You know about the Big Red Bracket, full of cherished Husker history. But we like to have a little fun with Mad Chatter, so I cooked up a 32-team bracket of forgettable Husker moments and traditions, all since 2001.
Check it out:
#8- Tommy Lee Goes to College
#4- F-ing hillbillies
#5- Crusty old F-
#2- Corey McKeon press conferences
#7- Sam Keller checkdowns
#3- Texas A&M referees
#6- Hail Mary defense
#1- “I refuse to let this program gravitate to mediocrity,” by Steve Pederson
#8- Pound the rock
#4- Christmas in Shreveport
#5- DeLone v. Ruf/Neks
#2- Dan Beebe trophy presentation
#7- Red Out Around the World
#3- Taylor Martinez’s cell phone
#6- Cursing out Bill Snyder at midfield
#1- One (extra) second in Dallas
#8- Solich’s shortside option
#4- “He moved around well,” by Frank Solich
#5- “He’s doing some good things,” by Bo Pelini
#2- Throat slashing
#7- Gabberts’ verbal commitments
#3- Beau Davis’ passer rating
#6- Panico’s punt returns
#1- West Coast Offense
#8- Kellen Houston’s punch
#4- Terrence Nunn’s fumble
#5- LeKevin Smith’s fumble
#2- 40-day coaching search, featuring Houston Nutt
#7- Jordan Congdon’s range
#3- Jammal Lord’s end-zone INT against Texas
#6- Restore the Order
I invite you to vote on the first round, either in the comments section or in an email to me — just send your 16 first-round winners to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Depending on how many tallies I receive, I may post the Round of 16 Friday, the Round of 8 Monday and so on. If turnout is low, I’ll complete the bracket myself Friday.
Now on to real sports stuff…
>> Big Ten media days starts Thursday in Chicago and it’s amazing how little buzz Nebraska is getting. A year ago, the Huskers were all the talk. They were favored to win the Legends Division. They were supposed to have the top 3 defensive players in the league.
Now, after a respectable but disappointing 9-4 season, NU is barely noticeable in the preseason hype. An informal poll of 24 writers, released by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, had the Huskers third in the Legends. Only one scribe picked them to make it to Indy.
I don’t think any of this means a thing to Nebraska’s performance in 2012. In fact, I think the Huskers have a chance to take advantage of the low profile. But fans better hope Bo Pelini has more defensive talent than critics are giving him credit for.
>> The NCAA goofed on Penn State. Not necessarily in getting involved (though I’m not certain they should have). But the best signal the NCAA could’ve sent was to take the Nittany Lions off the field for a year.
Mark Emmert should’ve let 2012 play out, as scheduled. Then in December, announce that Penn State will not be allowed to play in 2013. Sanctioning the football program with scholarship cuts and bowl bans just rings hollow to me. It takes the focus off Jerry Sandusky’s crimes. Either take Penn State off the field or stay out of it.
>> It’s July 24 and the Kansas City Royals still stink. Alex Gordon does not. His average was .240 on June 9. Now it’s .298. Gordon has been on fire — 24 of 54 — since the All-Star Game. Joe Posnanski, perhaps the best baseball writer in the country, wrote this before Gordon’s post-ASG surge:
“You could make a pretty compelling argument that Gordon is the most underrated player in baseball. Last year, Gordon had a 7.1 WAR, which makes it the best season by WAR for any Royals player since George Brett in 1985. Gordon got off to a dreadful start this season, and he’s a bit down on home runs. But he has been killing it the last month and a half. He’s a good hitter, gets on base, smashes a lot of doubles, he’s a terrific fielder and an excellent base runner. I was happy for Billy Butler when he was chosen for the All-Star team — he’s a great guy, and a line-drive machine — but Gordon is easily the best player on the Royals, and he should have been the Royals’ representative in Kansas City.”
I can’t help but wonder how much brighter Gordon’s star would be had he been selected to play before the hometown fans.
>> Rosenblatt Stadium begins demolition today. It was one thing not going there for the CWS the past two years. It’s going to be even stranger not seeing the stadium on the hill when I drive down I-80.
>> Lane Kiffin feels your pain, Bill O’Brien. Of course, he’s also trying to take your best player, Silas Redd. I don’t anticipate more than four or five Nittany Lions to leave the program before fall camp. The exodus of talent will come after this season.
>> Kiffin, by the way, is charming people who once hated him.
>> Matt Hinton looks closely at Landry Jones’ statistics, and what it means to his senior year.
>> Bruce Feldman breaks down the rise of Utah’s Star Lotulelei, the potential No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
>> Good profile of Michael Phelps and his future.
>> I’m so, so tired of Dwight Howard. That is all.
>> Back to the Big Red Bracket. We’re wrapping up Round One voting today. Barring a few late rallies, here are the Round Two match-ups, starting Thursday morning:
Blackshirts / Academic All-Americans
Mike Rozier’s run against UCLA / In the deed the glory
The option / Henery’s 57-yard FG
Oranges on the Astroturf / Frazier’s run against Florida
60-3 / Suh’s 5 sacks against Texas
Black 41 Flash Reverse / Sea of Red
Tunnel walk / Scoring Explosion
Man, Woman and Child / Hail Varsity
Sellout streak / Thanksgiving Fridays
Applauding opponents / Osborne going for 2
“N” on the helmet / Taking over Notre Dame Stadium
The Pipeline / Miracle at Mizzou
Walk-on program / Throwing the bones
30-year streaks / Schlesinger up the middle in Miami
Game of the Century / Red Balloons
Husker Power / Go Big Red
Thanks for voting — and for reading.