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Quickly, a couple of the most recent bits of what SMQ missed during his hiatus:

• First prize for most idealistic new head coach is in the mail for the office of Randy Shannon, who is turning in a virtuosic performance in his attempt to remake the proud tradition of undaunted thuggishness at `Da U,' embodied first by the fatigue-clad machismo of the Jimmy Johnson era, the recreational drug use under Dennis Erickson, the persistent legal troubles of former `Canes Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis and Sean Taylor, among others, a two-year stint on probation in the mid-nineties and even a mascot who once drew a fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike penalty against Florida in the 2001 Sugar Bowl. Larry Coker's seemingly clean run culminated in a season of ex-player-approved brawling and gunplay ranging from the relatively minor (Brandon Meriweather's retaliatory shots in the preseason) to the completely tragic (the murder of Bryan Pata not far from the small arsenal in his apartment).

Randy Shannon wants no more Hurricanes misbehavin’.
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It's no surprise given the latter that Shannon - whose son plays for crosstown sparring mate Florida International - has gone zero tolerance on the thug packin' heat off in the club [nigga, what? - ed.], pledging to boot any player found to have anything to do whatsoever with a firearm. Not only from the team, but the school itself. According to SMQ's entirely pop culture-based representations of Miami (i.e., Scarface and Dave Barry), this might be actually putting players at some personal risk in a perpetual war zone of cocaine and neon, but in contemporary reality is probably reasonable enough. It seems substantially more difficult, though, to field a team of exclusively C-plus averages or better, which Shannon has also pledged to do. Because the NCAA and university admissions already take care of academic standards, SMQ is not aware of any other coach at a major program with a GPA baseline above what already exists, and certainly not of one as high as 2.5 (there is some conflict about the specifics of this policy - this story says upperclassmen failing to meet the 2.5 standard must live on-campus, but doesn't mention ineligibility). This is not unattainable by any means, but remember that Miami is a relatively small (15,000 enrollment), private institution with a quality academic reputation that has nurtured the cerebral talents of Ray Liotta, Sylvester Stallone, Jon Secada, the esteemed author of The South Beach Diet and "the Hispanic Oprah" (UM alum and The Principles of Quantum Mechanics author Paul Dirac died, perhaps symbolically, just nine months after Miami's first national title in 1984). If all those business management, sports administration and "liberal arts" majors are what they're cracked up to be, academic suspensions (or moving back into the dorm, whichever) might be de rigueur by November. And if Shannon adheres to this policy and continues to draw top 15 recruiting classes, give the man a raise.

The Wizard of Odds is appalled at the implications, but Orson at EDSBS more accurately nailed the comedic futility of USC's "White Power" page, and SMQ has only to add for the shocked (shocked!) that such a lame grab for ironic laughs is a regular feature of lowbrow campus yuks and the very predictable result of aggressively post-postmodern, lazy Family Guy-style humor, which thrives on the premise that the reference is funny enough. The ridiculous USC version happens to be an extreme example with less inhibition and even less of an attempt at actual comedy than any of the lame modern shock cartoons catering to the college/stoner set - Sarah Silverman is playing it to the hilt and damn, even the latest episode of South Park advanced some incoherent mush about social response to racism - but SMQ remains certain everything bad in the world over the next three decades will be somehow traceable to Family Guy. If the thorough shaming of a sexually confused Brian Cushing is a necessary part of the process of public awareness and eventual cultural eradication of this tired rhetorical menace, then his role is for the ultimate good.

• For the record, SMQ will not tolerate the premise of a Florida-Ohio State championship in basketball, too, a result that should rightly lead to some sort of antitrust investigation. Is this not America? Florida and Ohio State have football, Duke and Kansas have basketball, and ne'er the twain shall meet. Not in the same calendar year, anyway. (Gratuitous and mostly ignorant final pick: Georgetown, carrying the torch for the true basketball school, nevertheless falls to no-longer-bored Florida. The Gators winning is cool as long as it's not in a championship redux with OSU. And vice versa).