Here’s a few thoughts at closing time:
1. I stopped for dinner (wings) on the way home from football practice to catch a few baseball games. I couldn’t keep my eyes from wandering over to the World Cup qualifier on ESPN. The U.S. Men’s National Team beat Mexico, 2-0, to qualify for their seventh straight Cup. I don’t know the history. Heck, I don’t know the game. But I know that I was watching. It looked like the U.S. had control of it. But that’s a novice talking. I’m not sure this result wouldn’t have been called a huge upset not long ago, but the reaction in the sports bar was that it wasn’t an upset. Maybe that’s how far USA soccer has come. I don’t know if soccer is taking over the country. But it’s farther along than I’ve ever seen it. It was the main game on TV in the football/baseball hangout where I went and at one point the guy next to me said, “Eddie Johnson just scored.” This old sports establishment guy just nodded, like I knew what he was talking about. And I kept watching.
2. You know the saying about Nebraska weather. What a crazy afternoon. If you wanted to chase storms, you could just follow the intense line along I-80 and north into Wahoo and Gretna. If you wanted to watch Storm Chasers baseball, see you on Wednesday at 1 p.m. for the completion of game one (1-1 in the second) and then game two at 7 p.m. League championship doubleheader? Very cool. Ernie Banks would approve.
3. This Oklahoma State story is pretty intriguing, on a lot of levels. The way Sports Illustrated is drawing it out, in parts, is unusual. To me, it makes it more about bringing attention to SI than it does reporting a story. But I won’t judge the story on that. Okie State in trouble? I have three words for you: Hart. Lee. Dykes. The Pokes have been down this road before. What’s really interesting to me is the reaction from the national media, and various parts of the college sports world, which includes Jay Bilas now. It used to be that the reaction to a cheating scandal was pretty universal in condemning the act and calling for punishment. These days, with so many anti-NCAA media agendas, you’re already hearing that these crimes are the NCAA’s fault for having stupid rules. Meanwhile, Berry Tramel of the Daily Oklahoman spoke to a former NCAA enforcement rep (who did the SMU scandal in the 1980′s) who compared parts (pay for performance and older boosters with an urgency to win) to the SMU case. NCAA enforcement isn’t very sturdy right now. This one seems to have a lot of legs. Keep an eye on this.
4. Finally, I like the vibe at Nebraska football practice tonight. Not a lot of tension in the air. Business as usual. This is a big game, right?