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The Conspiracy Against Gary Barnett

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Would you hire this man?
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Because nobody else will even consider it. Dennis Dodd takes the widespread snubbing of Gary Barnett for any coaching job this offseason as opportunity to either a) expose an "appalling" campaign of intentional silence heroically endured by a fellow workingman, or b) sneak a little business for his one-man coaching agency into his side gig at CBS Sportsline. SMQ is placing odds on the latter. Why else would Dodd go so far out of his way to so enthusiastically stump for a coach who

• Was temporarily suspended and eventually cited for "lax oversight" in an epic sex-for-recruits scandal in which he and other officials "failed to properly monitor the football program or ignored what was going on."

• Was personally cited for "not following proper protocols in reporting sexual assault and harassment."

• Was suspended for comments directed at a "terrible" female kicker who alleged rape, one of seven separate allegations of sexual abuse by Colorado players in his tenure.

• Was 12-14 in conference games from 2003-05, and lost his final three games by more than 100 points. Three five-loss teams staggered into nominal "championship" games and were outscored 141-13, the last defeat by nearly seven touchdowns.

• Was investigated for "attempt[ing] to influence the sworn testimony of subordinates and charges of NCAA violations and financial improprieties," and tipping off players "well in advance" of random drug tests.

• Was investigated by federal revenue agents for the chaotic finances and "lavish spending" at a summer youth camp. Assistant coaches received raises ranging from $75 to nearly $10,000 for working the camp in 2005 compared to 2004, according to records cited by The Denver Post.

• Was paid $3 million of at least partially taxpayer-funded institutional dollars to go away as quietly as possible, currently makes thousands as a part-time television and radio analyst and lives in a Scottsdale home with an engraved white marble buffalo.

• Spent his last hours in Boulder slipping out side doors and finally turning his office into a bunker from which he could sequester himself from the impending pain outside, solve the South Clemsolina secondary for the ChampsSports Bowl and load his revolver for the ultimate showdown.

• Unironically admits on-air to using "Highway to the Danger Zone" as his cell phone ring tone because he likes the lyrics.*

• Publicly expressed petulant satisfaction as his old team struggled to a 2-10 season of disaster without him.

• Kicked kittens and laughed demonically while tweedling handlebar mustache.

Conspiracy, as usual, is the only logical conclusion.
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Barnett is probably the world's greatest coach, and SMQ in fact will go ahead and take for granted his unparalleled gridiron genius, virtuosity dragged down on the field by inferior talent stifled by unreasonable standards at schools overly concerned with the bookish stuff and off the field by "mostly secondary" violations of sketchy validity. He is a walking PR disaster of the greatest magnitude, Rick Neuheisel times two. Among the jobs he expressed the most interest in was Air Force - "there's not a better fit for me" - an institution recovering from its own recent rape scandal, Minnesota, which not long ago dumped a basketball coach for his own improprieties and Stanford, home of one of the nation's pioneering feminist studies programs. Even the People's Republic of Arizona State, past home of point shaving, student bookies, pornographic cheerleaders and Mitchell "Fright Night" Freedman, found a less scandalous option for figurehead in Dennis Erickson.

Like Mike Price and Larry Eustachy, Barnett's return will be in a cheap, desperate, third-tier situation with the slimmest hope of recovery, if he's willing to accept it. In the meantime, he can always hire another coach as a front, which would actually explain the otherwise baffling hires of Jim Harbaugh and Tim Brewster.

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* - "The JT the Brick Show" on FOX Sports Radio, Dec. 7, 2006. No online record of this, but absolutely true.

Top picture via the worthwhile tale of The Amazing Speder-Man.