Monday, December 11, 2006

There Goes the Neighborhood

Virtually every college football head coach deserves some respect. Dennis Erickson isn’t one of them. Scott Wolf mentioned on his Inside USC “blog” that “every Pac-10 coach just got a lot more worried about the Sun Devils than they were when Dirk Koetter coached the team.”

I say Wolf is right, if he means that we should all be worried about the general safety of our communities when Arizona State comes to town. Erickson has a history in the college game of jumping ship, while leaving a lovely “legacy” where ever he goes, and his reputation precedes him.

Ask ND and Bob Davie. They’ll tell you about the 41-9 beating the “Irish” took at the hands of the J.C.-transfer thugs Erickson assembled at Oregon State for the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. While it’s possible that the Domer Hype Machine may have helped to promote Oregon State’s negative image as “Boys Town Northwest,” it was Erickson who allowed the image to stick. Of course, he was gone to the League two years later.

At Miami, Erickson did his “finest” work, riding Jimmie Johnson’s momentum to two national championships before ultimately steering the Canes to the brink of death-penalty sanctions. Under his watch, “the U” had 57 football players falsify Pell Grant applications to steal more than $200,000 from 1989 to 1994 (the entire length of Erickson’s tenure). This, along with several other controversies led SI to conclude that Miami should shut down its football program in 1995.

Of course, Erickson left for the League before he had to admit any responsibility for his actions (or blind eye), leaving Butch Davis to clean up his mess and re-build Miami’s program, without a full compliment of scholarships and less-than-standard talent.

As for Erickson’s two-year stint at Wazzu in the late ‘80s, I can’t remember much about the ethical quality of his Cougars, but we do know that the ugla “nation” must not have fond memories of him. It was Erickson’s spread offense that confounded Terry Donahue in 1988, when the Cougars beat the Troy Aikman-led bruins 34-30, ending ugla's two-week run at No. 1. As the bruin “nation” would like us to believe, any team that beats ugla in any sport must be made up of thugs and academic underachievers … but in this case, they’re probably right.

Anyway, all this makes you wonder about Lisa Love’s decision-making process. Not only did she choose a proven job-hopping mercenary as ASU's coach, she was deciding from among two others who aren’t much better: Mike Price, formerly of “Stripper Gate” and responsible for idiots like Ryan Leaf, and current “Boys Town” coach Mike Riley, whose own fans are now calling him a “donkey.”

As for Pac-10 coaches being worried about Erickson’s spread offense, I doubt our man Pete Carroll is shaking in his shoes much. And, I’m sure good coaches like Jeff Tedford and DeWayne Walker will be fine, as well.

It’s our women and children I’m worried about.

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