Before Neuheisel's first start as a Bruin, against Georgia his junior year, the Bulldogs' mascot, UGA IV, vomited on his cleats. But a year later Neuheisel was MVP of the Rose Bowl, having tossed four touchdown passes in a 45-9 rout of Illinois despite some pregame regurgitating of his own (he had food poisoning).
Like so many other Arizonans, Neuheisel is bright, cussedly independent and on the lookout for new horizons. "I'm very proud to have grown up in Arizona," he says. (His family moved there from Madison, Wis., when he was two.) "I don't know if that's why I'm so free-spirited—I believe I owe my parents that—but I do think living in Arizona encourages it."
He did things his way in his first season as Colorado's coach, last year, and his way was the opposite of Kush's. Neuheisel took his freshmen tubing down Boulder Creek and stopped practice to start snowball fights. And every week on his TV show the coach played the guitar. Three days before Colorado's game with Kansas State to determine the Big Eight runner-up, Neuheisel introduced "the new CU fight song," set to the melody of Home on the Range:
Home, home on the range,
Where the Colorado Buffaloes play,
We'll run and pass,
We'll blitz your ass,
And send you on your way
Not exactly Hail to the Victors.
"I promised myself when I took this job that I wasn't going to change who I am," says Neuheisel, whose Buffs finished the '95 season ranked fourth by the AP. "And I haven't."
"We were never allowed to leave the door open," says Bernd Zabel, mission leader for the second expedition of Biosphere II, in 1994. "This is a closed environment."
A 3.15-acre glass and stainless-steel space frame, Biosphere II (the earth is Biosphere I, and Barkley, presumably, is Biosphere III) was completed in 1989 in the Sonoran Desert 45 minutes north of Tucson. Conceived as an experiment in potential space colonization, its purpose is to create earth biomes in a self-sustaining environment. But why would anyone want to become an agoraphobic in the most sun-splashed area of the U.S.?
"You have to understand," responds Matt Smith, another member of the seven-person crew that spent six months in Bio II, "that I'm used to seeing a wonderful world beyond my window that I cannot be a part of." How is that? "I'm from Staten Island."
Regardless of its scientific integrity—it is widely considered the Milli Vanilli of the scientific world—Bio II is a reminder that the desert, far from being deserted, is booming. An acre an hour of new homes, strip malls and concrete will, thermally speaking, make the desert an even hotter place to be.