Archive for February, 2007

It’s Been a While… My Apologies
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Or, maybe you could care less about me not posting in nearly a week. Regardless, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Creighton Heading to St. Louis on High Note — Now it’s Time for the “Ifs”

For all intents and purposes, the Valley Tournament started on Saturday for the Jays. A loss would’ve meant a required three wins in three days in St. Louis. After beating Wichita State, the Jays may only have to win one game in the conference tournament.

The Jays need to hope one of these three things happens this week (preferably #1)

1) Creighton wins three games (duh)
2) Southern Illinois wins three games
3) Wichita State wins one game

If Creighton wins the tournament, they are obviously in the Big Dance. If they lose the first game they’re obviously out. If they win the first game, and Wichita State beats Missouri State, and the Jays lose to the Shockers in the semifinals (and SIU wins the Tournament) my gut says Creighton is still in. However, if the Jays win the first game, but lose to Missouri State in the semifinals, the Jays are undoubtedly out.

That second Missouri Valley bid should come down to Creighton and Missouri State. The selection committee will value a neutral court win two weeks before the NCAA Tournament over a regular-season sweep (in my opinion).

If Creighton wins one game, the Valley gets two teams into the Tournament. The second team will either be Creighton or Missouri State (assuming SIU wins the Tournament). If Creighton loses the opening game, and Missouri State loses to Wichita State, the Valley may only get one team. And, of course, if Southern Illinois does not win the Valley Tournament, and Creighton only wins one game, the Jays are out.

If Southern does not win the Valley Tournament, but Creighton plays in the Valley Championship game and loses, the Valley should get three teams in.

Dontcha think?

Will Nebraska Make it to the NCAA Tournament?

No.

Wow, that was a short entry.

Wait, There’s More

Nebraska has a great shot at making the NIT, and I hope they do. Sure, it’d be nice if they made the NCAA Tournament, but without a few wins in Oklahoma City that’s not going to happen. Regardless, this team has been a lot of fun to watch. Doc Sadler has infused an energy and excitement into this program that we haven’t seen in a long time. Within a year or two, this should be a program playing with a purpose in March.

Sam Has that Keller Instinct

Last Friday the media was able to talk with Sam Keller. The once and future Husker quarterback transferred from Arizona State after he was named the starting QB, then named the back-up the following day. After sitting out his transfer season, Sam is ready to roll… sort of.

Keller said he still needs to master the offense, and he hopes to use these next 6 months wisely. I don’t know what I expected from interviewing Keller. Let me just say this: the guy knows how to handle himself with the media. He showed no signs of rust after being away from the spotlight (and the microphones that go with it) for six months. He comes across as a guy you’d want to follow on the football field. He’s well-spoken, has a good presence about him and could very well be the missing piece to a conference championship.

When I asked Sam if he thought he was, he said, “We’re due for a Big Twelve Championship.”

Even Sam’s father was impressed. Mike Keller sent me an email (in jest) wondering how we made Sam sound and look so good.

Should be an interesting Spring.

Speaking of Which

With Husker practice just around the corner, be on the look-out for a special Nebraska preview. I recently had a chance to talk with someone who, surprisingly, is a big Husker fan — and he shared his thoughts on the upcoming season and what it will take to win a National Championship. I won’t tell you who it is — just stay tuned over the next few weeks.

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The Pressure is On
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

After another ill-timed loss, the Creighton Bluejays need to figure out how to win a basketball game.

CU Loses to Illinois State… Losing Out on NCAA Bid?

Creighton could not be picking a worse time to start tanking. After Tuesday night’s 65-55 loss to the Redbirds, which saw the Jays blow a ten-point halftime lead, CU is now officially up against the wall.

After the loss to Drexel, I said the Jays would have to go 2-1 in their final three games (including the first round of the MVC Tournament) to lock up an NCAA Tournament bid. Given that theory, the Jays must beat Wichita State on Saturday. If not, they’ll need to win a couple of games in St. Louis.

The point is, the Jays are creating more than a shadow of doubt in the eyes of the selection committee, having lost three of their last four games. The committee puts a big emphasis on teams playing well down the stretch.

This is eerily similar to last year, when the Jays lost three of their final five regular season games to finish the regular season 19-8 (12-6 MVC). Right now, the Jays are (18-10, 12-5). Creighton finished in a three-way tie for second-place last season. The advantage this year is that they will be all alone in second place at season’s end. But if the Jays beat Wichita State, yet lose in the first round of the Valley Tournament, the Jays will have a hard time getting into the Big Dance. Especially if Missouri State continues to win — they may be third in the Valley, but they’ve got a 20-9 record and could have a higher RPI when all is said and done.

Make it easy on yourself, Creighton. Beat Wichita State, then win the following Friday in St. Louis. If not, you’d better hope the Valley gets three teams into the Tournament.

What a Day!
Sunday, February 18, 2007

The state’s two men’s Division I basketball teams taste disappointment, while UNO gets a much-needed win. Oh yeah, and 56 state champs are crowned at Qwest.

Creighton — This One Hurts

If the season ended today, the Jays would be in the NCAA Tournament. But Creighton did nothing to help itself with Saturday night’s 64-58 BracketBuster loss to Drexel at Qwest Center.

Creighton held a 41-31 lead with about eleven minutes to go Saturday. The Dragons (how do you lose to a team called the Dragons?) put together a 14-0 run on the ensuing five possessions to grab the lead, never looking back.

The moral of the story: Don’t let Anthony Tolliver get in foul trouble.
He played with one foul in the first half, tallying ten points. He played much of the second half with four fouls, finishing with 15. Drexel took advantage down low with easy buckets down the stretch.

Nate Funk struggled on the nationally televised broadcast, missing on 8 of his 11 shots, including 0-for-4 from three-point range. When you’re go-to-guy is struggling, the team will, too.

Creighton is in an interesting spot now. They’re at Illinois State on Tuesday, then host Wichita State next weekend. They need to win these final two Valley games, if for no other reason but for momentum heading into the conference tournament. The Jays have locked up no worse than a number-two seed in Arch Madness… but they may have to win a game in St. Louis to ensure an NCAA Tournament bid. If they go 2-1 in their next three games (including the Valley Tournament) they’re in without question.

Your thoughts?

Repeat Offender

So what was worse — seeing Nebraska trail 43-8 to Kansas at home, or watching them get annihilated in Lawrence by 53?

The Huskers were in the game until about five minutes remained before halftime, when Kansas pulled away. It was a 14-point halftime deficit, and it grew exponentially after intermission.

Final score:
Nebraska 39
Kansas 92

I frantically flipped through this year’s Nebrasketball media guide searching for a more embarrassing loss. Points-wise, it happened back in February of 1958… a 56-point loss.

Also to Kansas.

The 53-point margin matched the second-largest margin of victory in Big 12 conference history. It’s the first time in 23 years Nebraska was held under 40 points.

We knew this team wasn’t going to be an NCAA Tournament team. We knew they would go through some growing pains. Heck, I said before the season began that this season would be a wash, just as Bill Callahan’s first season was.

But 53?

Still Thinking NCAAs?

“I’ve said this all along, guys. We’re not out of this deal,” Sadler told the Lincoln Journal Star following the 53-point loss. “We’re playing for the NCAA Tournament.”

Said Aleks Maric, “If we win our next five somehow, that puts us in good position for the postseason… We can be in good shape for an NCAA bubble bid, or even the NIT.”

Give Sadler credit — he’s not shying away from talk of post-season goals… even after the second-worst loss in school history.

From Bad to Worse

The 19th-ranked Nebraska women lost at home to Missouri, the second-worst team in the Big 12. Your final: 65-to-53. The Huskers held a seven-point second-half lead, but could not hold onto it.

You Know it’s a Bad Day for the University When…

… on the front page of Huskers.com, the three main headlines are as follows:

1) “Huskers Hold Off Mavericks, 5-4”
(Nebraska Baseball team beating UT-Arlington)

2) “Parsons Notches First 10 in Husker Win”
(Gymnastics team winning at NC State)

3) “Bailey Wins Back-to-Back Big 12 Titles”
(Swimming and Diving Championships)


UN-O My Gosh Did We Need That

The Maverick hockey team got a much-needed win over Ohio State Saturday night. You couldn’t write a better script:

-Senior night
-At the Civic Auditorium
-Packed House
-Mavs Beat Ohio State in overtime
-Seniors play a big role.

It was an amazing scene at the old Bullpen, as Bryan Marshall scored on a rebound chance just 29 seconds into the extra session, getting a split with the Buckeyes and more importantly, clinching a first-round home game in the CCHA playoffs.

Alex Nikiforuk scored the team’s first goal, a mere 22 seconds into the first period on a great feed from fellow senior Scott Parse.

Why don’t the Mavs just move back to the Civic?

That’s the best hockey environment around… when it’s packed.

Congrats to the State Champs

Fifty-six of the best high school wrestlers in the state were crowned as such on Saturday in the finals of the State Wrestling Tournament.

Some good stories:

DaVaughn Perkins had a bittersweet day. The Omaha North senior captured his third-straight title, while his freshman brother lost in his state final match. If it makes you feel any better RaVaughn, your brother wasn’t able to win as a freshman either (for health problems). The future gets better.

Esai Dominguez joined his brothers Zac and Eli with his second state title. He’ll now follow in their footsteps to UNO.

Andy Pokorny finished his senior season unbeaten with another pin. The Bennington boy led the team to the Class C championship… and his father, Alan, will enjoy his first title as head coach.

Omaha Skutt Catholic captured its 10th consecutive state title. They just need one more to tie the Kearney High boys track team for the longest championship streak in Nebraska high school sports history. I worked in Kearney during three of those championships — pretty impressive. Skutt’s though, is more unthinkable when you consider how demanding wrestling is. (Not to take anything away from track athletes).

So many great stories from the weekend — congrats to all the area wrestlers who competed.

NBA All-Star Weekend a Slam Dunk in Las Vegas

There’s nothing better than watching Charles Barkley race a 67-year-old referee for charity at All-Star Weekend. Barkley beat Dick Bavetta in a fundraising race, after Barkley had said earlier in the season that Bavetta would stand no chance. He was right. Although it wasn’t a runaway… Barkley could stand to lose a few.

Michael Jordan was on-hand as one of the slam dunk competition’s judges. It was cool to see him there, but it wasn’t that surprising. He only had to be pried away from the Blackjack table for an hour.

Thursday Thoughts
Thursday, February 15, 2007


A lot on the sports docket, with a big weekend coming up. State wrestling, Jays’ BracketBuster, Huskers visiting Kansas… it’s a big one.

Creighton In a Great Spot

The Bluejays got a great defensive effort from Josh Dotzler, and a stellar second-half offensive performance from Nick Porter in a key conference home win over Northern Iowa Tuesday night, 66-55.

UNI head coach Ben Jacobsen put it perfectly after the game, “Josh Dotzler has a calming effect on that Creighton offense.” He always seems in control as the floor leader, and has a great feel for the game. He had three key steals down the stretch. He may have some work to do on the offensive end, but he’s getting close to the old Josh.

If Nick Porter could treat the pre-game like halftime, he’d be an all-MVC player. He scored 17 of his career-high 21 points in the second half. He does the most damage after intermission. Coach Altman continues to stress to his players about playing to their strengths. Porter’s strength is taking guys one-on-one, driving to the hoop. He broke at least two opponents’ ankles against UNI.

Sitting Pretty

Creighton is guaranteed to finish no worse than second in the Valley. To me, that’s a lock to the NCAA Tournament. Of course, they can’t lose-out down the stretch, but I’m sure Altman is feeling secure in his team’s chances, especially considering they’ve got two more home games left.

Kids Still Ticked

The BracketBuster vs Drexel this Saturday night is scheduled to tip-off shortly after 9pm. Last year we talked to kids who were none too pleased about the late tip-time. This year, they’re still miffed. Check out the story on the KETV sports page.

Nebraska — Feed the Big Man

Big men need to be fed more often than average joes. Aleks Maric is a big man — and the Huskers fed him consistently against Kansas State Tuesday night, in a 74-63 win.

Maric put up a career-high 41 points, becoming just the fourth Husker in school history to score 40 or more in a game. It was, in fact, the most-ever points scored by a Husker at home. The scary part: He missed 10 free throws and a couple of bunnies. He could’ve easily had 50.

On Monday I actually ran into Maric while chasing the Marlon Lucky story (they live in the same apartment complex). We talked basketball for about 15 minutes. I asked Maric if his back was hurting from trying to carry the team. He said it’s tough when everyone knows he’s going to get the ball, saying that everyone collapses on him.

Apparently, Kansas State isn’t “everyone”.

Nebraska NCAA-Bound?

At 15-9 (4-6 Big 12) the Huskers are a long-shot to make the NCAA Tournament. It might require beating a team that crushed them earlier this season. They visit Kansas this Saturday.

Let’s just assume they lose to Kansas. Following that, they visit Baylor, host Missouri, host Iowa State, visit Colorado, host Oklahoma State. I could see this team going 4-1 down the stretch. That would give them a 19-10 (9-7 Big 12) record. They would have to win at least two games in the Big 12 Tournament, which, considering how well this team can play at times, could happen. The NCAA selection committee values teams that are playing hot down the stretch.

It’s a long shot.

But it could be interesting.

Tim Hardaway Won’t Be Running for Public Office Anytime Soon

From ESPN.com on a Miami radio show Wednesday:

“You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known,” Hardaway said. “I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.”

Hardaway was a guest of Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Betard on the Miami radio show Sports Talk 790 and was asked how he would deal with a gay teammate. When asked if he would accept an active player’s coming out, such as that of retired NBA center John Amaechi, Hardaway replied: “First of all, I wouldn’t want him on my team.

“And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don’t think that’s right. And you know I don’t think he should be in the locker room while we’re in the locker room. I wouldn’t even be a part of that,” he said.

Hardaway later apologized for the remarks during a telephone interview with Fox affiliate WSVN in Miami.

“Yes, I regret it. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said I hate gay people or anything like that,” he said. “That was my mistake.”

—————————————————————–

Yes, Tim, it was.

Wow.

Lucky to Be Alive
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

From the Nebraska Sports Information Department:

Statement from the family of Marlon Lucky
“Marlon’s condition continues to improve. He has been removed from the intensive care unit and his condition has been upgraded to fair. We would like to make it clear that Marlon’s medical emergency did not come about as a result of the use of alcohol or any illicit drugs. We are very appreciative of the thoughts and prayers for Marlon during this time.”

Statement from Head Coach Bill Callahan
“I have spent time with both Marlon and his family at the hospital over the past couple days. Marlon knows that he has the full support of our football team, coaches and entire athletic department. We want to thank everyone for respecting the privacy of Marlon and his family.”

——————————————–
Obviously, the key word in the family’s statement is “illicit”, which may give some traction to the “overdose on pain medication” theory. At this point, we don’t know a whole lot more than we yesterday, except for the fact that Marlon Lucky is now in fair condition.

Marlon Lucky
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It’s always a sensitive, touchy and delicate issue when a player is admitted to the hospital for a “medical emergency”. That’s what happened with Husker runningback Marlon Lucky on Sunday night. Once the news hit on Monday, the media was sent into a tizzy.

A Manic Monday
What began as a normal Monday quickly turned bizarre.
Marlon Lucky is in the hospitalrumors are swirling.
Monday afternoon, I drove to Lincoln to meet up with our bureau chief, Andy, who had obtained the Lincoln Police Incident Report. It stated that emergency personnel had been dispatched to Lucky’s west Lincoln apartment at around 8PM Sunday night for what was termed a “medical emergency.”
We drove over to Lucky’s apartment and spoke with a neighbor, who told us that she observed someone on a stretcher being put into an ambulance Sunday night.

We spoke with Lincoln fire chief Pat Borer, who said units were dispatched at 8PM Sunday night. He said the medical personnel were on the scene for about 20 minutes before taking the victim to the hospital.
The Internet rumors had been flying all afternoon. Everyone seemed to have an answer… someone told someone about a friend who said they knew what had happened. Other television stations were reporting that Lucky overdosed and was found on the bathroom floor of his apartment by his roommate, Jordan Picou. We tried to contact Jordan at the apartment — it looked like someone was home, but nobody answered our knock on the door. Without a source or official confirmation from somebody involved, we couldn’t go with it on the air. Some of it may be true, none of it may be true — and in a matter such as this, we’re not going to throw it out there on the air, nor can we simply put out the term “overdose” just because somebody else is reporting it. While some signs may point to an overdose, we can only go with what we know — even if someone else seems to know more. There’s always someone who knows more.

If we can’t confirm a specific fact, we will not report it. You will never hear us say “It is being reported that _______, but we can’t confirm it.”

We do know that Marlon has experienced some back problems, and could be on some medication for it. Who knows what could’ve happened.

Also, let’s be clear: In any situation such as this, an “overdose” does not necessarily mean it was intentional. To question anyone’s intentions at this point is premature, considering we haven’t heard word one from Marlon Lucky.

Terrell Owens was thought to have attempted suicide this past football season, only to publicly state that it was an accident.
The public relations personnel at BryanLGH have stated that the Nebraska Sports Information department will now handle questions about Lucky’s condition. However, as usual, the University is keeping mum, not releasing any more information at this time. And when there’s an information void, others will speak into it.
With such a sensitive issue, we need to be careful. This is not just a football player — it’s a human being. We hope and pray that Marlon is doing okay — and that we’ll see him back on the field soon.
Blake Returns

While we were at Bryan LGH, former defensive line coach John Blake arrived. Blake recruited Lucky out of North Hollywood High School… he was dressed in his new North Carolina windbreaker.

I spoke with him for a couple of minutes… he said he was in town visiting family and went to the hospital once he heard the news about Marlon. He told me he didn’t know much of anything about the situation. Which puts him in the same boat as most of us.

Basketball Bonanza
Sunday, February 11, 2007

From Creighton to Nebraska to the Omaha Shootout… if you’re a basketball fan then Saturday was for you.

If you’re not, then it was a major letdown.

Southern has Creighton’s Number… and it Must be Unlisted…


… because nobody has beaten the Bluejays like the Salukis have. After Saturday’s win, SIU has now defeated CU eight straight times.

It looked like Creighton was going to get over the hump this time. They held a four point lead late in the game, with 17 point efforts from Dane Watts and Nate Funk. Creighton played as well offensively as you can hope against a defensive-minded Salukis squad, shooting 54 percent and putting up 68 points. It wasn’t enough. Matt Shaw’s game-high 25 points paced Southern, as it went on a 13-2 run late, and got a big bucket from Tony Young with 50 seconds left to break a 67-all tie.

Final Score:
Creighton 68
Southern Illinois 72

Key Stat:
Free Throws
Creighton 22/32 (69%)

When you lose by four, look at the free throws.

That is One Solid Team

Southern Illinois is now 52-1 at home in conference play in the past six seasons. Is there a bigger home court advantage in college basketball? Duke Shmook.

Southern shot an MVC-record 85.7% in the second half — eclipsing Creighton’s old mark of 84.2%. That’s a little deceiving, though: Creighton held SIU to only 14 second-half attempts. The Salukis hit 8-of-11 from three-point range for the game.

It appeared, though, that Creighton had solved the Saluki curse. You just had that feeling that the Jays were pulling away in the second half, especially when Josh Dotzler blocked a shot which led to a nice transition bucket by Pierce Hibma. Anytime Josh Dotzler blocks a shot, it’s gotta be a special night, right? Not this time.

You still have to feel very good about this Creighton team.

But What About the NCAA Chances?

A win over SIU would’ve virtually stamped Creighton’s tournament ticket. Instead, there’s still plenty of work left. And it begins Wednesday against Northern Iowa.

Remaining Schedule:
2/13 vs Northern Iowa
2/17 vs Drexel
2/20 at Illinois State
2/24 vs Wichita State

Now at 17-8 (11-4 in MVC) the Jays need to get to 20 wins before the Valley Tournament to lock up an NCAA appearance. Last year, Creighton finished the regular season 19-9 (12-6 in MVC) and missed the NCAA Tournament. The Valley won’t get as many teams into the Big Dance this year… I don’t envision anymore than three teams getting in, unless someone out of nowhere wins the conference tournament. Right now, Southern, Creighton and Missouri State should be in.

Ideally, the Jays go three and one down the stretch and win a game in the Valley Tournament. Then they’re in without a moment of anxiety on “Selection Sunday”. Remember, Creighton won 20 games back in 2003-04 and were NIT-bound. I think even if the Jays go 2-2 down the stretch and win only one game in the Valley Tournament, they’re still in at 20-11 and in decent shape given the team/conference RPI.

Their RPI is still high enough to provide some margin for error (25 at last check). The Jays would have to absolutely fall apart to miss out on the Dance. Unfortunately, they won’t have a regular season MVC title to ensure that it happens.

Nebrasketball Comes up Short

The last time the Huskers took the home court against a top-10 team, they were embarrassed on national television by Kansas. Saturday, Nebraska redeemed itself (somewhat) by hanging in there against 6th-ranked A&M, losing 66-55. That may sound harsh to say, but let’s face it: this Husker team isn’t great. And in the first year under a new head coach, you just want to see this team compete in every game. They did that against the Aggies.

Josh Carter hit eight three-pointers against Nebraska on Saturday. Eight. You’d think after, I dunno, five or six threes that the Huskers would start guarding him. Carter was running free and catching fire.

The bottom line: Texas A&M is an Elite-8 caliber team. Nebraska held its own as long as it could, and competed hard. That, in year one under the Doc, is a good thing.

This Time, Two Late Goals Were a Good Thing

One night after allowing two goals in the final 10 seconds against Notre Dame, the Mavericks pulled out some late magic of their own, scoring two goals in the final 4+ minutes of regulation to salvage a tie in the season series finale with the Irish.

The top-ranked Golden-Domers carried a 2-0 lead until 4:12 remained. That’s when Dan Charleston tipped in a Phil Angell shot to make it 2-1. A little more than two minutes later, Bryan Marshall received a sweet centering feed from Mick Lawrence and beat goalie David Brown for the equalizer.

I hope you got to see the highlights on KETV… the only station to air them during the 10pm newscast.

UNO was 1-2-1 against Notre Dame this season. Unfortunately, a shot at a top-4 seed in the CCHA playoffs is all but gone, as the Mavs sit seven points out of fourth place behind Michigan State, with onyl four regular season game remaining.

Signing Day
Friday, February 9, 2007


It’s always a weird day, as Husker fans wait with baited breath for 17 and 18-year-old kids to sign on the dotted line, while coaches’ paranoia sets in as they stare at the fax machine, waiting for those final letters of intent.

The Ones That Got Away

It’s like any big test you took in high school or college — you remember the answers to the questions you got wrong, but can’t recall the ones you got right. Same with recruiting. You can think of a few commits your team got, but you can immediately name the fishies that jumped off the hook before they were safely in the boat.

Cornerback David Ross and RB/LB Travis Lewis decided to back out of their verbal commitments to Nebraska, with Ross choosing Oregon State and Lewis picking OU. Oh well.

Who knows what these guys would’ve done for the program? Since you don’t know, you can’t care. At least not until they blow up on the college level (i.e. Reggie Smith at Oklahoma).

Making Mom Proud

The best part about signing day is watching the athletes who you’ve followed throughout their high school careers see their college dreams realized. I was at the Niles Paul signing at Omaha North — what a special day for him. Long before he made a verbal commitment to Nebraska, he made one to his mother. At a young age, while watching his uncle, Ahman Green, play for the Huskers, he told his Mom he wanted to play for NU. She gave him a big vote of confidence. Years later she died of hepatitis. On Wednesday, Niles’ mother would’ve been proud.

Niles’ case is the same as almost anybody else’s — you just don’t know how good he will be at the college level. When I’ve watched him on film and in person, I have a hard time getting a gauge on his football speed. I know he has the track speed, but does he have the separation/breakaway speed? Then again, he goes off at the US Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio, leading the North team in receptions. I won’t pretend to be a recruiting guru. Thousands of experts who get paid to know this stuff can’t be wrong. And his dedication alone should be enough to put himself in position to become a special football player… that plus the fact that these Husker coaches will mold him into a fine talent.

A Decent Class — But in Reality, Who Knows?

I’m not a fan of recruiting rankings, I can’t stand the stars beside the players’ names, and I get sick and tired of experts predicting the future based on who has committed. David Horne was supposed to be a poor man’s Ahman Green, wasn’t he? He turned out to be a poor man’s Marques Simmons. You just never know about these guys.

Nebraska’s recruitment class lists 28 guys, many of whom will not graduate, some of whom may never set foot on campus.

Look at some of the guys from that star-studded 2005 class:

Harrison Beck – Gone
Jordan Congdon – Gone
Wallace Franklin – Never made it to Nebraska
Brodrick Hunter – ” ” “.
Leon Jackson – Gone
Dontrell Moore – Gone
Brock Pasteur – Gone
Rodney Picou – Gone
Robert Rands – Gone
Jeff Souder – UNO
Tyrell Spain – Gone
Justin Tomerlin – Gone

You just never know. And to gauge the future of Nebraska football on any Husker class is fruitless at this point. Anything can happen. Guys can leave. Players transfer. Defensive linemen fumble game-winning interceptions, and receivers fumble game-clinching receptions. You just never know.

A Weis Man Once Said

Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis got some bad news on signing day, when receiver Greg Little left the Irish at the altar, picking North Carolina instead. Weis saw more than a few would-be golden-domers spurn the Irish in the month of January.

Following that, Weis unveiled a new recruiting philosophy. “What we’re going to do is we’re going to spend a lot more time making sure that if a guy wants to commit to us that he has a clear understanding of what that means.”

If Weis wants to make sure a guy understands what a “commitment” means, then coaches should think about what the word “contract” means.

Coaches break contracts all the time. I have no problem with a 17 or 18-year-old changing his mind at the last minute. Does it sting? Yes. But if his heart is not 100% in it, he should re-think his decision. When coaches leave in the middle of their contracts, it’s analogous to an athlete transferring before his eligibility is up. Except that the coach doesn’t have to sit out a year before he begins his new job.

Memo to coaches: These high school athletes are still kids. Since most of you have kids, you should know how tough it is to know what they’re thinking all the time, and you shouldn’t be surprised when they change their minds.

Weis continued, “Either you’re committed or you’re not. I’ll use an analogy. It’s like you’re married to someone but you’re looking at other women. Either you are or you aren’t.”

Which, unfortunately, also happens all the time.

Actually, Charlie, verbal commitments are like engagements. Letters of intent are acts of marriage.

Super Bowl Wrap-up
Monday, February 5, 2007


The Super Bowl is in the books, with the Colts defeating the Bears 29-17… which means football withdrawal is officially underway.
We hardly knew ye.


Peyton Gets Monkey off his Back… PETA to file a lawsuit.

You knew it was only a matter of time before Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl, let alone an MVP. This should be the first of a few, for the guy who may be regarded (in my opinion) as the greatest quarterback of all time when all is said and done. If he keeps this up, the stats will continue to pile up, and the Super Bowl rings on his fingers should leave no room for black olives.

(Quick random thought: Do you think Disneyworld officials tried to convince Peyton to put on the fake mustache?)

You heard a bunch of those skeptics (some myopic, others somewhat reasonable) saying that Peyton Manning couldn’t win the big one. The sound argument came in the form of, “He had a great team last season, and couldn’t beat a wildcard team at home when it counted most.” The idiotic reasoning came in the form of, “He could never do it at Tennessee, so he won’t do it in the NFL.”

Those arguments are now out the window… and sports-talk radio airwaves nationwide will be filled with regret and remorse on Monday.

Remind you of Something?

Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, putting Chicago up 7-0. The Bears scored 10 points the rest of the way and lost the game.

Last month, Ted Ginn, Jr. returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, putting Ohio State up 7-0. The Buckeyes scored 7 points the rest of the way and lost the game.

Note to teams hoping for a championship: Don’t return the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

Which was Better, the Game or the Commercials?

It’s an annual argument: Was the game interrupted by commercials, or the other way around? I wasn’t impressed with this year’s ad campaigns. I think we expect a little too much from these commercials… ever since the Budweiser frogs stole our hearts.

I’ll take the game over the commercials this year, although I did enjoy the Coke “Grand Theft Auto” take-off.

Your favorite commercial?

Tony Dungy: A Class-Act

He wears his faith on his heart, and his heart of his sleeve. The Indianapolis head coach’s remarks on the podium following the game were as honest as they were refreshing.

“I’m proud to be the first African-American coach to win this,” Dungy said during the trophy ceremony. “But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord’s way. We’re more proud of that.”

He is a Christian who just happens to be a head coach… not the other way around.

You either stand for something, or fall for everything. When you are in the spotlight and you profess your faith publically, the pressure is on to be consistent in your character. Dungy has done that — and it’s something that I, for one, truly admire.

Quick Super Bowl Pick
Monday, February 5, 2007

Indianapolis 23
Chicago 13

Could be a shoot-out if Rex plays non-Rex-like. I like Indy to cover the 7 points.