Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jimmy Clausen, The Kid with the Golden Funnel

Jimmy Clausen, The Kid with the Golden Funnel
for Troublemakers around the SEC

Jimmy "The Kid with the Golden Arm" Clausen awaiting the arrival of his passport in the mail. He has a banging trip to Amsterdam lined up but will be cutting it close with the passport. Why can't they just email those things?

True, Jimmy Clausen isn't in the SEC, but he probably should be. We have Fat Phil Fulmer to thank that this amazing talent slipped through his fingers and landed squarely at Notre Dame.

It has never been easy to the youngest brother, the most talented brother, in a rather pitiful Football Family Dynasty. Coaches pretending to call for your brother and keeping you up all hours of the night from such a very young age. There was no doubt that Jimmy Clausen, the kid dubbed by ESPN as "The Kid with the Golden Arm", would some day find the pressure to much to bear.

Casey Clausen was the oldest, and from 2000-2003 lead the Tennessee Volunteers to a 34-10 record, an SEC East Championship and a near BCS Championship Game Berth. Middle brother, Rick, was the journeyman with little talent, as history records, having started his career at LSU, playing in 3 games and starting 1. Later, Nick NITELITE Saban was going to pull Clausen's scholarship, so he transferred to Tennessee, presumably to be a backup quarterback.

The Clausen family had other ideas, however, knowing that Fat Phil Fulmer would do anything to win them over into sending their youngest son, Jimmy, to Tennessee. Rick became a pawn in the ensuing drama, and recieved a disproportionate amount of playing time. It came as a complete surprise and nearly a very abrupt end to Fat Phil Fulmer's career when Jimmy Clausen rode a stretch Hummer limousine up to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana, on April 22, 2006 and verbally committed to the University of Notre Dame. Bejeweled and wearing a gigantic white fur coat, he stated his goal was to win four National Titles with the Fighting Irish.

Fat Phil Fulmer felt like his whole world was falling apart. Every where he turned, he thought he saw Charlie Weis in the shadows, following him. Fulmer had mortgaged so much of his future on getting Jimmy Clausen specifically he had not even paid attention to other quarterback recruits. Several possibilities had died on the vine, and now he had to explain to the boosters how they would have to live through another whole season with sub-par Erik Ainge. Then a brainstorm hit him--paint Clausen's own ludicrous verbal commitment ceremony as an indication that he had "character issues", which even sounded counter-intuitive coming out of his own mouth. Hadn't he already coached an all-star list of criminals and deviants? Why not one more, especially Jimmy Clausen, who had been labeled as a "once in a decade" talent? Hadn't the Clausen Family been an endless fiasco, causing problems with boosters, wanting all sorts of "presents", getting on the upwards of 30 or 40 will-call tickets per game? Where was the ultimate payoff?

So when Clausen picked up his first alcohol-related arrest in the early summer, Fulmer could relax, and somehow lucked his way with largely unserviceable Erik Ainge into the SEC Championship game, while Charlie Weis and Jimmy Clausen went 2-7.

Then, this summer, as if by divine intervention, Jimmy Clausen was embroiled in more controversy when pictures of him and several other teammates, all underage, appearing at the "Beer Olympics", surfaced on the internet.

I am for one disappointed that Fat Phil Fulmer couldn't close the deal on Jimmy Clausen. At least then we'd have this controversy squarely in the SEC, and Tennessee specifically, where it deserves to be.