It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in Ten Little bites. We’ve got Big Ten football and NBA Draft, Kirk Ferentz and Rafa Nadal, Akoy Agau and Deion Sanders, charges of sexism on the tennis court and NASCAR-style advertising at the swimming pool. But first, a professional debut.
Bubba Starling played his first minor league game last night in Johnson City, Tenn. He went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
“He needs to be in there every night, and he needs to play,” Burlington manager Tommy Shields said. “He’s going to be an exciting player. I hope Bubba doesn’t put a lot of pressure on himself.”
I wonder what we’ll see first: Starling playing at Werner Park or a new first-string quarterback at Nebraska. Assuming Taylor Martinez starts his junior and senior seasons, that means Bubba has until September 2014. Better get movin’.
>> Deverell Biggs is going to redshirt. That’s good news for Nebraska. The 2012-13 season is going to be a disaster whether Biggs is on the floor or not. Might as well save him. Besides, he has to strengthen his body before he’s ready for the Big Ten.
The World-Herald’s Nick Rubek also reports that Akoy Agau is planning to trim his list of potential colleges to 12 or 13 soon. I expect Nebraska and Creighton will be on the list. But neither, I suspect, will sign the 6-9 all-stater.
>> Coming in Saturday’s World-Herald, I have an interview with Anthony Tolliver, one of the smartest basketball guys around. He addressed LeBron v. Durant, Anthony Davis v. Tim Duncan, Doug McDermott’s NBA future and more. Check it out.
>> Wednesday on Twitter, I posed this question: Over the next five years, which of these Big Ten football programs will be most successful — Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa or Nebraska? Here was a quick vote tally (granted, the sample size is small):
Michigan State 7
Penn State 5
A few responses:
Greg Miller: Wisky. They are what Nebraska used to be. Local linemen developed and stud skill players abroad
Mike Vamosi: begrudgingly Wisconsin with how they seem to get QB transfers that keep them strong. I’m now going to shower, feel dirty
Chris Schmidt: gotta go with MSU….little staff turnover, Dantonio is finding his groove in recruiting, they do well vs Mich…like’em
Tyler Albers: Nebraska. 2013 schedule sets up for a title run. Wiscy won’t continue to get transfers at QB. Mich St is a close 2nd.
My money, for now, is on the Badgers.
>> Kirk Ferentz told Sam McKewon something the other day that impressed me. Ferentz has never voted in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, he said, because he doesn’t see enough of other teams.
“For me to comment on how good Boise is or how good TCU is or the Pac-12, you can’t do it. Because you don’t see those teams. We might be the worst group to rely on in November and December.”
>> The Oklahoman stumbled some revealing emails from Chuck Neinas that show TV networks’ influence on conference realignment.
>> Rafa Nadal lost in the second round at Wimbledon to the 100th-ranked player in the world? So much for a fifth-straight Grand Slam final between Nadal and Djokovic. Considering Nadal’s record, the loss is one of the biggest of all-time in a Grand Slam. And it illustrates yet another reason Roger Federer’s career is so amazing. He’s made 32 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinals.
>> Do women’s tennis players deserve the same prize money as men? Wimbledon, along with the other Grand Slams, say yes. Frenchman Gilles Simon stirred the pot this week when he emphatically said no. A very interesting debate.
For the record, women’s tennis (thanks to the Williams sisters) was just as entertaining as the men’s game during the early 2000s. But now, with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer ruling the world and the women’s game slipping, it’s not close. That should mean something when it comes to prize money.
Andy Roddick put it like this: “Tennis is a business. At the end of the day we’re all here because we’re making money in one way, shape or form. … But those top guys, they sell the most. They’re bringing in the most. … If you say that, I don’t think you should be deemed automatically a sexist.”
>> In a World-Herald Thursday, I examined the swimsuit evolution since 2008, when full-body, rubber suits contributed to dozens of world records. Olympian Tyler Clary had an interesting take on the topic. Clary wanted to return to the full-body suits not just because of the speed, but because of the marketing potential:
“It might be a little bold of a statement for me to say, but I really think that we should be allowed to use that coverage to market ourselves a little more. I think that would have a big impact on how swimming is looked at.”
So what do you think? Michael Phelps swimming in London with a Subway logo on his chest?
>> I love the Swim Trials being in Omaha. I’ve attended all four night sessions. But if I were in charge of USA Swimming, I would move them in 2016. The sport needs more exposure in the U.S., and it has probably maxed out in Omaha.
>> What’s it like to be the best of all-time in your sport, yet not the best right now? Phelps may learn over the next month what Tiger Woods and Roger Federer feel like. But would Phelps’ legacy take a hit if Ryan Lochte outshines him in London? I doubt it. Phelps’ 2008 accomplishments are just too impressive.
>> As if the Oklahoma City Thunder needed another freaky athlete. Perry Jones III is an enigma, no doubt. But surrounded by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, he’s a potential star. Strangely, the most intriguing selections were outside the lottery. Jones, Royce White, Jared Sullinger. And how ‘bout Kyle O’Quinn (the Norfolk State big man who carried the 15th seed over Missouri) going 49th to the Magic?
>> Kentucky had six players drafted Thursday night. That’s two more than the entire Big Ten (Meyers Leonard, Sullinger, Draymond Green and Robbie Hummel). Yikes. The SEC had 13 total picks, the
Big Ten Big 12 had nine, the ACC had eight, the Big East had seven.
>> Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt gives his “Eight for Omaha” prediction for 2013. Only three SEC teams.
>> Finally, we’re only two months from the season opener, so how ‘bout a little Friday morning Husker history? This is Nebraska-Florida State, 1986. Sweet game, sweet video. Steve Taylor and the Husker D-line dominated — FSU had minus-1 yards in the second half.
My favorite part comes at the 9:30 mark of the clip when Keith Jackson says: “Deion Sanders, remember that name. 6-feet, 180, a sophomore out of Fort Meyers. You’ll hear that a lot in years to come, I expect.”
>> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.