Thursday, August 31, 2006

Best and Worst of ESPN Radio

Calling ESPN Radio a train wreck would only be giving them a compliment. It's beyond a joke, so naturally the other day, I had to ask myself why -- other than the fact that there's no other sports radio in the area -- I still tend to tune in daily if I hate the entire network so much. I could do a list of probably 300 things that make the radio network so God-awful, but comparing the Best and the Worst of the network might justify me tuning in OCCASIONALLY:

  1. Keith Olbermann guesting with Dan Patrick for one hour: Yes, it's enough to remind anyone of what once made Sportscenter such great television (and enough of a reminder of what a joke it currently is). What's amazing to me is the chemistry these two still have. Truth be told, Olbermann could just run his own show for three hours, and Patrick simply has no reason to be on the radio alone (see the Worst below). But if you just listen for the one hour where they're together (1pm CST daily), it's far and away the best thing on the network. Plus it's also fun to think that today could be Keith's last day on ESPN Radio because you're always wondering if he's going to say that one little thing that may make management make this whole thing go away. Oh, and eventually you'll find yourself watching "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC, which I suppose is the ultimate point here.
  2. Colin Cowherd with Beano Cook: Cowherd's a marginal talent, and the uproar over when he took over for the brilliant radio host Tony Kornheiser is now legendary. The fact is Cowherd's strength is that he knows College Football like few others. He actually knows quite a bit about nearly EVERY team. And for whatever reason, he and Beano Cook have a Tony Soprano/Junior Soprano chemistry on the radio. Beano at times sounds jealous that Cowherd has the job he does, and a la Junior, he'll wax nostalgically about the history of college football, like when the dotting of the "i" at Ohio State first happened. They just work so well together with their love of all things college football. I couldn't stand Beano when he used to be on TV. But for twenty minutes a week (usually around 11:40 CST, either Wednesday or Thursday depending on the week), this segment just works for radio. Frankly I'm stunned at how much I enjoy listening to these two.
  3. Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell doing Sunday Night Baseball: The problem is, not every ESPN Radio affiliate carries these games. But for a national baseball radio broadcast, these two have developed into a great listen. Like Beano, I didn't care at all for "Soup" Campbell when he was on TV. If you can find them in your market, give these guys a listen. Certainly much better than having to hear Joe Morgan talk about how Billy Beane wrote Moneyball during the television broadcast.
  4. Any segment with the Dali Lama: Peter Gammons on radio ANYTIME of the year is perfect radio. The fact that we've had to go so long without hearing his voice -- or having him away from ESPN altogether -- just reminds of how much he's missed. He'll come on any show, any time, and always has the most compelling information on all things baseball related. Get well soony Peter -- and not just because it means a LOT less of Steve Phillips, who seems to want to be on every show giving his horrible analysis.
  5. The TELEVISION version of Mike & Mike: Let's face it, if this were just a radio show, it would begin to knaw at you (which it most certainly did when it first started). But put on ESPN2 during the morning and have this show on in the background. In this format, with the ESPN News like scroll at the bottom and stats and info shown with highlights on the screen, it somehow works. Not that anyone should have to suffer through their sophomoric "Just Shut Up" award, but on television it almost works as the Today Show of sports. And God knows it sure beats the hell out of watching Sportscenter repeats.


  1. Dan Patrick Sans Keith Olbermann or anyone else: Let's face it, Patrick just isn't a solo artist. He can't dance around on the radio by himself. It's excruciatingly awful. Dan will beat the same question to death to anyone he has on as a guest. One week, he asked EVERYONE if Mark McGwire would get their Hall of Fame vote. The next week, he asked EVERYONE what they thought about Tony Kornheiser on MNF. Hell, this week, he had to get Reggie Miller's input on Terrell Owens. That entire show, he asked EVERYONE what they thought of TO. And Patrick was so lost for material, he wound up replaying an earlier interview he did with Michael Irvin where the playmaker defended TO's actions. All because he said it was "great radio". Patrick -- without Olbermann -- couldn't judge great radio the same way Johnny Carson said that the SNL cast couldn't judge a fart at a bean fair.
  2. Anytime any announcer tries comedy: Please, just stop. NONE of you are funny, NONE of you are writing for even the worst sitcom on NBC. This never turns out remotely funny, and Patrick is so proud of some of his staff's efforst, he'll repeat them over and over. Just stop this now.
  3. Doug Gottlieb, Guest Host: Certainly the "Douger" as Cowherd calls him knows his college hoops. But why is he the go to guest host when somebody goes on vacation? Do we really need Gottlieb's opinion on who the AL MVP is?
  4. ESPN Hosts as Movie Critics: The reason this worked with Kornheiser's radio show is because he had an ACTUAL movie critic (Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post) on with him every week. And when Tony would chime in, he actually knew what he was talking about. Now, really all Dan Patrick wants you to know about are the stupid Adam Sandler movies he appears in. And enough already with having actors who are in sports movies come on as guests. Did we really need to hear David Spade, Rob Schneider and Napoleon Dynamite at the Super Bowl?
  5. Mike & Mike's "Just Shut Up" Award: Can't we just take this thing out back and put it out of it's misery already. I'm still stunned that this radio show has lasted as long as it has (I had to commute for an hour when the show first came on and it made me want to drive right into the nearest ditch). Can't there be a better or more unique way of calling out all the buffoons in the world of sports?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stugots 2006 Fantasy Football Roster, or "Wasted Time"

Nobody should ever be in more than ONE Fantasy Football league. NOBODY. It's the only way. One team, that's it. Just as your heart can only have room for only one Major League Baseball team (although if the Royals keep up their losing ways, we could always ammend this rule), you can't put together more than one Fantasy team and expect to put together any semblance of a competitive team, let alone lead an enjoyable fall lifestyle. And yes, I know some can file this blog under "Who the Hell Cares?", but too many people ask about who the hell's on my fantasy team, and now I can just direct them here and then get around to talking about more important things, like why Kate Hudson has a thing for guys with big....noses.

It's a fun league, usual rules, with Fourteen (14!) owners. The draft went relatively quick (less than 90 minutes). The Stugots (what I name my fantasy baseball team, so I'm trying to develop a name brand here, plus that team made the playoffs so I'm hoping for some sort of karma payoff) were saddled with one of the absolute worst picks possible. #9....#9...#9....#9. For all of you Beatles fans out there, "Turn me on dead man" by Yoko Ono was going through my head when I heard I had that pick. No boring details on why I made each pick, I'll just present the results and some quck comments after each one if they need commenting on:

1. (9) P. Manning QB (because playoff stats don't matter)
2. (20) T. Holt WR (because I can't trust TO)
3. (37) D. Foster RB (best RB available)
4. (48) F.Taylor RB (best RB available)
5. (65) D. Stallworth WR (because everyone was raving that McNabb would go out of his way to
make everyone forget about TO with this guy)
6.(76) T. Gonzalez TE (token Chief pick, but not many better TE's)
7. (93) Ma. Jones WR (I have no idea)
8. (104) L. White RB (at this point, both White and Busch had gone ahead of Vince Young)
9. (121) A. Randle El WR (just because I remembered him throwing that Super Bowl TD pass)
10. (132) J. Elam K (everyone was starting to take kickers and if I didn't jump on one here...)
11. (149) M. Leinart QB (thought it was waaaay too early, but I got the traditional, "Damns" and "ahhs" after I took him. Plus good enough for Paris Hilton, good enough for the Stugots
12. (160) Miami DEF (Because you have to have a defense, and this one's always a crapshoot if you ask me.
13. (177) A. Lelie WR (Considering the reaction this one got, might be my one late round steal)
14. (188)D. Staley RB (Because I need to be reminded Bettis is gone but still from Detroit)
15. (205) Cincinnati DEF (I was just bored here)
16. (216) D. Carr QB (just in case Manning's tourrette's like actions cause him a serious injury and I need an emergency backup. That and Jeff George for some reason wasn't on our board).

Of course, somebody had to take a token former Husker for their team (Correll Buckhalter, who I think might have been the only former member of the Corn on the board unless Eric Crouch's practic squad workouts for the Chierfs counted for anything).

As a good friend of mine says every year, "I always say this is my last year doing one of these things, and I always get roped in at the last minute." We're all probably to the point now that doing one of these leagues is simply a permanent fixture in our lives. That and the payday for the winner is always worth going through a 90 minute draft. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rolling Stone Corrects a Big Mistake; Callahan Being Callahan; and the one QB Transfer that Worked Brillitantly

A few years ago, I was up in arms when Rolling Stone came out with their "Top 100 Guitarists of All-Time". There were some obvious glaring omissions, but it seems now that they admit one major mistake, and it's about time.

On a completely different front, Billy C gave his weekly state of the Huskers address, and it sounded, oh pretty much like every Callahan press conference since waaaayyy back when he was head coach of Oakland Raiders, you know, way back when they didn't have Jeff George to kick around. Turns out, as usual, he's really excited to play, they've got a really tough opponent and they'll offer some really unique challenges on special teams, and oh by the way, there's really no starting "I-Back" but rather 4 guys who Billy C is really in love with and will see ample playing time. Of course, none of this really matters this week (or next week for that matter). Nebraska will win big on Saturday, there will be a Terry Bradshaw sighting at Memorial Stadium because he'll want to support HIS alma mater (and some in Husker Nation will confuse this for some approval of the Nebraska football program). We still won't really know anything until we see 0:00 at the conclusion of the NU/USC game on September16th.

Which of course leads us all back to a water cooler discussion this morning. Joe Dailey and Harrison Beck certainly aren't the first or last quaterbacks to leave big name programs for supposed greener grass (or turf). But the question came up today about whether a QB has ever transferred from one big name program to another one and really done much better for themselves.

There is one from the former Big 8 Conference who left the conference, still went on the beat up on the Huskers, was a Heisman Trophy finalist, was the #1 NFL Draft Pick, won 3 Super Bowls, and just this summer was enshrined in Canton in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And became known as Michael Irvin's favorite quarterback in the process, which is no easy thing to do.

Twenenty-two years ago, Troy Aikman was invited to a summer football camp at Oklahoma. Head coach Barry Switzer offered him a scholarship on the spot, which Aikman promptly accepts. One year later, Aikman breaks his ankle in the fourth game of his sophomore season at OU. Jamelle Holieway takes over at quarterback and leads Oklahoma to the national championship.

In 1986, with Jamell clearly established as the starting quarterback at Soonerville, Aikman decides take his ball and transfer to UCLA, qhwew of course he has to sit out one year.

In 1987, Aikman is named UCLA's starting QB the day before the 1987 season opener against San Diego State. Troy Aikman would finsih is NCAA career at UCLA with a 20-4 record (including a big win in 1988 against Nebraska). Jimmy Johnson would take Troy as the #1 pick in the 1989 draft for his rebuilt Dallas Cowboys. Aikman of course would win 2 straight Super Bowls under Johsnon in 1993 and 1994. Then when Johnson left in 1994, the Cowboys brought in a new head coach...none other than Barry Switzer. Aikman would win one more ring with Switzer as coach, and the rest is history.

You never know, in 10 years Rhett Bomar could be winning a Super Bowl for Kansas City with Bob Stoops as his head coach. Sometimes leaving works out in a big way. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hey Buddy!

As a lifelong Kanas City Royals fan (yes, such a thing really does exist), I'm already a big Dayton Moore fan. Mostly because he's a John Schuerholz guy, and Schuerholz was not only the guy who made the Atlanta Braves into what the Braves were from 1991-2005, but Schuerholz was also the guy responsible for putting together the last great Royals teams. Everything Moore has done so far indicates that he's going to put the future Royals together in a similar way that Schuerholz did with the Braves (starting with the Joey Gathright trade, which so echoed one of Scherholz's first moves with Atlanta in getting the speedy Otis Nixon from the Montreal Expos). Former Royals GM Allard Baird used to always preach about his "plan", but he never really got around to really explaining what that plan was. Moore has his plan, and isn't afraid to let us know what it actually is. For the first time since the Royals had an outfield that featured Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye, I can actually be excited again as a Royals fan. Notice I wrote that last sentence without mentioning the panic attack I almost had while re-reading it.

Which leads us to the Royals current skipper, David Gus "Buddy" Bell. My memories of Bell before he came to Kansas City was seeing him as George Brett's backup 3rd baseman in the All-Star game, about how angry I'd get when Buddy would replace Brett in the middle of the game because as a kid, I wanted George to play the whole game. That and he had a horrible managerial record, having one winning season, going 82-80 with the 2000 Colorado Rockies. He certainly wouldn't have been my choice to take over as Royals manager last year (I had faint cries of bringing back Hal McRae, who not only WON as a Royals skipper, but was a ton of fun to have around, and his infamous 1993 tirade deserves a permanent spot on youtube).

So when Moore was named the new GM earlier this year, I figured it was only a matter of time before he brought in "his" new skipper. It obviously hasn't happened, and I still don't know what to make of Buddy Bell. He finally tried to get our attention last Saturday night against Oakland, when David DeJesus was called out for interfering with the catcher on weird bunt attempt. Buddy tried and tried to go Earl Weaver on the umpire. I'm sure Lou Piniella saw the clip and thought, "That's all you got Buddy?" At least we finally got to see some sort of fire from Buddy Bell, but the whole effort almost seemed forced, as if Buddy didn't really have it in him to go all out during the situation.

It was then that I realized that Buddy doesn't have Hal McRae's fire, doesn't have even Tony Pena's spunk. And frankly, even with Dayton Moore's solid foundation of a plan, I think he needs a manager who at least has that capability. You'd think after managing so many losing teams, there might be a major boiling point that could really set Buddy off. I'm not suggesting he needs to go Lloyd McClendon and pick up a base and take it back with him to the dugout, but I do think the last piece to Dayton Moore's plan is the right manager to turn this team into a winner. There's no doubt in my mind that Buddy Bell is a good baseball guy, but frankly he's never been a good baseball manager, nevermind the talent he's had to work with. Now, he's got an All-Star in the making at 3rd base in Mark Teahan (which makes the Beltran trade a bit easier to stomach), and a couple of really superb guys coming up soon in Alex Gordon and Billy Butler.

Oh, and the last two manager's who posted a winning record in Kansas City? Hal McRae and Tony Pena.

BTW, I'm certainly not expecting the passionate responses that come with suggesting something wrong with Nebraska Football here, if any at all. Just somebody try and get a meeting at least between Hal McRae and Dayton Moore. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Is "Typical Husker Fan Response" a cliche?

Well, let's just say I certainly didn't tend for this to become some sort of Husker blog to say the least.

I was hoping that there might be some in the Stevie P dubbed "Husker Nation" who wouldn't mind reading a more realized (read: non-partisan) view of what's happening with the Nebraska football program. If you go back and read my previous post, you'll clearly notice that I begin and end it by saying the same thing: I WANT Billy C to work out at Nebraska. Hell, I even said that I HOPED Callahan wins the Big XII North and gets at BCS bid. But Deadspin summed everything up with one simple headline: Is it perhaps time to wonder if Bill Callahan has the slightest idea of what he's doing? Which is EXACTLY what I was trying to say.

I'm encouraged at some Husker fans who welcome questioning of the program and the one man who, let's face it, is in charge of perhaps the most viable entity in the entire state. And no, Billy C does not "just" have to sell the program to players -- he has to sell his entirely new brand of football to Stevie P's Husker Nation. He has to sell the program to sportswriters, who by the way have some sort of influence on the AP poll that comes out week-to-week. That's the ONE part that Callahan gets. He knows he has to sell the program to boosters, to influtential business owners, to even restaurants like Jerico's (go visit that great place sometime not just for their incredible mood, but to see all of the memorabila Billy C donated) and the lounge's like the Green Onion, known for making the stiffest drink in the midwest. He knows he has to sell the media, so that USA Today can do a cover story on his bringing the West Coast Offense to Nebraska (which they did in August, 2004). He has to get the ESPN Gameday Crew and other sportswriters excited about where Nebraska is "going". And like it or not, he still has to convince the stubborn Osborne and Solich camps, who are still frustrated that somebody from outside "the family" has taken over the football program. And if you haven't noticed, as late as last year, it seemed that Billy C the salesman publicly got Osborne in his corner at well attended event in Omaha.

Folks, 4-5 star recruits who everyone immdiately annointed as saviors are now LEAVING the Nebraska football program. By this time next year, two of our former quarterbacks could be starting for North Carolina and NC State respectively (not that either of those schools or football powerhouses, but still). This is not unlike Callahan's final year of Oakland. It's anyone's right -- hell, especially die-hard Husker fans -- to question whether or not "Coach" Bill Callahan has the makings of being a head football coach. And we don't know that.

I'll say it again: I WANT BILLY C TO WORK OUT! And I did say in the last post, I hope he goes 10-2, wins the Big XII it again.

If you want spoon fed readings on things that site nothing but positive spins towards the Nebraska programs, by all means, stick to the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star. Truth be told, the majority of their writers are too afraid to write anything that might offend the "empire" for fear of being banished from any practices or press conferences. Huskerpedia will periodically during the football season offer decent and entertaining information without worry of pissing off an NU Regent or two. Hell, Steve Sipple has been on local sports radio stations questioning some things that he won't dare write in the Journal Star. During the season, I'll certainly offer what I see, good bad or ugly. But my postings certainly aren't going to be limited to Husker Football or Husker Nation if you will. There are definitely a lot more relevant things going on in the world that I'll offer my honest opinion on. But boy doesn't a Stevie P blog sound like a lot of fun...

All I'm saying is that we have no legitimate proof that Callahan can be a even a good head football coach. And for those who seem to think that Solich left the cupboard bare after his unusually timed dismissal, you're not enitrely wrong. I was never in Solich's corner, but he "left" Nebraska with a decent winning percentage, coached a Heisman Trophy winner, coached in a National Championship game (even though getting to that game was a head scratcher to say the least), and also took a team to a BCS bowl, beating a decent Tennesee team. But my God people, we've gone from the dominance of Devaney and Osborne to a guy with really no true proven track record. Billy C remains the first guy I'd hire if I was putting together my sales dream team. Until we see proof on the field, he can always take solice in being Solich's designated driver someday.

And for those of you upset at the TO/bible references: God really doesn't care if Nebraska wins or loses on any given Saturday. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Billy C Might Not Be For Me

I'll admit that I sooooo wanted to fall in love with the idea of Bill Callahan, Nebraska Football Coach because he was such the polar opposite of what some Nebraska fans would call "the Nebraska way". He'd go glad handing at the Green Onion, shilling his "program" and recruiting and selling like none other. And when he signed that Harrison Beck kid from FLORIDA, who was courted by it seems like every school down south but....well, let's just say he wouldn't have been on Frank Solich's radar. Callahan somehow sold this 5 star recruit to come to Nebraska as his golden child. Like a lot of "Nebraskans" who weren't familiar with the guy -- other than his rather highly documented hatred from Raider Nation -- I started to buy in, and thought "Billy C" (as his first NU quarterback Joe Dailey would later call him) had some sort of the making of Nebraska's latter day Bob Devaney.

That's the problem. We all fell for Bill Callahan, salesman extraordinaire. It was easy to buy him in February, 2005, when he proudly stood up to a podium in front of a throng of eager reporters, bragging about the "New Class of Recruits", headed by Beck. Hell, the Omaha World Herald put together a TWO PAGE spread complete with artisitrs renderings of EVERY SINGLE RECRUIT from Callahan's award winning first class. It was the sort of overdone piece normally reserved for when, oh I don't know, the Red Sox win the World Series. Or at least Nebraska winning a National Title. Or so "Husker Nation", as Stevie P dubbed all Husker fans, thought.(Stevie P, it should be noted, is the proud Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson,and if Callhan's moniker is Billy C, Stevie P has to ride shotgun). It was enough to get over 60,000 people to watch a football practice, known in Nebraska as the Spring Game, in April, 2005.

When Stevie P brought Callahan in to even interview, I was stunned because he was run out of Oakland so quickly, especially from Tim Brown, Al Davis and Charles Woodson, who went on the record to the media about what an ass Billy C was and had lost and entire team just one year from a Super Bowl they could have won if their idiot coach would have bothered to change the audibles (more on that later). But I shouldn't have been that shocked, considering that Stevie P had spent over a month trying to find ANYONE to take the coveted job of Nebraska Head Football Coach. Oh sure, he had a guy who WANTED the job in Defensive Coordinator (and interim head coach and fan favorite) Bo Pellini, but evidently Stevie P's main target was none other than...Houston Nutt, who promptly used the courtship to get a better deal from Arkansas. After all of this blew up, Stevie P had omlettes all over his face. And then somehow, someway, out of the clear silver and black sky, a fallen Billy C somehow told his agent to try and get him an interview at Nebraska. Within what seemed like 45-seconds, Billy C and Stevie P fell in love and Callahan was bringing the West Coast Offense to Nebraska. So at the very worst, we'd at least have fun for a minimum of 3 years before somebody accused Billy C of calling his team "idiots" like he did in Oakland.

So even if we all agree that Billy C, salesman, is a great idea, shouldn't the mainstream media at least be questioning Head Coach Bill Callahan right now? Shouldn't Tom Shatel of the Omaha World Herald at the very least SUGGEST that Callahan just isn't cut out to be a head football coach? Let's consider some of his ON FIELD highlights during the past two seasons:

  • He literally shoved the West Coas offense idea around Joe Dailey, a Solich recruit who was brought here to play quarterback in the mode of, if not Tommie Frazier, at least Jamal Lord. All things considered and with what he had to work with, Dailey will be known as the first Nebraska Quarterback to throw for over 300 yards in a game. Enter emergency golden boy, Juco transfer Zac Taylor, who dazzled those 60,000 + at that spring game to the point that Joe Dailey went to the media and promptly called Callahan "Billy C", and the following Monday announced he was transferring to the friendly confides of North Carolina.
  • Ross Pilkington, a wide receiver who was named a captain as a junior during Billy C's first season and had all the makings of someone who could thrive in an offense that throws the ball quite a bit, promptly quit at the end of the season, supposedly because he hated "his coach" so much. (By the way, shouldn't SOMEBODY have said WTF when Callahan named four guys as captains during his first season and for the first time maybe ever NONE of them were seniors? Doesn't that at least raise some sort of red flat. Sophomore CAPTAIN Joe Dailey???)
  • On national TV, Nebraska is embarassed by Texas Tech 70-10. After game, Billy C the salesman, "still saw some good things out there". Like what? That the clock struck 0:00 when the score read 70-10, was that the good thing? Many Husker fans point to the 62-36 loss at Colorado as one of the lowest points in recent Husker history. The Tech loss in 2004 has to be the biggest loss in Husker football, period.
  • The embarassing tradition of making his quarterback run back to the sidelines before EVERY SINGLE PLAY. I'm not even sure this happens in high school football. The sad part about this was, even though we might have forgiven this sort of thing with Dailey as QB, it still happened with Taylor!
  • Ending his first season with a 5-6 record, which of course had to make Tom Osborne nod in approval when announcers said, "For the first time in over 35 years, Nebraska will not make an appearance in a bowl game." But no worries, following the game, Billy C announced, "We're building towards our championship season." Nobody brought up the fact that he didn't say seasonS, but never the less, the salesman sold us the bridge that said, "Right this year off and get all ready for next year and my amazing 5 star recruits."
  • Missouri finally won a game against Nebraska in 2005, 41-24, but that's probably only because they found a way to rack up 523 yards of total offense against the Huskers, including a 79-yard run by QB Brad Smith (480 of those 523 were compliments of Smith himself). The local papers even had to admit it was as school record.
  • Oh yeah, a player who at one point in time committed to coming to Nebraska thought so highly of Billy C that he sent the coach a TEXT MESSAGE announcing that he changed his mind and was picking Kansas State instead (which probably made Frank Solich smile for the first time since getting busted for DUI).

Which all leads us to Harrison Beck, who came here, as, there's just no better way to put it, the chosen one. It was all set up perfectly. Zac Taylor falls into Billy C's lap, gets the whole West Coast offense thing even better than anyone expected, and all of a sudden he had a proven QB who could run his system, his offense, for two years. Beck would redshirt during the 2005 season, learn as a true freshman, then be the second coming of Matt Leinert for THREE freaking years. This couldn't go wrong. All of a sudden my thoughts on Billy C were back to positive. He could be Coach Callahan.

Then out of nowhere, because he KNEW he had to win a game at home against an overrated Kansas State team, Taylor gets minorly dinged, and Billy C pulls Beck from his redshirt during the middle of the game, has him play something like THREE series, only for Nebraska to win the game by 2 points, just to become bowl elligible. (Let's also not forget that Solich losing to Kansas State at home was his Waterloo, something that may have been in the back of Billy C's mind.) All of a sudden, Beck had used up a year of eligibiltiy, and would have to come in this year as a sophomore instead of a frosh, but it still looked like it could work out OK in having two years of the "chosen one" as the QB.

Only a funny thing happened on the way to "Fall Camp. Harrison Beck was all of a sudden 4th on the QB depth chart, and then we all learned that the chosen one had a huge fan in his own mother. Before we could really learn anything from camp, Beck's mom spouts off to the media (Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star in particular) about how her son should be the starter NOW, how he's better NOW than Zac Taylor. Finally, Tom Shatel wrote something importanta about the situation, that this would be a defining moment for Callahan and that he had to handle the "Beck situation with kid gloves". The next day, both Billy C and Beck agreed that it was in the best interest for Beck that he just take his ball and his mother and go home, or at least transfer somewhere like North Carolina State. And everything we read now is that Beck had to go, he was too immature, wasn't right for us anyway and oh by the way good riddance? All we'd hear about was how the kid was just a big baby who couldn't handle being ordinary, nevermind the fact that shit should have happened the same way when Eric Crouch babied out and quit for a day and took his ball and ran home to his parents, only to be talked off a ledge by having Solich personally drive up and tell him, "It's OK, boy. You can be our starting quarterback". Less than two years ago, Harrison Beck and his family (I'm assuming his vocal mother was with) received a POLICE ESCORT to get to Lincoln in time to watch the spring game.

Callahan got so incredibly lucky last year by beating up on what turned out to be an eextremely bad Colorado team and then somehow won an exciting Alamo Bowl against an overrated Michigan team. Everybody's confused Billy C with Coach Callahan. EVERYONE'S excited about this year, primarily because the the Big XII North is as winnable as a game against Pacific, and all I can smell is another mutiny. How long before Marlon Lucky gripes about someting? How long before everyone realizes that yes Zac Taylor is a really special quarterback, but unless there are receivers and lineman who "get" the system too, it's not going to amount to a pitcher of warm spit? And I swear to you, if Billy C does that shit where he makes Taylor -- now a senior and captian, -- come running to the sidelines before EVERY play, well, at least we'll know that Joe Dailey will have a drinking buddy someday. We should have realized the luck on this guy way back on September 17, 2005, when Pitt came to Lincoln. Less than 7 days before, Frank Solich's new team Ohio had somehow upset Pitt on a nationally televised game. The split camp of Solich Supporters/Callahan haters couldn't wait for the Pitt/NU game. If Nebraska couldn't beat a team that former coach Frank Solich could beat with a group from Ohio University....somehow, the salesman Billy C managed a 7-6 win at home because some poor kicker for Pitt missed a field goal in the final seconds. If that kid makes the kick, Callahan doesn't even get a chance to get the lucky breaks he got at the end of last season.

I want Callahan to work because he's interesting, he doesn't play the bible card like another former Nebraska football coach, he yells things like "Fucking Hillbillies" at OU fans, and he's genuinely happy after a win (remember how hard it was for Osborne to do anything but remain stoic while staring at one of those National Championship Trophies? Could you imagine what Billy C would do with one of those things?). I want to toast some scotch with him at the Onion after winning a title. But I'm not drinking Billy C anymore. The more I look back on it, Callahan was Ray Handley, that disgruntled NY Giants coach who followed Parcells, with a lot of luck. At one point in time during his first year with the Raiders, Callahan's team was 4-4, then they somehow ran the table and went to the Super Bowl. He was run out of the NFL in a big glorified way, and he lucked into a situation where Nebraska had an opening, and Callahan knew he could get away with any of his shenanigans at a place like Nebraska because football runs the state and all he'd have to do is win. I hope he goes 10-2 this year, somehow finds a way to beat either USC or Texas (because we all know beating both is just not even a long shot), and plays in a BCS game. But I smell doom, I smell a big flop a coming, maybe a 6-5 or 7-4 that somehow buys Callahan another year. Mostly I smell a big loss at Oklahoma State, and all of a sudden people won't buy Billy C's speak anymore.

Oh yeah -- about those auidibles at the Super Bowl. About three months after Callahan was hired, I had the chance to talk to a former NFL player who was on one of those teams (I promised I'd never reveal his name). Callahan was up against the Tampa Bay Bucs, coached by none other than Chucky Jon Gruden, who the previous year had coached the very same Raiders team very close to a Super Bowl. The story goes that Rich Gannon, QB for Gruden and then for Callahan in the Super Bowl, was using the SAME EXACT audibles that Gruden had used the year before. It got so ridiculous that, the story goes, somebody on the Tampa Bay defense TOLD Gannon that they knew the audibles were from last year, that the entire defense knew what was coming, and Billy C still did nothing.

Even if that story isn't true, it certainly should be.