Mail has been pouring in ever since the Cubs got punked in the playoffs, so let's get right to it.

Mail has been pouring in ever since the Cubs got punked in the playoffs, so let's get right to it.
 
Lisa Baize, Brimfield: "I have been waiting for a column from you on Rex. You must be on vacation. I like to compare this event with the movie Jaws: Just when you thought it was safe to go to a Chicago football game ... REX!!!!!! Will he drag  them under like a shark?"
 
NADEL SAYS: Yes, I took a few days off to attend my nephew's wedding. And yes, I plan to columnize at length about the Bears' QB situation after going to practice later this week. My initial reaction: I feel a little sorry for both Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton.
 
In the eyes of Bear Country, Rex can't win for winning. After Orton's ankle injury, Grossman was booed before he even took a snap in Sunday's victory over Detroit. And Orton, who was proving himself and closing in on a big payday, now must overcome adversity. Regardless of how long he's out (the Bears aren't saying, and Chicago newspapers are using battling sources to disagree on specifics), an already bizarre season just got crazier.
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Randy Ryner, Springfield: "I hope Penn State loses and we at least get a good one for the Baloney Championship Series game. Even you may want to watch it."
 
NADEL SAYS: As this week's BCS standings show, Penn State need not lose to be excluded from the mythical title game.  The two teams playing the best, Florida and USC, also have a good chance of missing out.
 
No matter how the voters, computers, tarot cards and Ouija boards place teams in the 34 bowl games, I will not watch a single one as part of Year 4 of my personal protest against the most idiotic system to decide a champion in all of sports.

I welcome others to join me. Free yourself from tyranny!
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Mark Walters, Savoy: "Weber's job is nowhere close to being in jeopardy. Illini Nation is certainly disgruntled with how far the program has dropped, but what you failed to recognize are the changes in recruiting strategies and the immediate benefits since. The classes he has coming in 2009 and 2010 may be the best talent to hit this campus ever. This year is going to be another struggle but ... (Athletic Director Ron) Guenther understands the momentum of recruiting and will give Weber every opportunity to coach the talent coming on board. At this point, it's premature to speculate that he's on the hot seat."
 
NADEL SAYS: This was one of many letters I received regarding last week's column about Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber. So here's one more crack at clearing up any confusion.
 
I never said Weber should be fired; in fact, I said I like Bruce and consider him a strong coach. Nor did I say his dismissal was imminent. What I said was that he has a relatively short amount of time to lock up the contract extension he wants and needs because his biggest supporter, Guenther, is planning to retire in two years.
 
If Weber isn't signed to an extension by then, opposing coaches will engage in brutal negative recruiting and the seat will become blazingly hot. Weber must show that his program has taken a significant turn for the better – by winning and by getting recruits signed – before Guenther leaves so the AD can convince the powers-that-be of Weber's long-term value.
 
For better or worse, this is the way big-time college sports works.
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Rodger Wunderlich, Orlando, Fla.: "After 40-plus years as an Illini fan, it would be difficult for me to describe the Illini as 'historically outstanding.' Three years after Weber's Final Four, the team had a .457 winning percentage and finished ninth in the Big Ten. Three years after Lou Henson's Final Four, the team had a .464 percentage and finished eighth."
 
NADEL SAYS: Illinois has more all-time victories than all but a dozen programs. Indiana is the only Big Ten school to have received more NCAA tournament bids. Then again, given that the Illini have never won a national title and have but two Final Four appearances in the last half-century, maybe "outstanding" is a stretch.
 
So let's compromise on "historically good" and move on.
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Adam Baker, Peoria: "Should the World Series be played at a neutral site? How do you think the Bulls will do this season?"
 
NADEL SAYS: No. And so-so.
 
Because MLB will not take the World Series away from the cities with teams involved, it's silly to speculate about it going the way of the Super Bowl. So if you like freezing, rainy (or snowy) and dangerous conditions – as well as late-October (or November) games that only vaguely resemble the brand of baseball played the previous six months –
you're in luck!
 
As for the Bulls, led by Derrick Rose, they have the look of an improved team that can make a playoff push and approach .500. Expecting anything more from such a flawed franchise invites disappointment.
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Earl Hernandez, Chicago native: "I have been a White Sox fan for 55 years. When I read your June 23 column ('Cubs are contenders, Sox are pretenders'), I cut it out and pinned it on my bulletin board. The Cubs ... have been pretending for most of my lifetime yet get all the coverage. The Sox, who won a pennant in 1959 and the World Series in 2005, are treated like red-headed stepchildren. When I cut out your column, I told my friends the Sox would go further in the playoffs. Of course, we all know what happened."
 
NADEL SAYS: Yes, White Sox won one game before losing to Tampa Bay and the Cubs won no games before losing to the Dodgers. Please let me amend my thesis as follows: "Cubs are chokers, Sox are slightly less choky."
 
Hope that makes Sox fans feel better.
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And now, some leftover correspondence from Cubbieland's many sad precincts ...
 
Ron Pritchard, Dixon: "These Cubs make it awfully hard to remain a fan."
 
AJ Albright, Riverton: "I have been a life-long fan since my dad took me to a World Series game in '45 when I was 4. This latest Cub fold is the end for me. They are stuck with unmanageable contracts for overpaid 'superstars,' and I don't think I have enough time left to follow them into oblivion. Therefore, I have followed my last game. I am certain I will not miss them in the least."
 
Alan Tiseth, Springfield: "I'm sure Cub fans are having a rough time, but they should remember this: While they are in depression, Cub players are home safe knowing they are still getting paid the big bucks."
 
Michael Luttrell, Champaign: "I don't think the Cardinals choked during any of those years they lost in the playoffs. They just lost to teams that played better. But the Cubs clearly choked here. They played badly under pressure."
 
Alta Rule, Pekin: "I am a Cub fan of 40 years. I have blamed Cub management for not supplying the talent. I have blamed managers and coaches for not doing their jobs. I have blamed players for not hustling and for having a bad attitude. I am out of anyone to blame."
 
Warren Knoles, Springfield: "Give those Cubbies a break. Anybody can have a bad century."
 
Rick Atchley, Canton: "This franchise is doomed! Anytime expectations are high for the Cubs to win, the media and fan pressure is too much. There will always be more pressure on any Cubs team ... than they will be able to overcome. And don't say I'm not a true fan! Why else would my emotions be so shredded and my heart once again ripped out? Why do we let ourselves get so hopeful? Wait 'til next year? Yep. And the next year and the next year ... "
 
NADEL SAYS: Here's where I'm supposed to wrap things up with a witty rejoinder. But piling on seems so cruel.

Mike Nadel (mikenadel@sbcglobal.net) is the Chicago sports columnist for GateHouse News Service. Read his blog at TheBaldestTruth.com.