John Clay

Football season off to crazy start

We don't have an oil shortage in this country.

We have a sanity shortage in this country.

We're not talking McCain-Palin, or Obama-Biden. We're not talking about Freddie Mac, Freddie Mae or even Britney at the VMAs.

We're talking about the current craziness that has already erupted in our beloved football, where what's happening off the field is more interesting than what's happening on the field.

(Isn't that always the way?)

Start up the road in Cincinnati, where the Bungles have returned, led by head head case, one Chad Johnson. What's that? You say it's now Chad Ocho Cinco. Got the name legally changed, did he.

Seems like the wide receiver who shot his mouth off all summer about wanting to be traded because the Bengals weren't serious about winning, has finally jumped the shark.

The Bengals certainly needed another distraction posed by the megalomaniac from Miami. How can Cincinnati pay attention to winning, when Ocho Stinko wants all the attention for himself?

Then it's on down to Nashville, where Tennessee quarterback Vince Young left the Titans' 17-10 win over Jacksonville under a chorus of boos after throwing an interception, draped a towel over his head and gave the impression that no way, no how was he returning to the playing field — though he finally did, only to injure his knee.

Afterward, the Titans claimed Young's snit-fit was over the tightness he felt in his hamstring. But then Monday night, police were asked to go on a search-and-rescue when the quarterback disappeared for four hours, causing officials to fear for his safety.

The ex-Texas star finally turned up at a friend's house. But being Nashville, surely there's a country song in there somewhere.

Now on down to Gainesville, where Florida beat rival Miami 26-3 on Saturday night. The losers apparently had no problem with the Gators' first 23 points. But the final three, on a Florida field goal with 25 seconds left, raised some 'Canes.

"Sometimes when you do things and people see what kind of person you really are, you turn a lot of people off," said Miami Coach Randy Shannon. "Take from that what you want. (The field goal) helped us more than you will ever know."

You could almost hear Florida head coach Urban Meyer saying, "You talking about me?"

Not that we heard from Meyer. Instead, team leader Tim Tebow took the stand, taking on Shannon with the same force he usually reserves for taking on linebackers.

"I'll have Coach Meyer's back on anything and to say something like that about Coach Meyer isn't true at all," said Tebow, adding, "They are paid to stop us, and (offensive coordinator Dan) Mullen is paid to score. And if they don't do that? OK, oh well."

Too bad the two schools don't play again until 2013.

And too bad Washington and BYU can't play those final two seconds over again out in Seattle, where Huskies quarterback Jake Locker's TD brought the home team within 28-27 of the Cougars.

As you surely know by now, Locker made the mistake of going into some sort of crazy, gonzo display of over-the-top taunting in which he spiked the football, did a Billy "White Shoes" Johnson dance, climbed atop the goal posts and catapulted himself into the crowd, thus incurring a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

What's that?

You say all Locker did was throw the ball into the air?

Ah, a rule is a rule, and though announcers tell us "they could call holding on every play," the by-the-book Pac-10 officials threw the yellow flag. After 15 paces backward, BYU blocked Washington's 35-yard extra point to preserve the win.

On Monday, the clueless Pac-10 defended its Barney Fifes, insisting that the right call had been made.

"I think we all know that it was not the right call," argued Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham.

Here's what we do know: Football 2008 is off to one crazy start.