Published Monday, June 11, 2012 AT 10:53 AM / Updated at 11:38 AM
Mad Chatter, June 11
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

If the College World Series were a band, LSU would be the saxophone.

Nobody eats more, parties longer or cheers harder. Nobody brings the same style, the same — what’s the word? — verve. Yes, I root for the Tigers to qualify for Omaha every year.

At some point Sunday night, I changed my mind. Stony Brook was inching closer to TD Ameritrade Park — eight outs away, seven, six… — and I couldn’t resist them anymore.

Omaha is no stranger to underdogs. Every June, somebody comes to town with a heckuva story. California, Fresno State, Oregon State, Louisiana Lafayette, Nebraska, Creighton.

You name it, we’ve seen it. But there’s never been a qualifier like this. Never been a team that entered super regionals facing such long odds.

Stony Brook went into the most intimidating atmosphere in college baseball and beat LSU in a best-of-three — after losing a heartbreaker in the opener. It defies logic, especially for a team from the America East Conference.

Yet calling Stony Brook a Cinderella is like calling a tarantula “cute.” They outhit LSU 50-15 in three games.

“It is hard for me to find weaknesses in their team,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri told reporters Sunday. “Offensively, one through nine, that was the toughest lineup that we have faced all year. I will put them in the category with Florida, maybe even better…

“I would not be one bit surprised if Stony Brook goes on to win the national championship,” Mainieri said. “I cannot imagine anyone in the country being better than that team.”

We’ll find out. The Omaha Chamber of Commerce would be happier with LSU in town. But on the field, the Seawolves are as good as it gets.

***

>> This NBA Finals is the best thing to happen to professional basketball since Michael Jordan’s championship runs. Overstatement? Nope. Give me an NBA Finals showcasing this level of talent with storylines this intoxicating.

Miami-OKC features the two best players in the NBA, one who represents (perhaps unfairly) ego against one who represents humility.

It’s big market v. small market, a team built through free agency to win immediately versus a team built through the draft that — just four years ago — started 3-29. It’s a veteran team trying to redeem its sins versus a young team on the verge of a dynasty. It is, in the eyes of many basketball fans, evil versus good. Corrupt versus pure.

I’ve developed an affection for the Thunder the past few years. My heart will be rooting for them. But my head tells me the Heat (the more physical team) will win in six games.

>> In January, Rafa Nadal a five-set, six-hour marathon to Djokovic in the Australian Open final, his third straight Grand Slam final loss to the world’s No. 1 player. Was he ever going to beat Djokovic? It was a valid question. But Nadal proved Sunday — and this morning — that he’s still untouchable on clay. It wasn’t the most exciting match between Nadal and Djokovic. But it was critically important in sustaining the rivalry’s momentum. I expect to see the same matchup in the Wimbledon final next month.

>> Blair Kerkhoff writes a heckuva column in the Kansas City Star about the imbalance of regular-season schedules in college football — and the impact it may have on future playoff fields.

>> An entertaining interview with Barry Switzer.

>> Congrats to Omahan Scott Gutschewski, who finished third at the Nationwide Tour’s Mexico Open, his best finish of the season. Gutschewski started Sunday tied for 14th. Then he birdied eight of the first 10 holes. He slumped a bit on the back nine, finishing two back, but moved from 131st to 41st on the money list.

>> This is outstanding: an oral history of the 1992 Dream Team.

>> Greg Couch says the French Open made a big mistake playing the final Sunday in the rain.

>> This is the only reason to root against OKCtheir owner abandoned Seattle.

>> LeBron James enters the Finals playing the best basketball of his life.

>> The battle between the SEC and Big Ten extends to TV ratings. Why is the Big Ten winning?

>> The New York Times profiles Ryan Lochte, who’s trying to unseat Michael Phelps as the face of swimming.

>> The USGA went all-in with its Thursday/Friday pairings for the US Open. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson is the most appealing threesome I can ever remember. Here’s a profile on how is Bubba adapting to fame.

>> Finally, I’m working on a little Husker football project that  required research of the 1950s and 60s. It got me thinking: What is your earliest memory of watching Nebraska football? Drop me a note. I’d love to hear about it.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at dchatelain@owh.com

Comments

  1. Mark Toebben says:

    RE: Earliest memory of watching Nebraska Football.
    In the mid 60′s, my parents had 2 tickets so it was a huge deal for any of us to go to a Husker game. I was probably 9 and my Dad would take me to Morril Hall to see the mammoth and then to lunch at the original Cornhusker Hotel before going to the game.

  2. Patrick says:

    Earliest Nebraska Football Memory:

    I was 5-6 years old when Nebraska won the national title in 1994 and ’95. I remember the national titles, but my first, vivid memory came in 1997.

    I was accustomed to Nebraska winning every game, with ease. But here I was, an 8 year old in my basement watching the Nebraska-Missouri game in Columbia in 1997, totally confused as to how we were losing. I will never forget the Matt Davidson catch on 4th and Goal. Without a doubt my earliest, vivid Nebraska memory.

  3. Brad Sawyer says:

    My first Husker game was when I was 7 or 8. My dad got us tickets on the 50 yard line right behind the visitors bench. Unfortunately we lost to Missouri that day but it was still an amazing experience I will never forget.

  4. Andrew says:

    My first vivid memory was the 93 national title game against FSU, I remember the kick return called back on the phantom penalty, and the dejected feeling when FSU took the lead, and finally I hid behind a chair when Byron Bennet came up to kick the fg because I couldnt stand to watch. And then he missed and boy was that a dejecting game!!!!

  5. Maury Johnson says:

    I don’t remember the year exactly, it may have been about 1960. I had tickets in the “Knot-hole” section, and sat in the south end zone. Nebraska played Army. Army had a good team and was picked to win. Army also used a formation called “The Lonesome End”. Nebraska won the game, I think it was 14 – 7. I left the game feeling great, and it was fun to be in the crowd of people walking back down-town.

  6. Ryan says:

    I’m a Heat fan, but there really isn’t any evidence available that would suggest the Heat are going to win. The Heat struggled to beat Indiana, then a Boston team that needed seven games to beat the 8th seeded Sixers. The Thunder, as has been widely publicized, walked through Dallas and LA with ease, then very impressively took 4 straight from a Spurs team that was being talked about as possibly one of the best of all time.

    Study the individual matchups. Even at the starting positions that the Heat do have the upper hand, it is negligable. The Thunder have an embarrassment of perfectly suited role players. The only way the Heat win this series is if LeBron creates a chasm in the question of who is better between he and Kevin Durant.

  7. Brian says:

    First Husker FB memory was the 84 orange bowl against Miami. I remember how upset my father was and it was my first taste as how much it meant to everyone back then to get back to the top. Kind of similar to now where the “glory years” had become more and more in the past and the new generation (myself) did not remember the title years of the early 70′s. It seemed like we lost most of our big games in the 80′s (including a lot of bowl games), that one being the hardest. We seemed to be good but not great every year.

  8. Gumpa says:

    My first memory, was watching Johnny Rodgers return all those kicks and win the Heisman. I remember sitting in our small living room with all my extended family and all hush around the one 19″ color TV as we watched the game of the century, and the number of cigarettes in the ashtrays. Oh my God, no wonder I lost both my mom and my dad to variations of lung diseases. I remember how it seemed like a national event, a war victory, the death of a president all in one. Back then we all knew what it meant to be in love with a football program. It stuck with me, that’s why I am the crazed fan that I am today. That game was my first game, can you believe it? Now leave me alone, I need a moment.

  9. R says:

    ..Band day 1965-66 ? High School bands used to fill North and South Stadium and perform at Half-time.
    The Game: Nu v Utah St ? (NU won handily)
    Joe Armstrong, doubled as center and Punter…all the while playing with a white towel hanging out his back side, so Bob Churchich and Fred Duda could wipe their hands. The football had no stripes. Dick Davis ran rough. Wayne Meylan was the first “Beast” on defense. (Middle guard) He was GOOD!
    The GRASS (yes, grass) had 2 shades ( Lighter and darker) that alternated every 5 yards, and the yard markers were in the UCLA “Script” that matched the team uniform Numbers.
    The band didn’t play as much–so you could almost actually hear the grunts and pads pop all the way up to section 107 East balcony.
    The sense you might fall out of the balcony–and how far away the field was–yet you could see everything..
    A Piper Cub airplane flying overhead, towing a banner that changed after half-time.
    The byzantine route of ramps and stairs, just to get to the East Balcony.
    The gun like echo of someone stomping on an upturned wax paper drink cup, underneath the stands.
    Cries of –”Get yer 7-up ” –”Coca–cooooolla”
    People (except kids) dressed up for the games.
    High schoolers and college kids climbing the hurricaine fence –where the South stadium complex is now. ( Used to be an enclosed practice field)
    Eating lunch at the Sandoz cafeteria . Brand new back then. The return tray conveyer belt was fascinating.
    My sister’s Sorority House ( Gamma Phi Beta) . 16th Street was 2-way.?
    Cars, parked everywhere–on lawns, on right of way, and bumper to bumper.
    “Go Big Red” for the first time…not sure why/ when these people were saying it.
    The “Swerve” on hwy 34 in Seward and the old Restaurant with Log cabin siding at the curve–eating pancakes there before going on in to Lincoln.
    Long car rides and lots of fresh air.
    etc.
    etc.
    Being happier than a… “car riding dog”.

    1. Jay Jay says:

      These are great anecdotes. A simpler time when everything seemed so bright and shiny when we were younger.

      I also remember following the newspapers everyday during the season as a kid and opening the Sunday paper to see the stories the day after games. The photos would have the small caption over the player with his name to ID him, i.e., “Meylan – N” . I’d listen to the games on radio with a paper and pencil and try to track statistics based on play-by-play, i.e., “Kinney over the right side for about 5 yards”; then I’d tally it all up and see how I did compared to the box score on Sunday. Then stay up late on Sunday night to watch the Bob Devaney Show to see all the highlights. Every down of the game would be shown and he’d comment.

      1. R says:

        Yep,…and the black dotted lines in the grainy photos showing the path of the ball, the path of a pass, run, or a kick.
        Bob Taylor on ch 11, with grease pen in hand, giving a special friday nite forecast for the game.
        The offset goal posts, …that in 1970 when artificial turf was laid, were replaced and ended up at Seacrest Field.

        How the sportswriters headlines never seemed to capture the action on the field. Well, ….that has never changed! LOL!

  10. Gumpa says:

    By the way, the Kerkhoff article was a let down, he had a bunch of interesting threads of info, but never got too specific with his accusation. Thats the problem, anybody can see that schedules vary and that they have an impact on how we view certain teams. Duh, say something original.

  11. Lou says:

    Watching the Indiana game in 1950 in which Bobby Reynolds scored every point for Nebraska, yes he kicked extra points also. His electrifying run was most memorable when he took the ball around the 50 yard line, ran back and forth
    across the field and backed up almost to the goal line before the field was spread out and he ran through them for a touchdown. He probably ran 150 years for the 50 yard TD.

  12. Trailboss says:

    Nebr vs Missouri – Civic Auditorium – closed circut tv / all the people in red / all the cheering & chants / the hot dogs with mustard & relish – just a small boy but sure was some kind of experience – first memorable Cornhusker experience.

  13. Gabriel Stovall says:

    My first vivid Husker memory was when Nebraska beat Oklahoma in Memorial Stadium with Keithon McCants as the quarterback. I believe they went on to get blanked by Miami in the Orange bowl. I’m not sure why that’s my first vivid memory, but it is.

  14. marv says:

    First husker memory-
    The first game I attended was in ’94 against an outmatched Pacific team- I was 9 yrs old and the tickets were a birthday present. The Huskers slapped 49 on them in the first half and we got a heavy dose of Berringer for most of the game. My second game in ’97 against Culpepper’s Central Florida team. Central Florida put a scare in the Huskers jumping to an early lead in the 1st qtr and again in the 2nd but Nebraska pulled away with a to-close-for-comfort victory. I remember backup QB Frankie London scored an important touchdown in the first half. It was a great game and I believe it was Central Floridas first year as a D1 football program. To go on the road and hang with the Huskers showed a lot, but the Big Red may have been caught looking ahead for their upcoming top 10 showdown against Washington.

  15. Ted Eckerson says:

    My first memory that sticks in my mind kind of fuzzy is Gale Sayers long TD run against us in the early 60′s. My first vivid memory was huddled around a radio (I was a radioman 2nd class) in the South China Seas in the wee hours of the morning listening to the game of the century as our reception faded in and out.

  16. Jay Jay says:

    Attended my first game as an 8-year old in 1967. It was Thanksgiving Day game between NU and Oklahoma and we sat in what I think was the newly built south stadium. My memories are kinda foggy except for the brilliant red of the uniforms and the feeling that I was a part of something special. I loved – and still do – the curly-q numerals on the jerseys and the simple helmets with the number on the side. I recall players like Dick Davis, Ben Gregory, Dennis Morrison, Wayne Meylan, Barry Alvarez, etc. The Sooners had some great athletes such as Eddie Hinton and Granville Liggins and, unfortunately, won the game 21-14.

    But the score didn’t matter. I was hooked that November day and began soaking up every newspaper story, photo, film reel, radio broadcast or ABC game that was televised in those years. Now – 45 years later – I still view Nebraska football as my top hobby, passion and obsession. I miss those times during the 60s and the 70s when we were along with the Huskers on a “journey” to national championships and unrivaled success. In some ways, that ride was more enjoyable than the period in the 90s when we “expected” to win and had become so spoiled by winning that as fans we just wondered what the margin of victory might be.

    In some ways, the program today feels like it’s on the same path we walked in the 60s or through the mid- 70s when we couldn’t get over the hump against OU. Today, a national championship seems like a longshot and, while I hope we get back to that pinncale one day, just winning a conference championship and landing in a BCS bowl would feel pretty good. That’s my goal for the 2012 team and, of course, I’ll be watching every Saturday.

  17. Derek says:

    My first memory of a Husker game was thanksgiving day in 1978. I was seven years old. I remember my family going crazy, the hardest hit I have ever seen (and still think that it was a fumble) on a return, JC Watts, Billy Sims, and Tom Osborne finally defeating Barry Switzer. I remember that my mom was so relieved that thanksgiving would not be ruined by Oklahoma this year!