It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in 10 little bites. There’s so much on the plate, you may need another lunch break — if you don’t like the taste of something, skip it and move on. (What’s my limit on lame eating metaphors? Three? OK.)
Anyway, we hit Lane Kiffin and Doris Burke, Calvin Strong and Tony Romo, Justin Verlander and Bob Bradley, frisbee HORSE and Dylan McKay. But first, what if Jim Delany had chosen Rutgers or Syracuse in 2010?
Three years ago Oct. 16, Nebraska hosted Texas at Memorial Stadium. Feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it. Both programs have dropped since then — the Huskers a little, the ‘Horns a lot. But it amazes me how much the entire Big 12 has changed. I’m not just talking about departures (A&M and Mizzou) and arrivals (West Virginia and TCU).
Since 2010, Baylor has produced a Heisman winner and now is on pace to shatter NCAA records for offense. Oklahoma State nearly made the BCS championship game in ’11. Kansas State, still mediocre when NU destroyed them in ’10, contended for a national title in ’12. All three have garnered more (positive) headlines than Oklahoma and Texas.
Makes you wonder where the Huskers would fit if they had stuck around.
I went on the radio today with “Gaskins and Stevens” in Lincoln (93.7 FM) and we got started on the Big Ten. Maybe it’s the bad, boring football across the league. Maybe it’s Nebraska’s continuing struggles or its terrible schedule. But as I picture a conference with Rutgers and Maryland next year, I find myself moving closer to the point at which I wish NU had stayed in the Big 12 (at least for athletic reasons). I’m not there yet, but I can relate to those who are.
What do you think? Drop me an email or Twitter message. I’ll post some of them in Monday’s Chatter.
>> How ’bout a little love for the most exciting team in college football? No, I’m not talking about Iowa. It’s the Georgia Bulldogs.
College football traditions are so different than the NFL, sometimes they barely feel like the same sport. One of the most notable is the standard for a great season.
In college, it’s zero losses, maybe one. Only in rare circumstances (1990 Colorado, 2007 LSU) does college football reward a national title to a team with more than one slip-up.
The NFL standard for a “great” regular season is way more lenient. 13-3. 12-4. Maybe even 11-5. You earn your greatness in the playoffs, not the regular season.
The reason, of course, is the level of competition. The best college football teams only play four or five “losable” games each season. Good NFL teams play 16 — OK, 15 if you get lucky enough to draw the Jaguars.
What’s the point? Well, in the next decade, inspired by its own playoff and by big-money schools’ desire to break away from the NCAA, we might see college shift toward an NFL model. More competitive games. Fewer perfect or one-loss seasons. Imagine crowning a college football champ that lost three games! It could happen, especially if power schools decide to play only “power schools.”
I thought about all this as I watched Georgia last week. Want to know what college football in 2030 might look like? Look at the Dawgs’ remarkable first five weeks.
at Clemson, lost 38-35
South Carolina, won 41-30
North Texas, won 45-21
LSU, won 44-41
at Tennessee, won 34-31 in OT
They’ve basically played an NFL schedule model. Every game (except North Texas) deserves a national spotlight. And four came down to the final minute. It’s incredible to watch. Decimated by injuries (which may or may not be caused by that schedule), Georgia steps onto the high wire again Saturday when it hosts undefeated Missouri.
UGA didn’t enter this obstacle course on purpose — the SEC put South Carolina and LSU on Georgia’s September schedule. But I’m curious what you think of the potential future. Would you embrace the week-to-week excitement. Would you be OK with a system in which 10-2 is a great regular season? Or would you miss targeting two or three “big games” and the pursuit of perfection?
>> ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg embedded with Northwestern last week as it prepared for Ohio State. I love stories like this.
>> What the heck happened to Lane Kiffin’s career? Ivan Maisel examines and writes an excellent column.
>> What’s up with the Pac-12’s mysterious absence from the primetime ABC slot?
>> You know TV is changing when Bill Simmons has more power than Magic Johnson. When Doris Burke is an improvement from Michael Wilbon. ABC/ESPN’s coverage of the NBA will never match the star power and chemistry of the TNT crew.
But that’s OK. Consumers like me no longer demand traditional experts — Hall of Famers like Magic, columnists like Wilbon, coaches like Kurt Rambis, etc. Put somebody on my TV that delivers the most insight. The best information. If that’s an ex-blogger who never covered a press conference (Simmons), or a woman (Burke), who cares! I expect a significant upgrade at ABC/ESPN this year.
>> Looking for something to do tonight? Go watch Calvin Strong’s assault on the Class A rushing record. The Omaha North junior is averaging 246 yards per game, almost 30 more than Calvin Jones’ record of 219.6, set in 1989. North hosts 4-2 Papillion-La Vista.
>> I love my local radio shows and there’s too many good segments to link. But here’s a good sound bite I caught Thursday from 810 WHB in Kansas City. Kevin Kietzman was interviewing Herm Edwards and the conversation turned to Tony Romo’s late interception against the Broncos.
“When it gets tied (48-48), I’m sitting there and I’m watching the game and I start screaming at the television,” Edwards said.
“… I’m going, ‘Don’t do it, Tony! Whatever you do, don’t do it!’ I’m actually talking to him through the television. And then he does it. And I scream at my wife. And she goes, ‘Are you OK? I thought you had a heart attack.’
“I said, he did it, honey. He did it. I told him, ‘Don’t do it. Whatever you do, don’t do it. Not now. Don’t do it! And then he did it. …
“I’m screaming at the television. Don’t do it! It’s second-and-16! You don’t have to try to win it right now! You can go to overtime!”
Might be the funniest thing Herm Edwards has ever said.
>> I enjoyed the NFL Week in Quotes from Football Outsiders (I assume it’s something they do every week, but this was my introduction).
>> Good stuff from Grantland on the “League of Denial” and what it means for the NFL.
>> I was spotless in my MLB playoff picks until Justin Verlander channeled his inner Bob Gibson last night. There is something to be said for balance on a baseball roster — 10 or 20 above-average major leaguers banding together. A different star every night. The whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Yadda, yadda.
Then you see a game like Game 5 in Oakland and you remember why having the best player on the field still matters. Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, two of the top five players in baseball over the past decade, beat the A’s by themselves.
I don’t think the Tigers have enough to beat the Red Sox, but Boston better not give Verlander a chance in Game 7.
>> In the NLCS, give me the Dodgers over St. Louis in six.
>> Speaking of … a massive red Midwestern fan base that calls itself the nation’s “best fans?” It’s hard not to draw parallels between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
>> All hail the American Outlaws. The U.S. national soccer team faces Jamaica tonight in Kansas City and there will be hundreds of Nebraskans in attendance, I’m sure. Most will be affiliated with the Outlaws. It’ll be a wild night in K.C. For anyone going, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me an email.
>> Bob Bradley’s renovation of Egyptian soccer is a remarkable story.
>> We might try a new weekly feature — “Thought-provoking Fridays.” (Or if it stinks, we might stop immediately). Here are the two best emails I received this week:
I hate the fact that the media wants people that speak their mind. Than David Pollock speaks his mind and is crucified for it. Never mind the fact that Chris Fowler egged him on. I have no problem with a woman on the committee, and maybe I am too forgiving, but I don’t think gender was the issue with David. I believe he wants people that played football on the committee, thus a woman would not qualify. Although I don’t agree with him that you would have had to play D 1 football to qualify to be on the committee, it is his OPINION. This is the kind of thing that turns guys like me off to the media. Let’s pander to the politically correct society. I am all for running bigots and knuckle draggers out of the main stream, but when we go after the David Pollocks, all we do is give the bigots fuel for the fire that everyone is against them.
Has Nebraska’s image dropped that much that we’re getting passed for better television spots on ESPN by the likes of Indiana vs MSU? Last week it was ESPNU Nebraska resorted to while MSU vs Iowa and Michigan vs Minnesota welcomed more coverage from ESPN and ABC. It may seem like a lot of fuss over nothing but the more Nebraska get’s pushed to these third/forth tier networks the further they’re pushed away from national/recruits relevance. Another example, Notre Dame at an awful Purdue was more deserving of prime time than ranked Nebraska vs ranked UCLA. I could go on and on about this but the problem of being irrelevant is in someways already here.
>> I’ve seen a few good trick shot videos. But this Frisbee guy is off the charts! (I’d love to know how long it took to make some of these shots).
>> Dylan McKay is 47 years old?!? I prefer to think of him like this.
>> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.