, that's #119, for total offense. Scoring offense isn't much better, at #116. Like a deer in headlights, Weis saw the train coming, and decided to hand over the O to his OC.

This, of course, is a decision that will guarantee the Chuckster's demise. If the OC is moderately more successful than Weis, then he makes Weis look overrated as an offensive genius. If the OC doesn't fix the offensive mess, then the boosters and alumni will be angry at Weis for not taking charge and delegating poorly.

Either way, Weis is toast. When players start bolting from Notre Dame (no football player in his right mind leaves Notre Dame as a transfer) without a degree in their hands and opt for Northern Illinois instead, the message is clear. Chuckles has switched the tracks and is causing a once giant locomotive to look like a broken Little Engine that could.

Too bad they don't have UCLA on their schedule this year......

Of course, being a "gutty little Bruin" has now taken an entire new turn in Westwood. Rick Neuheisel has experienced mutiny for the first time this Tuesday, and already there are grumblings from once-excited fans. Seems every year, the team picks an "over-the-wall day" during Spring practice. The team huddles, makes some loud noises, then rushes over the field wall and calls it a day. Ditch day without permission from the coaching staff.



This phenomenal occurrence might explain why the Bruins have done so poorly this decade; the players take days off! Think this team is a probable candidate to take the short bus to games? I wonder what Norm Chow is now thinking of his new project.

What kind of great tradition has players running away from practice? Furthermore, they didn't even go over the wall this year....they ran out of practice through a gate! True, it could have been a faster way to leave the field, but then again, it's reminiscent of rats leaving a sinking ship, isn't it? It's called "over the wall day", not "through the gate day," and for some reason, the Bruins wimped out on their own tradition.

Considering that they lost 25 seniors- 17 of them starters - and the only two starters they return are the same quarterbacks from last year- Gimpy and Limpy - you would think they would want to sort some issues out. Like a new offense, a new head coach's regiment, and oh, I don't know, replacing almost the entire secondary and most of the O-line. And finding the lucky quarterback who can outrun the pass rush and not fold like a lawn chair. Any takers?

But they have their priorities, now don't they? They take the day off, ( Neuheisel has got to being going insane with his new NCAA image makeover, don't ya think?) and because they had some meetings and did some work on the field before the players bailed, the NCAA considers that a practice day being used. They can't get it back. Kinda like that Las Vegas Bowl loss to BYU.

Although Neuheisel did instigate this same tradition when he was quarterback at UCLA, he asked them not to participate in this tradition this year. This stunt gave the players four days off. They don't practice today, Sunday was a day off, with Monday only offering up a light workout. And they face Tennessee in less than four months. Can we all do the Bruin eight clap now?

The real clincher? There were recruits and high school coaches in attendance, and they ended up going home. "I guess that's why they're in the Lay's Potato Chips Bowl every year," said Chris Pascal, La Palma Kennedy's freshman coach.

An on-looker watching the Bruins " go over the wall" skip through the gate waited thirty minutes on the field for their return, with no explanation from the Bruins' staff, before realizing they weren't coming back. He said, "On the way home we thought about going over to USC because we knew they would be on the practice field."

Indeed, Mr. Onlooker, indeed. The train is coming, and there's no conductor in charge.


* Bruins photo and quotes courtesy of LA Times.


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