Homecoming could be brutal

By Gus Bode

Think back to last year’s Homecoming.

The sun, the cold breeze and the opposing quarterback who couldn’t complete a pass if the football was heat seeking and the receiver was in hell.

The faint chants of “we’re not the worst” and the satisfaction of seeing your school actually beat someone in its own conference.

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The shocked faces of lukewarm fans back at the dorms upon hearing the news that SIU not only won a game, but a football game at that.

For Saluki fans, Homecoming 2001 was like waking up in the middle of the night and finding “The Simpsons” on the television and a Twinkie wiener sandwich on the nightstand.

But thanks to the sick sense of humor of some scheduling god, fans should expect nothing of the sort this Homecoming weekend.

In a cruel twist of fate, SIU football will take on the Western Illinois Leathernecks, a team that has been pimping the Salukis since they entered Division I-AA.

SIU has an 18-game losing streak to Western that dates back to1983. It’s the second-longest losing current streak in Division I-AA next to Grambling’s 25 straight thumpings of Prairie View A&M.

The Leathernecks routinely trample the Salukis as if they were the French army – something that is unlikely to change this weekend.

“Western Illinois is the best team in the conference and they’ve proven that each week,” said SIU quarterback Joel Sambursky.

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That’s a stark change from last year’s opponent. Illinois State came to SIU 0-5. The Leathernecks boast a 4-0 record and are ranked No. 8 in Division I-AA.

And it gets worse.

The homecoming horror does not stop with football. Volleyball will welcome Northern Iowa to town on Friday, a team that is the unquestioned el-presidente-for-life of the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Panthers are ranked No. 10 in the nation, possess half of the MVC’s six preseason all-conference players and have lost only two conference games in the last four years.

The Salukis have not won a match against Northern Iowa since 1993.

After Friday’s match, SIU takes on Bradley, the only MVC team to beat Northern Iowa in the past four seasons. Bradley upset the Panthers Saturday and is on the fringe of being nationally ranked.

SIU hasn’t beat them since 1998.

At last season’s Homecoming, the Salukis faced Drake and Creighton, two teams with the same odds of being nationally ranked as Rutgers football or Evansville anything.

But that was last year. As you’re reading this, three Goliaths are gassing up their buses and preparing to invade Carbondale, intent on ruining Homecoming.

Aside from brandishing slingshots with questionable accuracy, SIU is powerless to stop them.

To put it bluntly enough for even the most chromosome-deprived Jerry Springer guest, Homecoming will be a disaster. The Salukis are facing certain discombobulation at the hands of this weekend’s visitors.

There is, however, a small chance that the Salukis will pick up a win.

But that chance is applying for legal status as a midget.

The odds of victory are so small, I’ll make the members of the SIU football and volleyball an offer:If football beats Western or if volleyball beats UNI or Bradley, I will dye my hair maroon.

But should Homecoming turn out the way most expect it to, I’ll still be a blond come Sunday.

Mike is a junior in journalism. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Egyptian.

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