It’s Friday! That means 10 big stories in 10 little bites. We hit the NFL Draft and Lingerie Football, Fenway Park and Smokin’ Joe, Creighton hoops and Nebraska’s Spring Game. But first, Husker fans are about to show the Big Ten what a real baseball stadium looks like …
The first Nebraska baseball game I ever attended was my during sophomore year of college, 2002.
I don’t remember the John Sanders doldrums. I do remember walking around the outfield concourse at Haymarket Park in search of an empty spot on the berms. I remember Justin Seely’s grand slam in the Super Regional against Richmond. And Andy Gerch’s slide in the 16th inning to beat Texas on ESPN. And Alex Gordon’s shot off the light pole against Miami.
Darin Erstad’s Huskers aren’t CWS-caliber like those teams. Not yet. But the big-game feel returns this weekend to Haymarket. The crowds will be back. The stakes will be high.
The Big Ten doesn’t have Big-12 quality talent in baseball. But Purdue is legit. And to beat the Boilers, every pitch will matter. If Nebraska manages to win the series, a Big Ten championship and an NCAA tournament at-large bid are back on the table.
It’s been 30 years since Nebraska was competitive in football, basketball and baseball at the same time. Suddenly, with Erstad and Tim Miles offering reasons for hope, the impossible seems possible.
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>> Lingerie Football? The chances that I’ll ever (willingly) attend a game at the Ralston arena are equal to my chances of being an NFL quarterback. But on moral grounds, I won’t cry foul. This isn’t much different than local restaurants dressing their waitresses in bikinis, or anything in primetime TV.
The most offensive thing about Lingerie Football (I’m guessing) is the football. This won’t be tennis or volleyball, where the women are elite athletes. If the coach/front office has a choice of choosing a girl who’s really good at football or a girl who’s really good-looking, who do you think wins?
These games will draw a crowd, but please don’t let anyone suggest he’s going because he wants to watch football. (By the way, I really hope this isn’t replacing the NBDL. That was something I actually wanted to watch).
>> Bo Ryan had a bad, bad week. Not only did he block Jarrod Uthoff’s transfer options, he backed down when criticism got hot. If you’re going to walk into a P.R. disaster, at least receive the benefit of getting what you want. Wisconsin should’ve seen the firestorm coming and let Uthoff go where he wanted immediately.
>> A father and son in Oregon built a Fenway Park replica for Wiffleball. Awesome.
>> Should college athletes be free to transfer without sitting out a season? Berry Tramel says so.
>> Out of nowhere came rumors of Robert Griffin’s questionable character. They appear to be ridiculous.
>> As a stat geek, I love stories like this: How they make the NFL schedule. Here’s an excerpt: “Computers generated 14,000 playable schedules, which were reduced to 150 with an eyeball test. Then the scheduling department reviewed those 150 by hand, scoring them for each team and each network.”
>> Is the NFL demonstrating hypocrisy by expanding the Thursday night schedule while preaching player safety?
>> You know how good Trent Richardson is. You also know how expendable running backs are in the NFL. So if you’re the Browns (No. 4) or Bucs (No. 5) — teams that need a running back — would you take Richardson? If those teams don’t, the Heisman finalist may fall a long way in the first round. I love Richardson, but I don’t think you can justify taking a running back in the top-10 anymore.
>> Last Friday, I wrote that if Nebraska didn’t want to take the Spring Game seriously, at least make it more fun. Reader David responded with this:
“Treat it like a real game, as much as possible. Not 1′s v. 1′s, but the old way. Reds are 1′s and 4′s, Whites are 2′s and 3′s. Sure, pull the stars early if they want, but let the young guys play it out like a real game. That’s what most fans want anyhow, to see how the backups perform in game situations. All that Midnight Madness stuff? Skits? Dance contests? Touch football with the kids? I don’t think so. I’d rather the Spring Game be cancelled permanently than turned into a joke.
>> Envision this scenario: Creighton as a two-seed in next year’s NCAA tournament. The Big Lead, a prominent blog, has Creighton eighth in its pre-preseason poll. Nos. 9-12, by the way, are Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina and Kansas. Take this with a grain of salt, Bluejay fans. The same blog has North Carolina State No. 3.
>> Is Tim Jankovich headed to SMU to be the “coach-in-waiting”? Reports earlier this week indicated the Illinois State coach was set to join Larry Brown’s bench. It makes zero sense, especially considering the team Jankovich has coming back at Illinois State. The Redbirds will be Creighton’s stiffest competition in the Valley next year. Win a game in the NCAA tournament and Jank can immediately take a job better than SMU.
>> I attended the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame banquet last night. Great night. For me, the highlight was hearing Ron Stander and his ring doctor, Jack Lewis, reminisce about the Stander/Joe Frazier fight 40 years ago at Civic Auditorium. Lewis called it the biggest sporting event in Omaha’s history. Considering the popularity of boxing in 1972, I think he’s right.
>> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.