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2014 Western Michigan Football Nonconference Preview: Bill and P.J.'s Excellent Adventure (Round II)

Two struggling football coaches travel throughout the country taking on other teams in search for a payday. . . and maybe some wins. Will they succeed in their journey? Will both make it back?

When nonconference schedules are set up, they are generally done a couple years in advance.  Just look at NIU.  This week alone they've announced games toward the turn of the decade.  So when WMU takes on yet another grueling opening month, it's a double job between current coach P.J. Fleck and now departed head man Bill Cubit.  Now, they team up (figuratively) to take on this year's docket of games.

AT Purdue (West Lafayette, IN) - August 30th

[Bill and P.J. arrive in West Lafayette and are greeted by an old friend in Darrell Hazell]

[All three head to a bar, and begin discussing the current state of things]

Hazell:  "Man, this Big Ten stuff is hard.  Why did I leave the MAC?"

Cubit:  "At least you didn't get pushed out.  But you're right, this Big Ten stuff sucks."

Fleck:  "What the hell are you talking about?  I'm stealin' 'croots left and right from this hell hole.  I could do this in my sleep."

[Hazell and Cubit pause, then burst into laughter]

Cubit:  "You barely beat UMass with my roster.  I put people in the NFL.  Shut up."

Fleck:  "Bro. . ."

Cubit:  "Ok, fair enough.  But you still have a ways to go before you start thumpin your chest.  At least you get to open this season against Hazell and his band of misfits."

Hazell:  "BRO!  NOT COOL!"

Cubit:  "Lulz, you won one game last year too.  Against an FCS team.  And that wasn't even convincing."

Hazell:  "At least some of my players whooped your ass in that Pizza Bowl a few years back"

[Cubit mutters something about Alex Carder and his six turnovers]

Hazell:  "What's that?  And that ass whuppin' I put on you the next year?  How's Illinois treating you."

Fleck:  ". . .anyway, it should be a good game.  I've got a lot of solid recruits and my QB actually knows my system this year.  Hell, he really developed last year and could put a lot of pressure on your secondary with Davis as his target.  You ready for my attack?"

Hazell:  "Bro, are you ready for my run game?"

Cubit:  "Yeah, we never could stop the run."

Fleck:  "THANKS OBAMA....err, I mean Bill"

Cubit:  "No problem.  But if your secondary can stop any passing attack, it'll get interesting.  I don't know if Purdue's defense can hang with any offense at this point.  Even one that was as anemic as yours last year."

Fleck:  "With your players.  Luckily I brought in Davis otherwise we'd have totally sucked."

Cubit:  "I won 4 games with those players in their first year playing.  Well most of them."

Fleck:  "Whatever.  Well good luck Darrell.  We'll see you on the field."

[Fleck pats Hazell on the back, then walks away.  Camera pans to Hazell's back with a "kick me" sign on it]

AT Idaho (Moscow, ID) - September 13

[Cubit and Fleck step off bus and look around]

Fleck:  "Where the hell are we?  Ukraine?"

Cubit:  "I knew this home-and-home stuff would bite me in the ass.  Well, more you than me."

Fleck:  "You're the worst, seriously."

Cubit:  "YOLO!"

[both walk forward through a field of potatoes, the sky as grey as a movie from the 1930's]

Fleck:  "You actually lost to these guys?  How?  How the hell do they even get recruits?  Do you see this?  THERE'S NOTHING HERE!"

Cubit:  "Look, it was 2010.  We were just breaking in Carder.  What do you want me to say?"

Fleck:  "Uhh....that you don't suck."

Cubit:  "Says the guy with 1 career win."

Fleck:  "Bro, stop that."

Cubit:  "At least you don't have to come back.  They come to Kalamazoo in 3 years."

Fleck:  "That's an eternity.  At least they suck now too.  1-11 last year?  Who does that?"

[Cubit giggles at Fleck's joke]

[The two arrive at the Kibbie Dome]

Fleck:  "What......the....fu"

Cubit:  "Watch your mouth!  And yes, the Kibbie Dome.  It's one of a kind."

Fleck:  "That's for damn sure.  This"

Cubit:  "You better beat these guys.  They're just as bad as you if not worse, you'll be coming off a bye week, and you have all these stud players.  It's a gimme game."

Fleck:  "My secondary should be able to hold their offense.  Their defense doesn't look too intimidating either.  They gave up at least 35 points in every game except 2, and only won their lone game by two points."

Cubit:  "Yeah, over Temple, who did well in the MAC usually."

[Hustle Belt somehow hears this, dies laughing]

Fleck:  "OK, I'm ready to leave.  Wait, not yet"

[Fleck spray paints "P.J. WAS HERE" on side of Kibbie Dome]

[Both pluck potatoes for the ride home]

VS Murray State (Kalamazoo, MI) - September 20

[Fleck and Cubit are drinking with Steve Hawkins, coach of the basketball team]

Fleck:  "Hey Steve, I bet you're glad you aren't playing these guys on the court.  Aren't they really good or something?"

[Hawkins takes a shot]

Hawk:  "Boy, you should probably just shut up.  They have their moments, but we're MAC Champions.  Even without Whittington, we'd still probably win.  Especially at home.  You on the other hand should focus on the game.  Didn't you lose to an FCS team last year?  AT HOME???"

Cubit:  "How embarrassing."

Fleck:  "It was my second game.  Get off me."

Cubit:  "It was Nichols State.  NICHOLS STATE!  Hell, we destroyed them in 2011 and beat a solid Eastern Illinois team the year I got the boot.  You can't even beat a crappy FCS team with their 3rd and 4th string QB?"

[Fleck sits silently, pondering life before doing a body shot off a patron at the bar]

Hawk:  "Frat boy"

[Hawkins takes another shot.  Then follows with another]

Fleck:  "You're one to talk."

Cubit:  "Shut it both of you.  Besides PJ, it's his off-season and he wins."

Hawk:  "Child."

Fleck:  "SHUT UP!"

Cubit:  "You better win this one.  Especially if you lose to Idaho.  You can't afford an 0-12 season.  Two years and two losses to FCS schools?  You'll be run out of town."

Fleck:  "Thanks for the added pressure DAD!"

[Hawkins shakes his head]

Cubit:  "Just trying to help.  I didn't lose to an FCS school though."

[Fleck walks out]

Hawk:  "Kid's got a lot of potential, if he can just shut up and learn."

Cubit:  "This past off-season was a lot better for him.  I have faith he'll bring the football program back to my levels."

Hawk:  "And hopefully beyond."

Cubit:  "Don't you have a center to replace?"

[Hawk stares at Cubit with the stink eye before flashing his MAC Championship rings]

AT Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) - September 27

[Fleck and Cubit walk off the bus, past a grinning Frank Beamer]

Fleck:  "Why is he smiling?"

Cubit:  "Because he finally gets us, and after a 1-11 season no less"

Fleck:  "Wait, what?  Finally?"

Cubit:  "Yeah, I kinda pushed this game back on him."

Fleck:  "Why?  Didn't you want to play these guys with a good team?"

Cubit:  "Yeah, but they were a lot better then too, so I decided to go with Notre Dame.  Better payout, closer to home, everyone wins.  Even the fans."

Fleck:  "You bastard.  Now I'm stuck here?"

Cubit:  "YUP!  Enjoy Beamer Ball."

[Cubit tries to leave before Fleck tackles him]

Fleck:  "You ain't goin' nowhere.  How do you beat these guys?"

[Cubit pushes Fleck off him then mutters obscenities under his breath]

Cubit:  "Dude, you don't just beat Beamer Ball.  It's impossible to crack.  You just have to execute.  But there's a reason Beamer has been at VaTech for so long.  He's really good.  Just five losing seasons in 33 years of work.  He hasn't finished below .500 since 1992, when you were in middle school.  His defenses are stifling and his offense is predicated on a solid run game.  Unless your run defense shores up their holes really quickly, you're screwed."

Fleck:  "Crap."

Cubit:  "And he loves mobile QBs.  Michael and Marcus Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Logan Thomas.  All mobile, all solid QBs in Beamer's system."

Fleck:  "But my secondary is awesome."

Cubit:  "Not against VaTech.  You might as well just try to keep it close and eat clock."

Fleck:  "Hmmmm..........."

[Beamer sneaks up behind the two and takes their wallets.  They suspect nothing]

Cubit:  "Oh well.  The payday should be good.  Let's get lunch!"

[Both walk away]

[Camera pans back to Beamer, who opens both wallets and finds nothing in either]

Beamer:  "What the hell?"

[Back at the restaurant, inner monologues are presented]

Both:  "What a fool.  This guy is gonna pay for my meal.  Good thing I left my money at home!"

[Next shot is both doing dishes in the back]

[Cubit and Fleck look at each other, covered in suds]

Both:  "You idiot"

[end film]