Texas-Nebraska next October on ESPN Thursday, live from Memorial Stadium?
Almost. Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said on Monday that ESPN wanted to move the Oct. 16 game to Thursday night, Oct. 14. NU had agreed. But Osborne said it didn't come together because Texas refused, because of what Osborne said were concerns about “missing class time."
Oh, that Mack Brown, always looking out for the best interests of his students; I'm sure they would rather be in study hall than having to deal with 85,000 Husker fans under the lights.
NU still might get a Thursday night appearance. Osborne said ESPN might try to move NU's Oct. 2 Big 12 opener at Kansas State to Thursday.
• Bronson Marsh has a very interesting decision to make and it may not be as easy as you think: Accept a gray shirt to play safety at NU (and get a scholarship in a year) or play quarterback at UNO.
This is a classic fork in a young man's career: Go where you dreamed of playing or go where you can play your dream position.
I don't think Marsh can lose. UNO officials think he'll be a star for them. On the other hand, if you're going to learn to play safety, there can't be a better tutor in college football than Bo Pelini. And if Marsh has NFL designs, safety will likely be the ticket.
Good luck and sweet dreams, Bronson. Either one.
• So now a lot of folks are saying Creighton will be better off without P'Allen Stinnett. We'll see.
I've always thought Stinnett made himself an easy scapegoat for a lot of things that have gone wrong at CU the last few years.
There's a sort of myth about Stinnett that we the media helped create and nobody at CU ever argued — that he's this all-world player who is high maintenance. I don't think Stinnett is as good a player as his image suggests, nor is he as bad a guy.
Now, P'Allen has had his moments, most notably last March in St. Louis. He's a guy with some big-time skills who is immature. But is he really the distraction holding back the Jays? Does his being out solve the deficiency at point guard? Or the shooting or defensive woes? We'll see.
Sometimes team chemistry can make up for deficiencies. It will be interesting to see how the Jays play now. It will be even more interesting to see if Dana Altman has reached the end of his rope with Stinnett or if he's going to bring him back. The coach is a teacher and teachers like to think they can reach any student. But all teachers have their limit, too.
• I've never really given the NFL overtime rule much thought, but after Sunday night, it seemed to make sense to give the Vikings a shot. Baseball, basketball, hockey (shootout) and even golf give both sides a possession in extra play. Why not the NFL? I'm not suggesting college football's 25-yard format. Just give each team at least one possession, then go into sudden death if nobody's scored. Maybe I just wanted to see Brett Favre throw one more interception, er, get one more shot.
• My daughter Sarah and I got to the 10th Street turnoff for the Devaney Center on Saturday 20 minutes before the Nebraska-Kansas State tipoff. It took us 30 minutes to park and get to our seats.
The first thing I hear when I walk in the building is a woman yelling “These girls are athletes, too!'' in my face. Absolutely. No question. And I think 13,000 — and it was a legitimate 13,000 — saw that as well.
Here's the thing: I hope the NU women's hoops diehards don't get caught up in answering their critics this season and just enjoy the ride. This is a big year for Connie Yori's program, in more ways than one. This season is a lot about educating the public about their sport. There were a lot of fans there Saturday — male and female — who had never seen a game before. They'll be back. Yori's bunch plays hard and, yes, they're very athletic, not to mention charismatic.
One of the mistakes we make in the media is comparing other women's sports to volleyball. NU volleyball is an elite level; other volleyball teams aren't as athletic or fun to watch. Top-level teams — like NU women's hoops — are appealing. That's part of the message for this season.
• Former Iowa State basketball player Lucca Staiger is getting blasted for walking out on the Cyclones in midseason to return to Germany and turn pro. It wasn't good. But that's part of the deal you make with foreign players. Many of them just look at the U.S. colleges as a place to play; there's no loyalty there. The coaches like Greg McDermott and Doc Sadler understand the risk. If the kids work out, they've got a quality basketball player they would not have otherwise been able to get.
• Doc's Huskers look closer to being a Big 12 contender than they have — and at the same time they look farther away than ever from that status. Such is the state of the Big, Bad 12 this year. And that's bad as in good. NU could be improved this year and likely won't have the record to show for it.
• Making the Super Bowl can't rebuild a city or even a house. But what the Saints are doing can take New Orleans residents' minds off of everything they've been through. It was an amazing image Sunday night, watching the party in the Superdome, where a few years earlier the homeless were taking refuge.
• Former Nebraska defensive tackle Steve Warren is starting his Warren Academy, a sports academy in Omaha that will provide educational support, life skills and athletic training for junior high, high school and college athletes. Some of Warren's instructors include Brandon Williams (Central High, Michigan and NFL), Mike Horaceck (Iowa State and NFL), Jerrel Pippens (NU, NFL), Tony Veland (NU, NFL) and former Huskers Jamel Williams and Jon Bowling. The sessions begin on Feb. 13. For information contact Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 402-206-4733.
• I hope Favre comes back. He's more brittle than ever, he'll still throw that crucial pick and he's better than 90 percent of the other quarterbacks in the league. Why wouldn't the Vikings want him back? By the way, whatever happened to Adrian Peterson?
• According to NCAA stats, Nebraska ranked 10th in college football attendance last season at 85,888. The top four — Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State and Texas — all averaged over 100,000. Even if NU would expand to get to 90,000 seats one day, it would still likely rank 10th or lower. It's not a reach to think that in the foreseeable future, the entire top 10 will be over 100,000 seats. But I don't ever see Nebraska hitting that century mark.
• If there's ever an “Up In the Air'' sequel, I have the perfect candidate for the movie: Omaha college hoops referee John Higgins. I must have seen Higgins three times on TV last week. Or was it four?
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