June 7, 2007

Three Months to Go

It's slowly coming.

I've purposely avoided counting down the days to the coming football season for several reasons. For one, this is the slowest time of year anyway. Baseball is still blah, the NBA is the most exciting thing on TV (which is saying something), and people are caught in an endless series of t-ball games, county fairs and reruns of Deal or no Deal. I get that and the lack of conversation reflects it. It's a crappy time of year, I'm not gonna lie to ya.

However, like the first weeds in your yard that sprout up in early April, the pre-season magazines signal the last phase before the start of the season. Now, I'm not about to breakdown pre-season magazines. They're great to check out on a long flight, or while sitting on the toilet an hour or so after a combo platter at Netties in South Omaha. But other than that, they're no better than the amateur guesswork that you or I could throw on a page. I will give Athlon, Phil Steele and others credit though: At least they're only guessing 6 months in advance on things, unlike the Rivals and Tom Lemmings of the world who try and predict stuff from ONE person 3-5 years down the road.

Anyhow, as the season ramps up, more topics are slowly making their way to the top of conversation. Below are just a few:

* My good friend Husker Mike has been talking about the Big 12 television contract for a while now. (I may have mentioned it a while ago as well..I can't remember.) Anyhow, I echo the sentiments about ESPN. I personally didn't mind the TBS coverage, and other than crappy camera resolutions, I don't have a problem with Fox Sports Net. Both are national broadcasts for the most part, and most are a part of nearly every cable and satellite package.

I do find it a bit funny though that Husker fans are starting to balk at the 8pm start times...as if they have something better to do on a Saturday night anyway. Like 1-2 hours difference is going to stop Elmer and Wilma from Lexington, NE from driving to memorial stadium every Husker gameday, just as they have for the past 73 years. The real reason I think however is not the home impacts...but the road impacts.

Texas Tech proved a few years ago against the Hicks, that nothing ramps up an opposing crowd like 2-7 extra hours of boozing and tailgating. I know personally that Missouri has been in talks with ESPN to move their game with Nebraska to 8pm. I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm guessing Elmer and Wilma may not like getting home from the game at 5am or the prospect of 65,000 drunken and evil Missouri fans (ie me) waiting for them with extra "fuel" for the fire. I'm sure most of you never touch the stuff...but do you know how many extra beers can be drank in 2 hours? That's quite a bit of time to get juiced up for an already big game.

I'm quite sure Husker fan doesn't fear Columbia, Lawrence or Austin for that matter...and really see the 8pm start time as a plus. (Gives moonshine more time to ferment perhaps?) However, at the ground level, it can't exactly be a good thing for a team that is being led by a proven cancer and a whole bunch of new D-linemen who may or may not be able to handle extra crowd noise. Again..it's only June..but we shall see.

Getting back to the TV deals themselves...if the Big 10 is moving to their own network...why not take the games they leave behind on ESPN and ESPN+? I'm pretty sure EVERY SINGLE Big 10 game is on TV (at least in my neighborhood)...so if that is the case..it will certainly open up some slots. Zero credit to Kevin Weiberg for having all the negotiation skills of an 88 year old grandma at a garage sale in Fremont. Now VERSUS is in the mix? Oh my.

* Speaking of the October 6th game in Columbia: I talked to a spokesman at our hotel in Columbia (manager), and he told me that volume for the NU game is WAY down from a few years ago. Could it be the start time? Or the fact that it's a sure win? Hmmmmmmmmmm. Perhaps we'll have the place to ourselves?

* The Transformers? Are you frickin serious?

* College Football news has Nebraska at 15!?!? I realize you people live in the land of theory..and in this land JC Keller isn't a cancer and Marlon Lucky has gone from injury-prone halfback to Marcus Allen...but 15?!? The problem with arguing with Husker fan about this is the fact that everybody "should" be awesome. JC is going to be awesome. Lucky is going to be 3x as good without BJax (lame nickname) ahead of him to take his yards. (huh?) My favorite though is the defense.

Nebraska finished 56th in the nation in total defense last year AND lost their entire front four. (Several NFL players). Hmmmmmmmmmm...and they're supposed to be "better"? They were 75th in the nation in passing defense and this is supposed to not be a problem?

Are you people drunk?

How can you lose that many players..that many KEY players, and be "better"? 75th in the nation against the pass is not going to cut it against Texas, USC, Missouri, Wake or even K-State. I would like one of you to explain how Major Culvers (whatever his name is), Ricky Thenarse or whoever is going to suddenly be Champ Bailey. I'd appreciate it if you could do that. Thanks.

* Stay tuned next week for my annual College World Series spectacular. Always a reader favorite.

Gone fishing. Back in a few days.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Elmer and Wilmer from Lexington." LOL. That was great.

I am a Nebraska fan, and I'll be the first to admit we are over-rated coming into this year. I think we have the potential to meet the hype, but based on what we lost and what we did last year, we shouldn't start any higher than the 23-25 range.

I think a lot of magazines keep placing us there because the North is down, and since Colorado and KSU have new coaches their writers are expecting us to step in and fill the void. Thus, they keep jacking up our pre-season rating so they can tell everyone "I told you so" when we finally arrive. They've been wrong a lot about us though since 2001.

The one point I do disagree on, however, is that you make it sound like we have no chance of being good this year. For all your hatred with Sam Keller, he is a pretty good qb, and if he gets the offense down we should be okay there. On our defensive line, I think Suh is going to be awesome for us, and we have other guys that can fill in. I really believe our secondary is going to be much better--we finally have quality depth there, inexperienced as it may be. Losing players is a part of college football, and the guys we have coming up might be really good, really bad, or somewhere in between. You're taking unknowns though and assuming they will be bad.

Anyway, Mizzou is looking good, and I can't wait for that game. I am going to it with a Mizzou friend from Kansas City.

Have a good day.


2:39 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

I didn't say you have no chance of being good. I said you won't be good. There is a difference.

Look, I've lived through years where NU went 60-3 over a 4 year span or something ridiculous. I'm perfectly aware of when NU is dominant and instills fear in other teams.

This is not one of those moments in time. Nobody fears Nebraska anymore. Nobody dreds that option game. Nobody gets muscled off the ball by a bunch of strong farm boys.

it's just not like that anymore. The problem is, most Husker fans mistake sucking less than the year before as "turning the corner." It's not turning a corner..it's mediocrity.

Oh well, you'll find out soon enough.

PS - Thanks for the nice comments. Appreciate you stopping by.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We agree more than you think. When I said "we have the potential to meet the hype" I just meant reaching the ranking around 15. That's the highest I see us possibly going this year. I know we aren't what we used to be. I have confidence, however, in this staff, and I think we could become a regular top ten team again with them.

I don't see any reason Mizzou couldn't jump in into the regular rankings either. Colorado and KSU are down, and Pinkel is gaining momentum after inheriting a tough situation.

I really don't care as much about this as being "elite" as you might think. I love the Huskers, but it's fun for me to watch them and cheer for them whether they are bad or good. I am actually enjoying this rebuilding process, and if we become really good again that will be fun too. I guess I just like college football, and it's interesting regardless.

So where do you fish around here? This side of the state sort of sucks for fishing. Too close to Omaha and Lincoln, so there are always too many people water skiing and stuff. Silts the water up.


5:05 PM  
Blogger TB said...

mmm, netties.

husker fans talking about their defense remind me of ku fans a couple years ago...they lost a ton of seniors off their best defense since 1903, and yet the backups were "better".


5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice picture of your grandpa.. That's exactly how I remember 'em down in hillbilly land (Missouri).

6:41 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Thanks Brian.

I usually go to either the River or a private lake near Sioux City. I also have several places in Missouri that I go back to with family.

I wrote an article last year on those idiots in Ashland who kept us from having a huge lake where the Platte runs now. Idiots. Cost the entire area an outstanding recreational opportunity.

That's OK. Miles of grass is just as nice. (pfffft)

7:53 PM  

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