All Football

As of noon today, San Diego Chargers HQ is in lockdown and a dusk-to-dawn curfew remains in effect for the coaching staff and all players. The latest news bulletin quotes an anonymous source as saying San Diego police, DEA, FBI, ATF, and Lindbergh Field baggage handlers are negotiating with a senior consigliere high up in Marty Schottenheimer's crime syndicate.

The 24-hours-a-day stakeout began last week, shortly after strong safety Terrence Kiel was summoned from the Chargers practice field and arrested for mailing 15 bottles of prescription cough syrup to cough-syrup addicts in Texas. DEA officials report that the 15 bottles of cough syrup have a street value of $145 million.

Federal authorities were brought in after Martyball was sighted in the third quarter of Sunday's contest in Baltimore. Even at this distance, Martyball Rising caused civic leaders, fearing imminent communal panic, to request assistance from federal law-enforcement agencies and the aforementioned baggage handlers.

It is not known how many innocents will have to die before the Spanos family understands that when crunch time comes Marty doesn't coach to win, he coaches not to lose. Or, to put it another way, there's a reason why the NFL's winningest coach has never been to the Super Bowl.

Speaking of football, here's a picture for you: Dallas makes it to the Super Bowl and Terrell Owens is MVP. Go ahead, try and sleep tonight.

It gives me no pleasure to encapsulate San Diego State's football season by saying, "They lost to San Jose State." San Jose is the school that as late as 2004 had an average attendance of 6479 suckers at their football games. Out of 117 NCAA Division I-A colleges, the Spartans ranked last in attendance. The worst. A year earlier, SJSU's academic senate called for the end of football. The faculty agreed, voting 3 to 1 in favor of killing the program. According to a local paper, football was losing close to $1,000,000 a year.

SJSU went 3 and 8 last year. The last time they won more games than they lost, James Danforth Quayle was the sitting vice president. In 2002, the NCAA passed a rule saying that football programs, in order to remain in Division I-A, had to play at least five home games with an average of 15,000 attendees. (San Diego State says it averaged 36,223 fans per game last year.) Recently, the NCAA has re-interpreted its rule in order to give SJSU and others a little breathing room, but five home games averaging 15,000 attendance is still the bar.

Fresno State and Boise State University have worked their way up the gridiron food chain to become national teams. Year after year, one or the other or both can usually be found in the AP Top 25 (Boise is currently ranked 20th ). San Jose plays them every year. You would think these games would be great opportunities for exposure, for recruiting, for shaking down alumni. You would be wrong.

For those who say it's hard for a no-name state college to lure decent recruits, think how hard it was for Boise and Fresno. SJSU has 30,000 students, sits in the middle of a city with 1,000,000 residents on the edge of San Francisco Bay, 32 miles from Santa Cruz and the Pacific Ocean. Yet, its football history reveals generations of futility. The Spartans' last bowl appearance occurred while Margaret Thatcher was prime minister of Great Britain. Ah, but what a game that was! Bulldog Stadium. Fresno. The California Bowl. San Jose came up against intergalactic powerhouse Central Michigan and whipped their butt by a score of 48 to 24. Few remember and no one cares.

Well, bucko, glory days are roaring back. San Jose is 3-1, having beaten a good -- this is no joke -- Cal Poly team, Stanford, and San Diego State. They beat SDSU by 31 points. Must be a bitch to recruit in San Diego. Nothing much there but a bunch of beaches and mountains and 2 million people. You've got to wonder how SDSU manages to field a lousy football team year after year after year.

I'll end on an optimistic note. Regulars will recall a column about Borrego Springs High School JV and varsity football coach Randy Peyakov. Borrego plays 8-man varsity football, 11-man JV. Peyakov has 32 kids on his teams this year, which is better than last year, when he had only nine players. Which is better than the year before, when nobody went out for football. This is Peyakov's fourth season as coach. Prior to his arrival, Borrego Springs had not won a game -- a single game -- in ten years.

The Borrego Springs High School Rams are 4 and 0 this season. Check these scores: Against Sun Valley, 72-24. Against Christian Life Academy, 60-0. Against Calvary Christian, 62-14. Against All Tribes, 52-6. I'd like to buy the town a beer.

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