The mind-numbing tedium; the absurd repetition; the hatred; the anger; the ugliness; the jealously; the bitterness; the line dancing. Of course I’m talking about Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Below is my only slightly exaggerated running diary of the 2019 meetings.
My father died a decade ago of congestive heart failure. It wasn’t a shock since he’d suffered a heart attack a few weeks prior (his second) and doctors sent him home after a month in cardiac rehab with a dire diagnosis, an oxygen tank and a whistle to blow if he woke up in distress.
An hour after arriving home from rehab Dad went to take a nap. A few minutes later the whistle loudly chirped. My mother and brother frantically rushed into the room to see Dad lying in bed with a broad smile on his face. He said, “Just testing.” That tells you most of what you need to know about the man.
Dear Fred Hoiberg:
First of all welcome to the University of Nebraska men’s basketball program! The people of this proud state are prepared to embrace you with open arms. I think you’ll find that Nebraskans are some of the nicest, most decent people on the planet. Just make sure that you are always honest and straight forward with them or they’ll rip your head off, chew it into little pieces and spit it into the Platte River. But if you try hard and you’re aboveboard with folks around here, they will treat you like a king.
Bill Moos faces the most difficult decision of his life, with the possible exception of having to decide to leave the relatively temperate climate of Washington state for a place where winters tend to be harsher than on the South Pole outback. I figured I’d lend a hand to Moos and offer up these suggestions for a new head Nebraska basketball coach.
There have been a plethora of movies about sports. Some were excellent, others fairly good and quite a few were dismal. The same goes for the performances. Say what you will, it takes guts for an actor or actress to attempt to portray an athlete especially when they do their own difficult stunts like bending over to field a ground ball. Below is my completely subjective ranking of some of those who have tried, ranked from worst to best.
Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around my extended family traveling to Husker football away games inside a Buick that was pulling a camper.
This was back in the halcyon 1970s a few years after the Huskers had won back-to-back national championships and it was all but impossible to score tickets to home games without paying a guy on the street named Guido $400 for a pair of seats that may turn out to be fake. One sign you’d just purchased fake tickets from a scalper: there was a photo of Guido on the ticket. Another sign your tickets were fake: you’d buy nine and all nine would read “Row 22, seat 7.”
During the thirteen years that I was a staff writer for “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” NBC featured a tremendous number of athletes on the program, even though Jay possibly knew less about sports than almost any human on the planet.
You name the sport and we had athletes and/or coaches on the show. From the NFL, to the XFL, to college football, to the NBA, to the World Series MVP, to gold medal-winning Olympic athletes.
Although he’s only a true freshman it’s crystal clear that Husker quarterback Adrian Martinez is a very special player. How special? I don’t think it’s too early to begin working on his future Heisman Trophy acceptance speech. I’ve taken the liberty of putting together a draft of a suitable speech for Adrian.
University of Nebraska Cornhusker football fans have gone through a miserable stretch for most of the past several years. It’s been difficult because these are proud folks who expect excellence in the program. Still, I think Thanksgiving would be a good time for Husker fans to stop and count their many blessings.
Below is a partial list.
I sort of hate it when the University of Nebraska football team scores its first touchdown in a game because it means that thousands of red balloons will be released into the atmosphere and eventually land where the balloons may be encountered by hungry wildlife. Some of that wildlife will be strangled to death; entangled in the balloons and not be able to get to real food sources; or possibly have the balloon just eaten block their intestines or bind to their beaks leading to a slow, tortuous death. None of those sound like a good way to go.
Imagine you’re a beaver or a sea turtle or even a skunk. (C’mon, skunks have feelings too!) You’re hungry and haven’t eaten in days when along comes this bright, floating object and it plops down right in front of you. It’s basically the animal version of Jimmy John’s. It landed beside you so of course you’re going to eat it, right?
It’s back. I’m referencing a recent list of “Most Popular Toys” which to my surprise and delight included electric football, perhaps the greatest game ever even though it has, let me double-check - yep, it has almost zero in common with actual football.
For the uninitiated - and never having played electric football is sort of like never having watched a sunrise - electric football is contested on a tiny, tinny board made to look like a football field. Electrical vibrations cause the ball carriers and defenders to move up and down the field. It’s somewhat less realistic than a 1950s Japanese-made “King Kong” movie.
USA Today just featured an article speculating that the University of Nebraska could possibly fire Scott Frost and pay off his hefty salary to the tune of $26 million. Which got me to thinking about the plausibility of this happening. I decided that the following are more likely to occur:
* Jason Peter is named spokesperson for the Nebraska Nice campaign.
I’d like to issue a plea to TV football play-by-play personnel and analysts to work on their grammar game. Or, to put it into football commentator vernacular, please talk good.
I’ve been on a crusade for several years now - mostly conducted on Twitter which is to proper grammar what the Taco Bell jingle is to Pulitzer Prize-winning non-fiction - to get football commentators to stop saying “Michigan is on their own thirty" and “Look at Notre Dame - they’re ready to make their move.” This is fifth grade English, guys. Michigan, Notre Dame, USC and even Florida State are “its” not “theys.” “Michigan is on its own thirty" is correct. Or, “The Wolverines are on their own thirty" is correct.
Scott Frost said something very significant at his post-game press conference last Saturday after the humiliating loss to Purdue. It didn’t resonate with many. The vast majority of fans and media chose to focus on his remarks about shaking up the depth chart.
It occurred about five minutes in when a visibly upset Frost was discussing the Huskers’ mistakes and his face turned sort of a purplish-green-mauve-chartreuse color and he kind of resembled the Incredible Hulk with veins popping and he was shaking while cutting up a Blackshirt with a scissors and there was steam coming out of his nostrils and small pieces of fire and smoldering ash from his ears and he looked like he was about to ram a huge hole into the wall with his head. Which would’ve been awful since they just finished patching all 73 holes in the athletic dept. walls put there during the Pelini era.
I need to clear something up. There seems to be some confusion over whether it’s all right to criticize the University of Nebraska football coaching staff now that the team is off to its worst start since 1945. While Scott Frost and company are probably doing some good things to lay a foundation for the future anytime a team begins a season 0-3 and plays beneath its potential, criticism is warranted.
I’ve never played fantasy football. But I’m thinking of joining a league next year because I’ve always wanted my life to revolve around something silly. Since I don’t play cornhole, I don’t plank or own a selfie stick, that leaves FF.
Don’t get me wrong. I envy the escapism of fantasy football. I’m using “silly” in a complimentary sense.
In the early 1970s my big cousin Denny wrote letters to numerous Husker football players. Denny wrote to star players, scrubs and incoming freshmen. He wrote to coaches. I’m pretty sure he wrote to equipment managers and trainers and even to the mascot, a surly type who was too busy to respond. In fact roughly half the players replied with an autographed photo. The signatures on several looked eerily similar.