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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

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California took wide, broad steps today in fulfilling SMQ's irresponsible mythical title projections when Jeff Tedford, as expected/hoped, named Nate Longshore the starting quarterback for the Tennessee game over ticking time bomb Joe Ayoob. It's the second straight year Longshore's beaten out Ayoob for the job and despite the caution advised by SMQ's new "J.P. Losman Rule" (applicable to players who, like the Buffalo Bills' third-year quarterback, must be "named the starter" over multiple seasons), the law does not apply in Longshore's case because he was instantly injured for the season in the Bears' 2005 opener, not jettisoned, like Ayoob, for poor performance.

SMQ, like the rest of the world, has never seen Longshore take a college snap, because he's only had about 15 or so, all against Sacramento State. Longshore is a huge (6-5, 230) redshirt sophomore who came in well regarded out of high school two years ago, but more importantly, he's not Ayoob, without whom the Bears will forge on unless absolutely necessary. With just a little bit better play from the JUCO transfer last year, an 8-4 team with a dominant running game could have easily taken at least two more games - Oregon State (a three-point loss in which Ayoob was 13 of 39 with two interceptions) and Oregon (10-26, 88 yards, 3 INT, 0 TD in another field goal defeat) - and maybe UCLA (a touchdown loss wherein the sharply-dressed and hygienic Marshawn Lynch and Co. averaged eight yards per carry). Ayoob was benched after a dreadful 98-yard, four-intercetion debacle against USC, which may not have cost the Bears a win (though the Trojans were "held" to 434 yards and 35 points on 4.0 yards per carry and 246 yards passing, only a small nudge above SC's season low totals in each category), but certainly did not give them a chance. When bar brawling Steve Levy, Ayoob's replacement for the Stanford and BYU wins, returns from suspension, Ayoob may yield - again - to him as well.

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Yeah, Joe, you're doing greaaaat, but we're gonna need you to go ahead and stay over to the sidelines this weekend, mmkay? Greaaaaaat...

In other West Coast news, the San Diego-based Poinsettia Bowl, which is an actual game played between two real teams, was so taken with the military manliness of Navy's chart-busting triple option that it decided a return visit was a must-have for the city's massive armed forces community. Problem is, Navy's already taken, by the prestigious Meineke Car Care Bowl (the Midshipmen have a tie-in to face George Foreman and his sons), so the San Diego Credit Union took the next best thing: Army! Actually, the second-to-next-best thing, since Air Force is tied in with the Mountain West's affiliations. All the Cadets have to do to send Bobby Ross back to the site of his greatest triumph (the 1994 AFC Champion Chargers) is go 6-6. Even, SMQ guesses, if those six are Arkansas State, Kent State, Baylor, Rice, VMI, Tulane and the aforementioned USAFA, the dirty half-dozen most likely to fall to Army this season. If they make it on those merits, the Cadets and the Poinsettia Bowl truly deserve each other.

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4:52 PM

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