Regrets? I have none. O.K. maybe just one


To be a great writer you can never be truly satisfied with what you write. No matter, how many times you rewrite it, revise it or edit it, you always believe it could be a little better with just a little more time.

It's one thing to want to rewrite something, it's another thing to regret what you've written. And that doesn't happen to me too often. It's pretty obvious since I've managed to insult myself about being short, being slow and being old. Jeez, I even admitted that I was living in my parent's basement for awhile.

I've been callous and cold when it comes to people like Martha Burke, Hootie Johnson and Kobe Bryant. I've mocked and insulted Jerry Jones, Bill Parcells and just about anybody I've felt.

I wasted an entire column during Super Bowl week writing about who the Bachelorette would choose and then got it wrong.

Still, I have no regrets. None.

But, there was one column that I would have regretted had it actually been run. I wrote it, or approximately three-quarters of it, on the drive from Havre to Missoula for the Cat-Griz football game. However, since technology hates me, the battery on my laptop died and I was unable to finish it and e-mail it to make Friday's paper.

Thank God.

To be honest, the column was about how the Bobcat-Grizzly game wasn't much of a rivalry because MSU hadn't won a game in 16 years. I sprinkled in some sarcastic, insulting comments about the Cats along with a cruel story about the 1997 game in which the Cats had appeared to have won the game, only to see a bad kickoff, a blown coverage and a Kris Heppner field goal crush their hopes and dreams.

Basically, the column had the arrogance, haughtiness and cockiness that UM fans seem to embody and Cat fans absolutely loathe.

And I thought technology hated me. It actually saved me from additional hours of humiliation and pain as the Cats did the unthinkable and beat the Griz in Washington-Grizzly Stadium in perhaps the most torturous football game I have ever watched.

The abuse I have taken since that game was bad, but if that column had run I would have had to find a new job or a new town to live in.

Much has changed since the football season ended. Griz head coach Joe Glenn left for Wyoming taking almost his entire coaching staff with him. UM hired former Washington assistant Bobby Hauck to replace Glenn and maintain the proud tradition of Grizzly football.

In Bozeman, there is sense of hope, optimism and anticipation for this year's season that hasn't been there since the early 1980's. Last year's success has brought Cat fans out into the open after years of hiding. MSU fans firmly believe that this is their year. After beating the Griz in Missoula, things will only get better. "The Real Deal" is what the MSU football media guide exhorts.

And maybe the Cat nation is right. After all, MSU returns its golden boy, quarterback Travis Lulay, for his sophomore season. After replacing an ineffective Tyler Thomas in the middle of last season, Lulay led MSU to an improbable run in the season's final five games and an eventual title.

Reports say that Lulay came back 10 pounds heavier and much stronger for this season. There are still no reports of Lulay walking on water, but as MSU's messiah, anything's possible.

The Bobcats also return almost all its defense including a dominating defensive line that disrupted and disjointed the Grizzly offense last year. MSU also returns stud linebacker Roger Cooper and thug cornerback Joey Thomas along with All-American free safety and Buck Buchanan award nominee Kane Ioane.

With all of that firepower returning, a conference title, heck even a national title, should be well within the Bobcats grasp. Many fans believe it, MSU head coach Mike Kramer coyly refers to it.

Regardless of what a Chinese calendar says, 2003 definitely has to be the year of the Bobcat.

Excuse me? Year of the what?

Let's just slow down a little bit here.

Contrary to popular belief, the Grizzly football program didn't suddenly implode with the loss to the Cats, or pack up and leave with the departure of Glenn.

We're talking about the Griz here. Like the clich says, "They don't rebuild, they reload."

Hauck comes from former Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel's stable where there was plenty of success, not in just NCAA basketball pools, but on the football field.

And the Montana cupboard is far from bare. The Griz offense suffered only one big loss from last season. Quarterback John Edwards graduated, leaving behind a national championship and more arguments between Griz fans than an entire year of Jerry Springer episodes.

Edwards' replacements are no slouches. In fact, they may be more talented. Junior college transfer Jeff Disney has a cannon for an arm and looks more like a linebacker. He has been called a Drew Miller with wheels, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

Disney will get the start tomorrow, since his competition for the quarterback jobs, the oft-injured Craig Ochs, a transfer from Colorado, is out with - surprise - an injury.

UM also returns a bevy of talent at wide receiver with the sure-handed Dane Oliver and Jon Talmage and the explosive Jefferson Heidelberger and Levandar Segers. Also back is UM's entire offensive line - that is big enough to cause a solar eclipse.

On defense, the Griz also return the bulk of their both their starting units. I say 'units' because there were two. The group of starters at the beginning of the season and the group still standing after a whirlwind of injuries leveled a good portion of the defense.

After all of the information, where does it leave the Cats and Griz this season? I know who my pick is and it isn't the Bobcats. Despite all of the talent, it always seems that the years MSU is picked to be really good, they falter. Lulay and co. aren't going to sneak up on anyone this year.

The Griz will go through their growing pains with a new coaching staff. There will be countless Griz fans ready to fire Hauck at any given moment, bench whoever is the quarterback and basically be the type of fans that MSU fans have grown to hate. But, in the end, UM will win the conference title and begin a new streak of wins over the Cats.

Come on, did you honestly think I would pick the Cats?

But as far as any other predictions, I'll pass. I have never written anything I regret. Yet.


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