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Football's just in time

Guess what day it is! Guess what day it is!

Training Camp Day is here. First day of practice-open to the public at 9 a.m. Denim shorts and tube socks are both ready!

Congratulations, you survived the summer and even saw the start of the Junior Lake Era! You're a winner!

Before that, we may have to say goodbye to Alfonso Soriano, who has had some nice years with the Cubs. Though I have enjoyed his offense, the back-loaded, Jim Hendry desperation-size contract always bugged me. It's as if Hendry threw up his arms and said, "This is it folks. After this one, I'm out of ideas!"

Well, he was. $18 million a year. Mercy. He may go to the only other city in America where they can fathom that, New York. Best of luck. Of course, him being a Cub, he needs to be convinced to leave and go to a winner. Bizarre.

The gridiron. First up. No contract discussions from now until the end of the season.

Bravo, Phil Emery! That means the Bears are in "show me" mode. That's you, Jay Cutler and some others. So, so hard to get a read on this team. They're remaking a team that went 10-6 last year.

10-6! This is still Chicago?

Since it's early and it's still loosey-goosey, let's play dream/nightmare.

Dream: Cutler jells with Marc Trestman, totally gets it, gets hot and we go to the playoffs. Admit it: This could happen. It may take a while for everything to come together with new faces, but this could be on.

Nightmare: You know. Things go wrong. The new players like Martellus Bennett and Jermon Bushrod don't jell. The newer look defense without Brian Urlacher stinks, Cutler acts up, and things go south in a hurry. The Bears go shopping for a new QB. Again.

By the way, with all this going on, I'll bet you forgot Urlacher, didn't you?

I have. New era. Let's get it started.

The University of Illinois could use a new era. Big Ten Media luncheon this week in Chicago. What are there like, 15 teams in the Big Ten? Well, I like the Illini to finish 15th. Call it a hunch, but I'm not sensing anything new out of head coach Tim Beckman.

Is there a Theo Epstein of college sports we can bring in?

Bag Boy is a RedEye special contributor.

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