1. Great bye weekend. Even the five-year-old girls soccer game Saturday morning in cold drizzle (my Anna scored 10 goals; there’s more scoring in five-year-old soccer than a Denver Broncos game). Thanks, schedule-makers, I needed that.
2. By now, you’ve probably heard about or read the comments out of North Dakota State’s 20-0 victory over South Dakota State on Saturday. Zach Zenner, the SDSU running back who chopped through Nebraska’s defense for 202 yards last week, was held to four yards on eight carries by NDSU’s defense. The Bison also had seven sacks of SDSU. It was a dominant performance, which led Fargo sportswriter Jeff Kolpack to write that maybe Nebraska should send the Blackshirts to Fargo because “the FCS junior varsity Bison showed the FBS Big Ten Huskers how to play real defense.” That was followed with a quote from Bison linebacker Grant Olson saying that from watching film the previous week, it didn’t look like Nebraska’s defense played hard against SDSU, and the Jackrabbits looked like the more physical team. Ordinarily that would be pretty hot stuff in Lincoln Land, bulletin board material for the locker room and the corner bar. But these days around Husker football, I wonder if it will even register a shrug.
3. Boise State clubbed Southern Miss, 60-7, on Saturday. The Broncos were giving up 24 points a game. The only reason for the mention is some of us, myself included, got pretty excited about Nebraska’s defensive performance that night. Fact is, Southern Miss has scored 38 points in four games.
4. Nothing shocks me anymore, but I dropped my phone this morning when I read that Lane Kiffin got fired on the tarmac at LAX. Kiffin was in his fourth year, but he didn’t even make it out of September. I understand why, and how, and I saw the game in the desert late Saturday night. This is a different world we live in today. I never could have imagined coaches getting fired in September or getting fired after two seasons (Turner Gill). But the rules today are there are no rules. The level of money and urgency in the game is mind-boggling. At some point it’s probably smart business. But the game gets less sane, and more like a video game, every year. Hit reset, move on. If you’re from a generation that believes there are rules for keeping head coaches, magic numbers of victories or bowl wins and such, forget it. Again, Kiffin was overmatched. This was the right move. I’m stunned it happened now, and yet I’m getting more used to it all the time.
5. Ohio State looked very good, but I’d love to have seen what happened had the Wisconsin safety not fallen asleep on the touchdown pass before halftime. Then it’s a three-point game in the second half. It sure looks like Wisconsin is the second best team in the league, and that’s with a new coach, and that team is coming to a division near you next year.
6. The Kansas City Chiefs have not beaten a great team yet, but the 4-0 is legit because the Chiefs have a salty defense and a quarterback who makes plays and doesn’t get them beat. The Chiefs have a knack for the timely turnover, too. That defense will keep them in every game and Alex Smith will give them a chance to win them.
7. December 1 is when Peyton Manning comes to Arrowhead. The great one might have 50 touchdown passes by then. He’s got 16 in four games.
8. Love Pinnacle Bank Arena. I’ll have more of my first impression in Tuesday’s First Downs and Second Guesses. It’s a gem.
9. Don’t love ties in soccer. If they don’t want to end it with a shoot out, fine. But Creighton and Georgetown should still be playing, if that’s what it takes.
10. Love the win-or-gone baseball playoff games. This time of year takes on a whole new meaning when your team is playing. It’s time for Dodger baseball. I may regret it, but I’m glad the blue is going to ATL. The Cardinals just know how to win this time of year.
11. See you tomorrow for Lunch with Tom at 12:30 p.m. That’s usually right after Taylor Martinez sits down with the media. I’m wondering if he talks tomorrow and what he says about his status. This looks like something that Bo Pelini could use to keep Illinois in the dark until game time.