Published Friday, June 29, 2012 AT 1:19 AM / Updated at 2:44 PM
Mad Chatter, June 29
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

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):

Wisconsin 13
Nebraska 9
Michigan State 7
Penn State 5
Iowa 1

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 Omahaprediction 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.

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


  1. Gumpa says:

    I think its too easy to say that Agau will go to some shiny big-time b-ball college. Odds are, you are right, so shut up about it, already. If the huskers are going to move up in the b-ball world they will need to beat those odds. What say we get some positive mojo and hope for the best? Not just hope for the best, lets try to get behind Tim Miles and imagine each positive step before they happen! Imagine that Agau can see the vision of playing for the huskers in his home state, with his high school buddy. Imagine that Agou has made some other high profile contacts along the way and maybe they want to come to the shiniest newest college basketball complex in the country too. Now maybe the huskers actually have 2-3 four/five star recruits. Maybe the huskers win 20 games in 2013-14. Maybe another round of recruits get excited and sign for 2014-15. Then maybe you have 5-6 players that are 4 star or better. Then what say you? Maybe the naysayers will find something else to hang their hats on. Go Big Red! Pass me another glass of kool-aid.

    1. Tom says:

      If Agau wants to stay instate and play in the NCAA tournament, it is Creighton he should pick, not Nebraska. Why pick a program with zero history (no NCAA tournment wins ever) versus a school in your home town, which just happens to abuts your high school campus, where basketball is the main athletic focus.

      And yes, Creighton has one of his former high school students as well in Josh Jones.

      While we are at it, it would be great to see Tre’shawn Thurman go to Creighton too.

      1. Jay says:

        So pick a school that has never made a sweet 16 over a school that hasn’t won a tourny game? It seems neither school has much history. I suspect he will pick a major conference school but probably not Nebraska. I think Nebraska has a slight edge over Creighton because of the Big 10 and Biggs being there. I still think he will end up in the Big East or ACC.

        1. Tony says:

          If Agau looks at the immediate future of each program (NU and CU) he would definitely choose Creighton. Way too many “maybes” mentioned by Gumpa above. CU does not need to say “maybe” to most of those statements.

    2. Sidney says:

      Yes. Dirk should stop covering stories on local basketball recruits if it doesn’t have the potential to boost Husker basketball. Good call, Grumpa.

      1. Gumpa says:

        Grumpa? Its Gumpa!

  2. Kevin says:

    It sounds like Biggs needs to strengthen his mind also, in order to become eligible. Shouldn’t be too hard at Nebraska with all of the academic “support” for the athletes.

  3. Kevin says:

    No way Agau picks Creighton he wants to play in a major conference which the missouri valley is not. If Creighton played in the Big Ten they would be at the bottom just as Nebraska is. In the end Agau picks Nebraska to play with Biggs.

    1. LP says:

      Yeah, it really hurt Larry Bird to play in the Valley, too. Nebraska fans always include al ot of “if’s” in their statements.

      1. joey says:

        Ummm Larry Bird played for Indianna Hoosiers. They are part of the BIG 10, not the VALLEY conference. Just thought you might wanna know. He was BORN and raised in that state, so when he went to college, he picked that college. NOT Indianna State neither.

        1. Tony says:

          Sorry, Joey. Bird transferred to Indiana State after one year at Indiana and then took the MVC Sycamores all the way to the national championship game. I’m not sure of the point that you are trying to make??

  4. Big Beef says:

    Not really interested in Bubba Starling anymore. Unless he enrolls at Nebraska again, his fliration with the football program was used to negociate a huge financial windfall. Good for him and his family, but really don’t care.

    1. LariatJoe says:

      I don’t think Bubba’s real concerned about your opinion.

      1. Big Beef says:

        BS did a masterful job using Nebraska as a bargaining chip, nothing more Skippy.

    2. joey says:

      AMEN BEEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Dos Passos says:

    Dirk, I’ll just say I’m glad you’re not in charge of USA Swimming

  6. Melvin says:

    Watching that nu video will make people cry about the sad state of current affairs in lincoln