The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT Dec. 3, 2011

Playing with the wrong kind of green

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I've seen a ton of amazing things when it comes to football this week.

From watching a recently fired head coach get a chance to coach his team into a BCS bowl game, to a losing team dropping a Pro Bowl quarterback, it's the dark side of arguably the biggest sport going right now.

WHILE HE may have deserved it, Rick Neuheisel was fired by the UCLA Bruins a few days before the inaugural Pac-12 Conference football championship game in Eugene.

UCLA entered the game with a 6-6 record and qualified for the title game due to the USC Trojans being ineligible for the game because of NCAA sanctions.

USC beat UCLA 50-0 last Saturday.

But for Neuheisel, this is nothing new.

His time at Washington didn't end well either and after a stint at Colorado, maybe he'll try to land the coaching job at Arizona State and try make his way through the Pac-12 Conference.

So with Neuheisel being a lame duck coach - what's really the point in having him on the sidelines?

Not only did the team not earn their spot in the title game, but without a win, they could have fallen out of a bowl game with a sub-.500 record. Later this week, the NCAA announced that with a 6-7 record, the Bruins could qualify for a bowl, but where remains to be seen.

HAD THE Washington State Cougars found a way to play in the title game - chances are Paul Wulff gets to coach the team in a bowl game.

That didn't happen and Wulff was fired on Tuesday after four seasons and a 9-40 record.

Watching some games on television, they'd often end the same way for WSU - with the opposing team having more speed at key spots and winding up running away with a win.

The Cougars had been closer in some games, even winning a few more (4) than in previous seasons.

Less than a day after Wulff was fired, Mike Leach was hired to take over as coach, bringing his pass-heavy offense to Pullman. Leach made 10 bowls in 10 seasons at Texas Tech and it appears that the Cougars are prepared to make it 11 for 11 for him this time next year.

IT LIKELY can’t get much worse for quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Traded by Philadelphia to Washington, benched midway through the season and then traded to Minnesota earlier this year, McNabb was once again unemployed on Thursday afternoon.

Bouncing around for the past two years with two different teams, learning a new offense could not have been any less difficult this year, with a lockout keeping players from practice.

McNabb cleared waivers on Friday afternoon and is free to sign with any team that needs his help.

Some team will eventually take a chance on him.

Regardless of his statistics and wins or losses, fans will still pay money to watch him play.

And now, that seems to be the only thing that matters.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com.

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