Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mangino Worth the $$$

One of the more curious headlines that came out this week was that the University of Kansas is paying their football coach Mark Mangino the exact same annual salary that the U of Nebraska pays Billy C. So if either coach got so jealous of one another to the point of depression, they could simply hire Kim Etheridge, and she could tell the world that they both have 1.5 million reasons to live.

I think Husker Nation just can't handle the fact that a guy who looks and walks like Vito Spatafore before he lost all that weight and got caught going down on that male security guard by Meadow Soprano's boyfriend Finn got a contract with the same numbers that their coach received. I mean, Nebraska's a football school and KU is basketball. So something just wasn't right in Kansas.

But like Vito, Mangino is a hard worker, as evidenced by how close he came to shocking the college football world tonight and making Billy C's hot chair burn up in flames. Seriously, Callahan's gotta find a way to put teams like this away and stop with all of this overtime shit at home. It's a win, against a conference foe, a Big XII North conference foe. And of course all Billy C cares about is winning the North. The Corn should have won tonight by four touchdowns. They had the Jayhawks on the ropes early, and it looked like a repeat of last week's whipping of Troy was the order of the night.

Mangino made sure it wasn't. Like good coaches, he made the right adjustments. He kept his entire team up and motivated and most importantly, convinced them that even though their senior quarterback was having the time of his life throwing 3 interceptions, they could actually come back and win the game in front of over 85,000 anxious fans in Lincoln. The Corn blew a 17 point lead and Mangino and the Jayhwaks forced overtime. In LINCOLN. Which is why Kansas doesn't just want to be a basketball school anymore, and why the University knew Mangino was worth paying the same money that a football school does to their coach. And even though they left Lincoln with a loss, I'm sure his bosses are OK with cutting the checks for Mangino. Or giving him direct deposit if he likes that option.

(But don't cry for Billy C. He's getting A LOT more than the $1.5 million when you consider the dollars that companies like Alltel and Adidas give him, and I'm sure he gets a nice paycheck for having to do a weekly TV show with a guy who looks like one of Rudolph's favorite elves -- the one who always said, "I want to be a dentist". Plus it wasn't like Billy C was some hot commodity when he openly sought out the Nebraska job. Stevie P probably could have gotten Callahan to sign on the line that is dotted for $750,000.)

It would have been a lot more fun this week if Kansas could have done the unthinkable and come all the way back and actually got the W. Even though Nebraska couldn't run the ball (against KANSAS, at HOME), they still have the guy I think will be the All Big-XII quarterback in Zac Taylor, who threw for 4 touchdowns and almost 400 yards. The Corn should be damn happy to escape this one with a win because it's no longer a foregone conclusion that the North is theirs for the taking. The Big XII North is essentially the National League Central Division, and the Huskers are like the Cardinals. It just FEELS like they should win the thing because of their tradition. But Nebraska is just like all the other Big XII teams now. Flashes of some Taylor big plays, they're simply, well, ordinary. Kansas looks like they'll at least go to a bowl game. Missouri is ranked and undefeated. Iowa State can hang with just about anybody (and like Billy C, they have a way of making games too close against teams they should blow out).

I can already see the first paragraph in Tom Shatel's column tomorrow morning in the Omaha World Herald. It's too easy and cheesy for him to pass up. He'll go Jon Favreau from Swingers and say "we're definitely not in Kansas anymore." Just remember he said it, not me. Even if he is right. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Pujols is Single Handedly Saving the Cards While the Royals REALLY Don't Want to Lose More than 100 Games

George Brett did this with an otherwise mediocre Royals team in 1985, and carried his play all through the playoffs leading Kansas City to the only World Series title (and somehow missed out on the MVP -- but that's a whole other blog that Bill James explains a lot better than even we could). Barry Bonds pulled a similar act with his first year in the Giants in 1993, on a Giants team that in the new playoff format would have made the playoffs, but they missed out and he still won the MVP. Now Pujols is pulling the same shit that separates the stars from the normals.

After this weekend, if Pujols single handedly stops this historic collapse from happening, poor Ryan Howard won't have a trophy to add to his living room. Meanwhile Roger Clemens, who we love to point out usually shits the bed in big games, may want to realize that his Astros teammates just don't like him. How else can you explain how that team NEVER scores any runs when he pitches? Forget where the Astros would be if Clemens had played the whole season -- what if he signed with the Red Sox for the entire year? Would the AL East race still be up for grabs? Wouldn't it have been nice to have Rog-uh pitch one of those 5 games during the Boston Masacre II? I'm sure Papi and Manny and ET would have found a few runs to back Clemens up with. If I'm the Rockett, screw Houston, I'm doing one last tour and ending it all where it began, trying to give the Sox a great run at the Yankees and the series that HE could never have won there, finally topping Cy Young's team record for career wins, and therefore making sure he goes into the Hall with a Sox hat.

By the way, Tony Kornhiser, one of our all-time faves, foolishly suggested on PTI earlier in the day that if the Astros won last night, he'd have voted Clemens as Cy Young of the National League. IF he would have won, he'd have been a whopping 8-5 with an ERA around 2.28. Too much Theismann for our boy Tony. We'll have our award winners on Monday, because right now I'd say they're all up for grabs.

Oh, and our Royals? Well, after possibly the worst season in team history, they're actually going to play a crucial role in who gets to play who and where come post-season time. They were all set to allow the Tigers to control winning the AL Central last night, but decided to hit three homers in the top of the 11th last night and somhow WIN against the Tigers, while the Twins were losing to the already eliminated ChiSox. The funny thing about the Royals win was that even after the 3 bombs in the top of the 11th -- they almost BLEW it again in the bottom half of the inning. No kids, it's never over if you're a Royals fan. In fact, after the Tigers scored twice, they had runners at first and second with the game winning run at the plate. Trust us Twins fans -- you can't rely on any help from KC if you wan that AL Central title. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Friday, September 29, 2006

CORRECTION: Mangino's Weight Issues are Fair Game

"Anything's funny" has always been Chris Rocks mantra. We're all about anything being funny, especially involving Mark Mangino, it's just that all week long -- it seems that this was Husker Fans way of making fun of the Jayhawks. They finally win a game against Nebraska -- hell, they opened up the perverbial can of whoop ass on the Corn -- and all anyone around here wants to do is talk about how Mark Mangino is our generations Jabba the Hutt. Hell, even WE busted out with a Mangino weight joke earlier this week, noting that his biggest concern seems to be whether or not to eat that third sandwich.

Anything's funny, if it really IS funny. Anything or anyone is fair game. That's what this site and blogging in particular is all about. We have no rules. Correction: We have no fucking rules. The only rule is that the Royals have to abide to one of their OWN rules and lose three straight to the Tigers this weekend and screw up the Twins ALDS. Fine, after this week the Royals could find 103 ways to fuck up a wet dream (which is exactly what their loss total will be come Sunday afternoon).

Anywho, this was supposed to be some sort of Husker BLAHG about how every says Mangino is a fat bastard who's too fat to win a game in Lincoln. I'm just going to give the guy credit for trying to the impossible: Turn a basketball school into a legitimate football threat. They aren't there yet, but last year's loss was a big ass step. They've got a nice new stadium coming in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, Stevie P has put a new TV screen in the North end zone in Lincoln that's about the size of Mangino's ass.

ALRIGHT we'll stop. We should be more pissed off about missing the boat about Scarlett Johansson being named the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire (we totally agree ), but we were way off in our prediction: Based on the earlier pictures from previous Esquire issues and the really big clue of her being a guest star on Entourage, we thought for sure it was Sara Foster, who also isn't a bad pick. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Uh oh, Now Whitlock's Fired Up the Corn

We've actually grown quite fond of Jason Whitlock as of late. He called out Royals ownership in the best way before they wisely dumped Allard Baird and brought in Dayton Moore. He gave that great, candid interview to The Big Lead, where he effectively dissed both Scoop Jackson and Mike Lupica (and believe us, the Lupica diss was overdue from SOMEBODY who spent one of their Sunday mornings with him on The Sports Reporters). Like every other respected national columnist, he agreed with us in regards to the whole TO coverage. And now he's really won us over. He's inadvertently gotten Husker Nation to hate him. And he didn't even go all LA Times on them and make fun of the corncob heads or anything. Here's the quote that's got everyone in such a tizzy:
  • "There's no reason to count the (Kansas) Jayhawks out of the (Big XII) North race. There's no team in the North you can say is better than Kansas with any certainty.
    And there's no coach in the North you can definitively claim is better than Mark Mangino."

You see, especially following the USC loss, Husker Nation has just assumed that the Big XII North was more of a foregone conclusion. Business around Omaha and Lincoln are doing promotions already to "Go to Arrowhead to watch Nebraska in the Championship game", meaning that you could register for tickets to the Big XII title game in KC, where in a lot of people's minds, the matchup is already set: Nebraska vs. Texas/Oklahoma.

Some Husker Fans being Husker Fans have taken the low road in regards to both Whitlcok and Mangino this week (RE: Their weight). Don't worry, we won't link to any message boards, although a good google search will get you to a few dandies.

Oh, and everyone's still pretty pissed off about last year's debacle at Lawrence, where the Corn got their Corn Cob heads handed to them by the Jayhawks 40-15. It's odd that many fans now feel it's a foregone conclusion that this is the ultimate revenge game, and the score will definitely be reversed in Lincoln tomorrow night. To paraphrase the late Harry Carey, it could be, it should be, it....might be. But Whitlocks' right folks -- nobody can say anyone's better than anyone with any certainty, until oh 9pm CST tomorrow night. I'm guessing our new boy Whitlock will be at Memorial Stadium, and he can see first hand whether or not Husker Fans really are the "classiest" in all of college football.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Seriously, We Had Nothing to do With This. Seriously

We didn't even know there was a Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. What a horrible week it's been for my beloved Royals. The boys in blue had TWO (2) different teams clinch playoff spots against them on consecutive days. They got the Tigers to pour bubbly all over themselves in the Kauffman Stadium's visitors locker room (which they also got to do after the 1984 ALCS, a good sign for Tiger fans), and the very next night, let the Twins celebrate at the Dome.

I'm not even going to bother asking anyone like Elias or baseball prospectus about this, I'm going out on a limb here. This has never happened before. No way it has. Somebody tell me of one other time in baseball history that this even COULD have happened.

The hunt for 100 losses continues tonight against the soon to be American League Champion Minnesota Twins. Take THAT Mackenzie. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

A Decent Shaughnessy Article?

We're just as stunned as anyone else, but he seems to be echoing our thoughts about that whole mess from yesterday. I can't believe a man of his "statue" can be in "agreeance" with us.

And if you're thinking that statue instead of stature is going to be used like agreeance and stead of agreement from now on, you're on the right track. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

The Cards Won't Blow This, Will They?

God you have to love these Houston Astros. This point in the season, and they have to go 15 innings in hopes of keeping this Cardinals collapse alive. Although with Pujols being Pujols, the Cards are looking pretty, still in command of their own destiny and they get to finish this mess at home, against Milwaukee. Houston has one more left this afternoon at Pittsburgh, then has to finish the season off at Atlanta, where they should play in front of sparse crowds and for once a Braves team with nothing to play for in late September.

I wasn't around in 1964 to witness that great Phillies collapse that everyone talks about. I do remember the Angels shitting the bed in 1995. But don't let Cardinals fans fool you -- they want that division title now, especially with Pedro NOT being Pedro. The National League is anyone's to take right now. And as much as I hate to admit it, Pujols is without a doubt the most clutch player of his generation. Papi gets more press, but Albert does just as much if not more when it matters the most.

In other news, the Royals finally won a game last night, ending an 8 game losing streak, effectively screwing the Twins chances at opening the playoffs at home, and they only have more chances to try and get to loss Number 100. The only good news of the Royals season was the official announcement of George Brett being named KC's hometown hero, which we know was only a formality. The only reason I bring this up is because some yahoo started some rumor that today's youth would clog all internet voting with checkmarks next to the name MIKE SWEENEY, which would have caused serious rioting on this site and others. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Missing Mackenzie

Maybe this will finally get him off of his ass and add something to this site:

Your game 1 starter for your New York Yankees in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers (we're speculating it's Detroit, we're hoping it's Detroit, and now it definitely won't be Detroit because we've jinxed the Twins) is not named Mike Mussina or Randy Johnson.

Seriously, could the Yankees have to start the playoffs on the road? Is this possible?

Turns out it is. If the Twins or Tigers have the best record, they open at home against....well, at this point, it'd have to be the A's. Shit, this last weekend could really mean something in the American League after all. Mackenzie's beloved Yankees could open Tuesday at the Metrodome with Chien-Ming Wang against Johan Santana. Then again, they could open at home and get former Bronx Bomber Kenny Rogers. All we know is the Yanks can't start out with the A's, which sucks because after missing out on all of the playoffs last year, it'd be nice to see the 2006 Dirty Laundry AL MVP, the Big Hurt, on display on the big stage (because you know all of the Yankee games will be the prime time ones). By the way, isn't it funny how all of a sudden, the Hurt's on everybody's MVP radar screen, and nobody says one WORD about how he can't win it because he's a DH only, but for some reason all you hear about the other BIG candidate, Papi, is that he falls out of favor because he's a DH. And none of this makes any sense because the media seems to fall all over Papi and has despised the Hurt for most of his career. Then again, Sammy Sosa won the NL MVP over McGwire in 1998 because the Cubs won the Wild Card, but none of this matters because both players were juicing, at least that's what Jose Canseco says.

Anyway, I'm happy for the Hurt, he's now a lock for the Hall of Fame after this season, he's making Billy Beane look even more like a genius, and I can only imagine how pissed off Ozzie Guillen is about Frank being in the playoffs this year and the White Sox can't defend their title. What sort of smirk will Beane be wearing if this winds up being the year the A's finally win a playoff series, with the guy Kenny Williams -- who came across as the fool in Beane's world in Moneyball -- didn't want back on his team.

Feel free to jump in anytime on this Mac, and I know you could give two shits about the National League, but doesn't having the Phillies, Padres, Astros and the suddenly panicked Mets around sound like a good party? Hell, I'd take the Dodgers and/or even the Cards in that mix. God I love October. Just think, by then we might actually get a Mackenzie column.

NOTE: Our most popular story was the brainchild of a drunken Mackenzie following the Nicholls State/Nebraska football game. Yes, our hall of fame moment happened exactly like this:
Mackenzie: "Damn that chick's is looking goo--oood. Hey, since they're now making a movie about Moneyball, you should write a column on who should play what role in the movie, since you're such an expert on the book and you'd like to blow Billy Beane and I'm too busy staring at this girl's hot ass."
Me: "That might work. Could even do Paul Giamati as Bill James..hmmm...."
Mackenzie: "Yeah, but who'd play Joe Morgan?" CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

ESPN Gets Duped

This should have been a great day for sports radio, what with the Cardinals colossal collapse happening right before our eyes. Then somebody cried wolf yet again, and as always, the worldwide leader in sports has to hang on every single move this guy makes before they can maybe think about getting to the idea of maybe reporting sports news for once.

Seriously, did anyone in their right minds REALLY believe this guy tried to kill himself? Thank God for Michael Wilbon, who most know as Tony Kornhiser's better half of PTI but still writes a great column for The Washington Post, to finally get on ESPN Radio during Dan Patrick's show and admit that his first reaction when he heard the news was "I don't believe him."

For almost six hours, sports radio -- and ESPN in particular -- covered this story like the assasination of a president. I don't blame the entire media for blowing the whole thing out of proportion. No, I'm staring directly at ESPN. They're the ones that kept putting Sal Paolantonio and Ed Werder in Owens' back pocket, covering and giving the guy all the attention he so craved. ESPN turned someone who's probably not even one of the top 5 wide receivers in his sport into some fascination that nobody gave a damn about.

Not even Bill Simmons, who was all set up for one of his marathon chats at 11am CST, was in good spirits. "We're not going to be posting any jokey/offensive questions about (TO), especially when we don't know all the facts yet" is how he started his chat. By the end, he was actually keeping a RUNNING DIARY of the Owens press conference.

"Can I make T.O. jokes now?" a poster asked Simmons after the press conference.

"Yes! Everything's fair game."

I almost expected somebody from the Howard Stern show to come out and let us all in on the joke.

What a waste of coverage. Didn't anyone have a clue when they saw this clown walking out of a hospital, looking completely fine after the alleged suicide attempt? The idea of somebody asking Tuna if his receiver would play on Sunday -- did they maybe think that it was OK to talk about something else?

Why anyone should expect better from ESPN in particular is beyond me. The next time they want to report on this circus act on a day other than Sunday, they better have two reliable sources who find the corpse first.

Oh, and by the way, and NFL player on pain pills? Taking too many? Wow, sounds like breaking news. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Top 10 Bad Things Billy C's Done For the Corn

  1. Scheduling practices on Sundays. You know, as in the day after game day. I'm sure this schedule change was met excitedly from players especially following night games. Could you imagine having to come back home after the USC game at something like 10pm West Coast time, get home around 3am CST, and then have to practice the next day??? This was widely thought of as Billy C not being able to let go of the NFL mentality of working on Sundays. Nevertheless, Sundays were often film days for the coaches, and players could voluntarily show up to look at film. But all out practices on Sundays, and giving MONDAYS off??
  2. The debacle of the Texas Tech game, perhaps the worst moment in NU Football history. The 70-10 loss led to the infamous "We saw some good things out there" comment from Billy C. He must not have recalled backup quarterback Beau Davis coming in later in the game and turning the ball over five times in barely a quarter's worth of action.
  3. The unforgivable loss to Colorado -- at HOME -- in November, 2004. The loss officially stopped the Corn's record bowl game streak at 34 and put an ugly stamp on a season that showed a record of 5-6, the first losing season since the Beatles stopped touring. Callahan, after the game, said "It was one game today, one season." Yep, that pretty much summed it all up. But Billy C had a trick up his sleeve, needing just a few months to make Husker Nation forget 2004 ever happened...
  4. Recruiting Day, February, 2005. Billy C proudly faces the media and announces a group of 5-star recruits who've committed to Nebraska, feeling a lot like Lorne Michaels when he brought in Chevy Chase, John Belushi and crew to his first season of Saturday Night Live. The only problem is, his self-anointed savior, Harrison Beck, flamed out in a big way. After the Omaha World Herald ran a FULL TWO PAGE spread on all of the big recruits, including artists renderings of each player and bio's that looked like they belonged on Cooperstown plaques, Husker Nation was ready to forgive. Then last November, Billy C used up Savior Beck in a game he thought he HAD to win against Kansas State, therefore losing his redshirt. Come fall practice, Beck was as low as 4th on the depth chart, Mama Beck called Billy C out, and the next thing you know, our "savior" was transferring to North Carolina State.
  5. The end of "Debbie Does Dallas": OK, so Osborne never took the team to see any sort of porn flicks, but Friday nights before game day was one of those great Corn traditions that brought the team together. They'd all spend their Friday nights together, taking over a movie theater and relaxing and enjoying a flick. The Friday night movie night was one of TO's great traditions, helping create team unity in a way. Watching "Remember the Titans" was a great way to get the team motivated before a big game, for example. Callahan immediately killed this idea. "I'm not really a movie guy," Billy C said. "I'm more of a preparation guy." These kids can multi-task, they can play Madden while texting buddies across the country -- hell we ALL can. Why not give them a much needed break after having to go over a 500 pound playbook all week long?
  6. Pretending the infamous "throat slash" incident against Oklahoma never happened. The video replays were shown over and over on every local media outlet, it was all over the internet, ESPN even got into the act. There was no denying it happened. So here's how the first Tuesday press conference went following the OU loss and "Throat Gate":
    "Coach, would you like to comment on the gesture?"
    "What gesture? What are you talking about? Nothing happened."
  7. Not finding the right place for Turner Gill on his coaching staff. The thinking is that Callahan was giving the University's blessing to "clean house" and let all of the old Solich coaches hit the road while Billy C could bring in all of his own guys, but that Stevie P and the University folks (and Husker Nation for that part) had to be very delicate regarding the Gill situation. Turner Gill was one of the greatest and most popular Husker players in the program's rich and storied history. Telling him to not let the screen door hit his ass on the way out would not have exactly endured the new boss to the Husker Faithful. So Billy C decides the best thing to do with Nebraska Quarterbacks coach Turner to make him the RECEIVERS coach??? In retrospect, Gill couldn't have been classier about how everything played out, saying about how much he learned and would take with him as head coach of Buffalo. Billy C got through this one relatively unscathed, but let's just say he wasn't exactly, shall we say SAD when Gill got a new gig.
  8. The fun way where Billy C would just stand up at press conferences and just lip-synch from tapes played from old press conferences. OK, this doesn't really happen (or at least we think it doesn't), but have you ever noticed how much this guy just says the same thing over and over EVERY week? The best was one time when a local radio station played an old clip from Media Day before the Tampa Bay/Oakland Super Bowl, and pretended that it was a clip from Callahan's most recent Husker press conference. And the audience BOUGHT it! Classic radio. Be nice to hear a "fuckin' hillbillies" drop once in a while at a presser, and see that Billy C isn't the A Rod of Coaches Press Conferences.
  9. Losing 40-15 at Kansas in 2005. This was the last of the "streaks" left really for the Husker program (and granted, a lot of these were broken under Solich's watch). But this was the easiest one to keep going, and the fact that he had to lose to a coach who looked like the biggest thing on his mind was whether or not to eat that third sandwich just made the loss harder to take.
  10. No more RUDY: The trimming back of the sacred walk on program. This was one of Billy C's first moves here, and at first the thinking was that he wanted to do away with the idea of walk-on's altogether. There's a part of me that likes the idea of Billy C just going out and bringing in the biggest studs he can find from wherever. There's another part that wants to see the occasional Nebraska kid TRY to make the team.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Some Numbers Lie

As Husker Nation heads into conference play this Saturday night with the upstart Kansas Jayhawks coming to Lincoln, a lot of people are excited about some rather gaudy and misleading numbers. We beg you, as Coach Mark Mangino gets ready to stomp all over the visiting sidelines (seriously, shouldn't all NU backs just run towards him, as eventually they'll all be running downhill - sorry, cheap shot but if Mangino started doing Chris Farley's motivational speech about living in a van down by the river, we wouldn't be a bit surprised), to look closer at some statistics that have some in Husker Nation ready to cue up a rematch with USC next week already:
  • Nebraska is now fourth in the country in total offense, averaging 472.5 yards per game.

Just think how much higher those numbers would be if they would have "tried" against USC, or at least that's what a lot of water cooler talk says. A good chunk of those #'s came against Louisiana Tech, a Nicholls State team that literally just wanted to come up here for a field trip, and a Troy team ranked 100th in the country. Remember the immortal words of Winston Wolfe...

  • The Huskers rank 10th nationally in rushing offense (224.3).

This is encouraging considering where they were rushing wise the past two seasons. Again, a lot of those yards came against the three gimmies, but this is at least something encouraging to build on. The most encouraging signs came from running back Marlon Lucky, who brought back shades of old-time I-back memories with touchdown runs of 34, 45 and 51 yards on Saturday against Troy. If Adrian Peterson wasn't in the league, we might be tempted to start talking about Lucky for All-Conference status, but he's still got two more years in the league to earn those sorts of honors. Still, long runs even against mediocre teams are always encouraging.

  • Quarterback Zac Taylor is now No. 3 nationally in passing efficiency with a 178.25 rating.

We've told you all along Taylor's a pretty damn good quarterback, and if he keeps this up, he's probably a shoe-in for All-Big 12 honors. He's a special player and this is legitimately one great move that Billy C made that so far has worked out better than anyone could have imagined, especially after the way he handled Joe Dailey.

Nebraska's had their way in three games they were supposed to be able to use as scrimmages, then didn't get embarrassed in a game they were all set to get blown away at. By the way, there's still a big part of me that makes be believe that Billy C thinks he's still coaching in the NFL, that a loss isn't the end of the season, and all that matters is getting into the playoffs. Seriously, do you think somebody's had the balls to remind him that there is no playoff system in college? The way he talks about winning the Big XII North, I think he's under some delusion that if they win the conference championship game, they automatically play for the National Championship. Seriously, he talks a little too much about how "winning the Big XII North has always been our goal", as if the USC loss was just another game, just one loss, not anything that was going to ruin their season. I'm not joking about this, I wonder if he understands how this all eventually plays out. The big reason I bring this up is that the Omaha World Herald ran a piece over the weekend about the love-hate relationship Husker Nation has had with Billy C over his almost three years in Nebraska. Number 4 on their "They Love him Not" table was particularly telling:

  • "A regular-season loss to Colorado halted NU's bowl streak at 34 and finished a 5-6 campaign. Callahan, after the game, said 'It was one game today, one season.'"

Until Billy C can get his team at least to the BCS table, those are forever numbers that won't lie.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Shatel didn't really write that, Did He?

I think it's safe to say that this is in no way shape or form how most in Nebraska would like to be represented overall. Seriously, why was this column even necessary? This all goes back to when Woody Paige, before he pissed off an entire nation on "Around the Horn", was in Colorado and would make the week before the NU/CU game his platform to personally attack what a BOR-ring place Nebraska is, only to rile up all Husker fans who were making the trip to Boulder even more pissed off.

Can't we all just agree that every place has nice people, but there are also plenty of douchebags and bad people just as well? For every Nebraskan who has "a way of charming you to death, with their honesty, sincerity, values and their passion", there are just as many -- like every other state -- who have a way of making you want to throw yourself in front of a bus with their stupidity, racism and shallowness. Do we really need to read about how Nebraskans are all proud to be "hicks"? Is this needed? The Beach Boys gave this entire era love over 40 years ago bragging about "the midwest farmers daughters". Do you think Billy C is going to bring a copy of this column with him when he goes back to Cali or down to Florida for recruting purposes?

One time in New York -- where you can't tell somebody the city or town you're from, you literally have to say, "Nebraska" -- I asked a native New York woman who she thought the most famous person from Nebraska was, thinking she might say Bob Gibson (being a passionate baseball fan) or even Willa Cather or Johnny Carson. Her response? Charles Starkweather.

Let's just agree that Nebraska is not some island or alien state off in it's own little place in the center of the country. It's just like anyplace else, there are just as many great people as there are pricks. There are reasons people spend their entire lives in great cities like Omaha, and just as many who when they grab their diploma after graduating from UNL can't wait to see Nebraska in their rearview mirrors. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Billy C Watch: Not Yet

The wolves came back out in a big way this week, looking for poor Billy C. It pretty much started during the game from our good friend Brent Musburger, you see. He was amazed at how far the mighty Corn have fallen since the glory days of the mid-'90's, and that Billy C and his coaching staff had sunk to a new low because they seemed more concerned about getting steamrolled than finding a way to actually win the game. In fact, there was a time during the game when Musburger told Bob Davie to "go run in another play" for the Corn.

We've been relatively nice to Billy C this week, all things considered. But this week has been another reminder than when things don't go well in Billy C's world, they get napalmed. Everyone has been echoing Musburger's comments (that alone is scary enough), saying Nebraska played too conservative, that there was no really game plan, that all Billy C wanted to do was show up, try not to get punched in the mouth too many times, and then get the hell out of Cali. As if ANY game plan would have helped the Corn against that USC team.

It's still fun to go back and figure out how things went so incredibly bad for Billy C in Oakland. We came across a very glowing article on Coach Callahan as he was ready to lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl. After reading this, he comes across like the second coming of Bill Walsh. The only thing he was doing wrong at the time was speeding -- as in driving so fast to work everyday because he couldn't wait to get there. "I have the greatest job in the world," he said (a line he's repeated more than a few times in the past three years while guiding the Huskers). Life seemed just a little too perfect...

...Because it only takes a year for a team to go from 12-4 and the Super Bowl to 4-12 and "stupid". This article from December, 2003 has shades of what we'd hear later from some now former Huskers like Ross Pilkington and Harrison Beck. Wow did people turn on Callahan. Our favorite quotes:

  • "He's not the type of person you want to be around. He's just really brought a really negative vibe to this team over the course of the season." -- Charles Woodson
  • "I don't know if he's the guy who can bring this team back together. This year, he made things personal with this team. You can't do that. If he's back, it's going to take two to three years to fix this, because nobody trusts a word he says." -- Tim Brown

And the next thing you know, silver and black fell out of favor to scarlett and cream in a big hurry. We almost forgot that whole bizarre Barrett Robbins episode happened on Billy C's watch too.

God knows we've warned everyone about Billy C from day one. It's a long, long season with ELEVEN possible games remaining. I wouldn't jump off the bridge just yet, but there's another group of Trojans on the schedule for tomorrow, and theis bunch is craving a huge road upset for their resume . If some of the Nebraska players are already questioning things ala Musburger, former Raiders and pundits, well let's just say that next week will be a lot more fun than this one.


"They're All White!"

Thank you to our friends at BSmoked Turkey's Original All Nite Diner for this one. Here's the actual story that appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star.

When asked What the SC natives thought of their guests from Nebraska, Michelle Rivera, 28, paralegal said, "They're all white." CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Curse of Don Denkinger

Sincerely telling other people that you're a Royals fan is always met with different reactions. The younger generation, those with no recollection of 70's or 80's baseball, usually offer a confused look as if to ask, "Why".

Up until around 1990, you didn't dare tell a Cardinals fan of your allegiance. You'd have been better off calling their baby ugly. I'm telling you, it was worse than bringing up the '86 series to Red Sox fans. You wanted to be bold and say, "You still had a game 7, you should have won that game." But we understood why Cardinals fans were angry. This wasn't losing a game and eventually the series because a ball went through Jack Clark's legs (although before the infamous bad call, Clark DID muff a foul pop up by Steve Balboni that could have ended the inning). Oh for a while, we tried to convince ourselves that winning the 1985 World Series was justified because it made up for all of those previous seasons when it was the Royals who suffered heartbreak. Until 1985, nothing went the KC way:

Now I look back at these heartbreaks fondly, just wishing there was a chance to even get invited to a possible heartbreak again. And Cardinal fans? Still no sympathy -- they're never going to feel sorry for us, why should they? Instead, the angers been replaced by shit-eating grins. Grins that tell us that revenge has a funny way of fucking you right up the ass. That for the past 21 years, the Royals have gotten what they deserved, as if we had a price we had to pay for an umpire blowing a call in game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Because after the only ticker tape parade the Royals have ever had, we've had our own curse. The Curse of Don Denkinger.

There's no need to rehash Denkinger's blown call. Any baseball fan just figured it was an umpire's natural reaction to always call Jorge Orta out at first (he wasn't exactly Ron LeFlore running down the line). It's the reason Cardinal Nation feels that all the bad that's gone the Royals way is justified, and it may very well be the reason the Royals never win again. Consider what the curse has done:

  • In that same championship year, Steve Balboni set the all-time single season home run record for the Royals. Balboni hit 36 home runs that year. That's it. That's STILL the record for most homers in a season by anyone in a Royal uniform.
  • John Schuerholz left Kansas City to turn the Atlanta Braves into a franchise that would win 14 straight division titles.
  • Two Royals players won Rookie of the Year honors (Balboni-wannabe Bob Hamelin in 1994, Angel Berroa in 2003). Both players careers fared about as well as a Grammy Winner for Best New Artist.
  • At one point in time, the Royals were able to field an outfield consisting of Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye. Damon and Dye have already won World Series for previously cursed franchises; Beltran may win one this year.
  • On May 9-10, 1996, manager Bob Boone batted Bip Roberts cleanup. Seriously, BIP ROBERTS, who finished his 12 year career with a total of 30 homers, and never hit more than 9 in a single season.
  • Before 1985, the Royals somehow NEVER finished in last place in their division. Since then, they've finished last six times (including in 2006, they clinched last back on April 30th).
  • In 1987, the Royals traded David Cone to the Mets for Ed Hearn. Oh but it gets better. Cone, a KC boy, signs with the Royals as a free agent following the 1992 season. He wins the Cy Young in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign...only to have the Royals trade him to the Blue Jays for three games by the names of Chris Stynes, David Sinnes, and Tony Medrano.
  • Billy Beane owes some of his genius reputation to the Kansas City Royals, as during his tenure he acquired Damon, Dye, and Kevin Appier for a copy of The Bill James Baseball Abstract that would never be opened.
  • Royals manager Tony Pena was so frustrated during the 2004 season his way of firing up the team was to take a shower with all of his clothes on.
  • In the biggest form of revenge, a young slugger by the name of Jose Alberto Pujols was a little known prospect in the KANSAS CITY area. In the 1999 draft, the Royals had 16 picks in the first 12 rounds. The only player of significance who they selected was pitcher Mike MacDougal, who was traded to White Sox a few months ago. In round 13, the Cardinals took a chance on Pujols while the Royals selected Gregg Raymundo.

The curse could finally end starting next season, as the Royals finally have a first round draft pick who looks like the real deal in Alex Gordon. Dayton Moore, a Schuerholz disciple, is doing the right things. All I know is that Cardinal fans, happy for the next 12 years with their 1999 13th round draft pick, will always wish for the Curse of Denkinger to last for at least another 21 seasons.


Callahan Still a Clown, But...

Billy C certainly doesn't do himself any favors at his weekly pressures (he controls that damn room, he should really just get everyone directed towards Troy already). If there's one thing we've always given him ample credit for, it's his salesmanship. How from February - August, nobody can sell shit like Billy C. As a master salesman, he should know better than to continually rehash or even take questions about USC. The great coaches now how to be subtle about this. Hell, it's not like he needs to go all Bob Stoops on everyone because a bad call cost him a game!

At any rate, if you still enjoy getting your Husker news outside of the mainstream, this guy always offers great insight after a disappointing game. And wouldn't you know it, he agrees with us, although we don't know what an albatross that Collisium was because we didn't see it in person. But damn does that KETV have a great looking Doppler Radar screen. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Don't Let Husker Fans Watch Major League Baseball

In 2000, as the majority of the state of Nebraska made the big trip to South Bend to watch Nebraska take on the Fighting Irish, many made more of a vacation out of it. The Friday before the NU/Notre Dame clash, the Astros and Cubs played a meaningless game between two fifth place teams at Wrigley Field. From a baseball standpoint, there were many highlights:
  • Sammy Sosa, back when he still spoke English, hit a monster home run (and nobody questioned anything about it).
  • Raul Chavez of all people hit his first Major League home run (and the only question about that was whether or not some Husker fan in the bleachers would throw the ball back on to the field, per tradition).
  • Some crazed fan ran onto the field in the top of the 8th inning, sprinted to the pitchers mound, took off all of his clothes, and proceeded to flip off the entire crowd with both middle fingers before getting tackled by the Wrigley security. He must have been really livid about the Astros bringing in Joe Slusarski.

Maybe the guy just wasn't a Husker fan, because the biggest memory of that game was how Husker Nation turned the game into the first Husker Tailgate Party of the weekend. There were Big Red "N" Flags all around the stadium -- which the normal Wrigley faithful would BOO at every second.

So it didn't surprise us to learn that as Greg Maddux pitched 6 1/3 no-hit innings for the Dodgers against Dave Wells and the Padres on Friday night that one of the secondary stories would be....Husker Fans causing a riot.

Tom Shatel in this morning's Omaha World Herald was at Dodger Stadium and noticed "a lot of locals heckling and badgering Nebraskans....Three Husker fans wearing red shirts and corncob hats almost caused a riot in the left-field bleachers as they tried to find their seats." This was more of Shatel trying to make a statement of how different baseball fans are than when he saw Sandy Koufax's fourth no-hitter.

But Shatel missed the point. Fans aren't that much different, it's just that you don't wear Nebraska Football gear to a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL game! Stop with this already. It also happens when Nebraska plays in the College World Series -- of BASEBALL. You might get a pass for this. But stop with this showing up at Major League Baseball stadiums and expecting a college football game to break out. Jesus, do you people pack any other clothes with you on these trips?

We're all for the locals "heckling and badgering" anyone who shows up wearing college football gear in their stadiums. Seriously, continue showing up in droves for the road games. Keep the reputation of being the best bunch of "traveling" fans. But keep the damn corncob hats for the football games. I can't emphasize this enough.

On second thought, get Syracuse on the schedule so we can see some of those in the Bronx. This has to happen. Can you imagine an East Coast trip where Husker Nation descends on Yankee Stadium? Please Steve Peterson, schedule that home and home with them NOW.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Husker Nation Reacts

I knew the over on text messages I'd receive after last night's game was going to be at 20 no matter what the outcome was. OK, it would have probably tripled that if somehow the Corn shocked the nation. Some of the more predictable ones (don't worry, I'll spare "u" the text shortcuts in writing them out):
  • "Great play calling last night Coach Solich."
  • "They ran the ball on EVERY FIRST DOWN."
  • "I don't know how the game turned out, all I could see was a Doppler radar screen and ominous clouds on the channel the game was supposed to be on."

Let's get one thing clear: There was no snowballs chance in hell that Nebraska was going to win that game. Like me, Deadspin was waiting for a colossal blowout so that they could "laugh at Callhan" just like we were prepared to do here. Deadspin actually called the Corn "a pretty solid team". We won't go that far yet. Even Billy C agreed it was "no moral victory, it was a loss."

I always thought that back in November, 2003, Steve Peterson looked at this very game on the schedule. He stared at September 16, 2006 and thought that there was no way that an entire Husker Nation would make a trip back to the coliseum and see an embarrassment similar to the 2002 Alleged National Championship. Which is exactly what would have happened if Solich coached that game last night. Then you really ARE talking about that shitstorm 70-10 Texas Tech disaster.

Anyone who's spent anytime reading these blogs knows how badly I want to just carve into Billy C in the worst way. The bottom line is they just couldn't run the WCO the way it's supposed to be run against that talent the Trojans have on defense. Nebraska doesn't have an offensive weapon anywhere close to Dwayne Jarrett, who if he keeps this up is a legitimate threat to win USC's third consecutive Heisman. (Billy C called Jarrett a "monster" by the way, and I don't think he meant the Monster Charlize Theron played in the movie of the same name.) I know the Corn only threw the ball 16 times (17 if you count that fake punt), but USC held on to the football so long in the 2nd half that the NU offense rarely got on the field. Hell, the Doppler Radar got more screen time than Zac Taylor.

Nebraska lost a game by the score of 28-10, and by my count it was dangerously closer to being 45-10 but USC had a few too many penalties -- 7 for 46 yards. Nebraska just doesn't have those fucking horses that USC has. Hell, I was almost more jealous of the SC hotties they kept showing on the screen in the first half.

The text message I wish I would have received was the quote from Billy C at the end of the game. "We are closing the gap with USC, but we still have a long way to go." That pretty much sums up the state of things. Give the guy this for credit: He realizes that USC is the gold standard. He spent years in California, I'm sure he recognized this much early on. Maybe it's a pipe dream to have what they have. But remember, Osborne saw it with those Florida teams in the early 90's, that they were loaded with all of that speed and figured out he better get speed guys and get them fast. Unlike Solich, at least Billy C can see what makes the rich richer.

The first blog ever on this site mentioned that we actually WANT to see Billy C work at Nebraska. We just wondered if he had a clue. He's learned a few things over the past three years, even we'll give him that. He may or may not be the answer. But for Chrissakes people, if we know anything, we sure as hell know now that it wasn't going to be Solich.


The Storm That Never Happened

Here's something we've never done before, and probably never will again (quoting this fella, but back in 1985 it would have been considered OK):
  • "So it would seem we've still got a long, long way to go. I've seen all I want to see today."
    --Phil Collins, "Long Long Way To Go", No Jacket Required

And here's something else I never thought I'd say, or at least didn't after spending an entire week licking my chops and coming up with new ways to totally diss the guy: You really can't blame what happened at the coliseum last night entirely on Billy C. Oh how I was waiting for this, I might have even considered just running the old "Billy C Might Not Be For Me" blog. We still get our digs in at the guy though. Does he really have to wear those fake glasses that Stallone used to wear back in the late '80's to look smarter?

He made two great decisions that made me think for a minute that somebody else was coaching:

  • The fake punt that worked brilliantly (Something that you almost have to do if you're a big underdog; Osborne was big on this too, especially in bowl games when the Corn would be heavy dogs).
  • The bootlog on 4th and 2 that went for a touchdown. Everyone in the world was worried about a run up the middle that the Trojans would have absolutely stuffed to smithereens or one of those WCO passes that USC also knows too well. The bootleg was the only way, and you gotta give Billy C credit on this one.

The bottom line is that the Corn are nowhere near being considered among the elite anytime soon. Oh, they're probably good enough to win the Big XII North, which in these days is akin to winning the National League Wild Card, but it's gonna be enough to buy Billy C and his crew at least another year until they can find a way to get invited back to the elite table. Right now, they're like that poor sap Robert Patrick played back during season 2 of the The Sopranos, standing outside the "Executive Game" while Frank Sinatra Jr and the boys played big time cards for big time bucks. And like the character Patrick played, NU in the Executive Game right now would lead to disasters of epic proportions. The first weight Billy C has to get off his back is Nebraska's 0-7 road record against ranked teams since 2001. Now I know a lot of those losses are on Solich's bill (in fact, 5 of them are his), but for the Corn to even get a sniff at that executive game, they gotta kill this stat quick, and might get the chance on October 28th, if Oklahoma State runs the table and somehow finds themselves in the Top 25 (Have you seen Okie State's schedule? This is a possibility!).

And while today I see no reason to sharpen the knives for Callahan, Husker Nation of course is ALL over him, saying he played the game way to close to the belt and that he should have opened things up more. Hello? This is exactly where I give Billy C and his staff credit for growing. Try running against the Trojans in a shootout, and it's the 70-10 Texas Tech debacle all over again. I think in their time to prepare and at halftime the Corn Staff knew that the only way to keep things relatively close would be to try to do some sort of running game while effectively executing the WCO. Problem is, anyone on that Trojan sideline -- including that nutty Pete Carroll, who just seems born for this job, why he'd ever consider the NFL again is beyond me -- knows the WCO like the back of their hands.

Meanwhile, back home, as everyone was waiting for some storm to erupt from the coliseum in LA, there really was one coming through Omaha. We all kept looking out the windows for scenes from the actual movie Twister, including the cows flying around and maybe even a Helen Hunt sighting. Finally at halftime, the local ABC affiliate, KETV, had no choice. They went to their local newsroom for halftime, confirming Tornado sightings and therefore tornado warnings in all of the nearby counties. But they couldn't leave, so we got the infamous split screen for the entire 3rd quarter. It was like watching More American Graffiti, the movie where they decided that a sequel to a classic movie would work if they did it split screen for almost the entire film. It's probably one of the top 10 worst movies ever made, so really don't look for an endorsement here. OR from what KETV pulled. Seriously, in this day and age, isn't it enough to just run a crawl during the game mentioning all of this, tell people to take cover or shelter immediately and if they really need more info, direct them to your website or the Weather Channel. I mean, this is now ESPN sports on ABC, and if this game were actually ON ESPN we wouldn't have had the split screen interruption for most of the second half. Thankfully, next week's game (against Troy, who's hungry for a big road win) is on pay per view and nobody's gonna mess that baby up by trying to chime in with some weather.

Enough with weather for a tornado that never hit, in Nebraska or California. Still early, but it looks like USC with an even better defense from last season is all but set to play for another national championship, and Nebraska will get a return trip to California via the Holiday Bowl in late December. They'll probably play somebody like a California, and by then Billy C and the crew won't have anything to lose in opening up the wild WCO. I also just realized something and should have my head examined for not realizing this earlier. If NU wins the Big XII North and then obviously gets the bowl game, they'll have played 14 games, and could realistically finish the season with an 11-3 record. So relax a bit Husker Nation, 11-3 actually looks pretty good on paper, doesn't it?

And another thing, you certainly should fell better about things than Notre Dame fans can. Charlie Weis sure went from glorified savior to Rick Majerus trying to coach football in an awfully big hurry, and Brady Quinn looks more like the second coming of Ron Powlus than he does a Heisman hopeful or an NFL QB. I can't even imagine how sick Beano Cook is about this today. This is the guy who went on about how much we'd enjoy watching Powlus "play on Sundays" for the next 15 years after his Irish career ended. Eight (8) ranked teams lost yesterday. But really, nobody lost more than the Irish.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Lines of the Week

We were all set to go with a column following last week's big Husker win, but instead decided to wait and see how the week played out before we came out with a Husker blog. This was soooooo the right move with what went on all week (and big tips of the hat by the way to Deadspin for bringing over some new non-Husker blood over here, it was much needed). So with the REAL line of the week being n-n-n-n-n-Nineteen, Nineteen (as in the Huskers being 19 point dogs), let's get to our other favorite lines of the week:

  • "When we beat USC, this is going to slingshot our whole season. We're ready to go in there and show the world that Nebraska's back on top -- that the order is restored."

That quote, of course, is from Nebraska cornerback Andre Jones, who obviously hasn't been around long enough to know that his team hasn't even played a ranked non-conference opponent since 2001. Nevertheless, this quote was taken way out of proportion for many reasons. First being that it's not that he really "guaranteed" anything like the Omaha World-Herald suggests. But the other reason is how excited the quote made Husker Nation. "It's sure nice to see confidence back on our side," was all we heard following Jones' big "guarantee". After this one came out, all of a sudden Husker fans thought they were assured a big victory.

  • "So here we are, on the verge of another Corncob invasion, stories beginning to surface about large groups of hicks, all dressed in red, coming to the big city."

From the now infamous T. J. Simers LA Times column that has relied up fans in a way we haven't seen since Woody Paige left Colorado. This was just the sort of things that non-rational Husker fans have been looking for in years. It's just going to make a bunch of folks go out and buy more red shirts.

  • "This is only Year Three of the Reconstruction, so expecting Nebraska to defeat USC is like asking "Bob's Computer Chips and Deli" to compete with Microsoft."

Again from the LA Times, this time by writer Chris Dufresne, and a pretty fair and accurate description on the state of Husker football, but enough to draw ire and get most fans in the "Let's Show Them" mood. This is the more better read of the two LA Times columns, but if something like this were to run in the World Herald or Journal Star, heads would roll baby.

  • "Mark May is the worst hire ESPN has ever made, and he's just saying that because he still has some beef with Trev Alberts."

This happened after a Sporscenter segment on ESPN when Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit talked about the USC/NU game, and May told Husker Nation to "not be surprised if come the 3rd quarter" there were flashbacks to the infamous 70-10 debacle at Texas Tech. No -- May was saying something rather accurate and all of the other announcers all of a sudden predicting a close game were getting off the hook. So after May made his proclamation, Herby saying NU would make it a close game made him into a Husker Hero.

  • "The NCAA Gods are smiling on Husker Nation. How about all of this Reggie Bush stuff coming out again the day before the game???"

What's nuts about this is that even ESPN Radio's Colin Cowheard, who earlier in the week was leaning towards picking USC as one of his locks of the week, was now calling the game a "mousetrap" and that the allegations surrounding Bush could impact the game. Cowheard, as stated before on this site, knows quite a bit about college football, so it was suprising to hear him back off the USC bandwagon, which he's ALWAYS been on from day one. The guess here is that USC is looking at these allegations the same way the New Orleans Saints did right before they picked Reggie Bush with their first pick in the NFL Draft. It's in the past. Translation: None of this will affect the game.

  • "I'm more concerned about playing Troy next week. Did you see how they played Florida State?"
  • "How 'bout that Joe Dailey now? See, we were right to lose him"

This is what we've had to put up with all week around here. We've been asked all week what we thought about this game. Somewhere between the Texas Tech loss and how bad USC beat Arkansas on the road two weeks ago. Something like 50-17 USC. Cue the damn Trojans already.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Casting "Moneyball: The Movie"

It was only a matter of time before somebody decided to make a movie out of Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game. A screenwriter (Stan Chervin, I haven't heard of him either) is the only person attached so far. Yes, this has the makings of being one of the most defining baseball movies of our time, if not ever. It's already prompted my friend and contributor Mackenzie to ask "So who's gonna play Joe Morgan?" Seriously, why is it that Morgan's so associated with the book? He's only mentioned in it once, talking about how different playoff baseball is from regular season baseball. But imagine how pissed Morgan's going to be when he learns that Billy Beane's going to make a movie about Moneyball.

Already, both George Clooney and Vince Vaughn are on record as saying they'd love to play that rascally rabbit Billy Beane. At first, I thought Clooney might be perfect, but then realized he's getting up there in years, and doesn't it just seem WRONG to overpay for talent on a movie version of Moneyball? Vaughn could definitely pull off the all important Beane classic line, "Who's the best looking GM in baseball", but like Clooney, unless he's willing to take a pay cut, you don't want to overpay for somebody who might not even be the right guy.

So let's cross those two out and try to cast the major players:

  • Billy Beane: Remember the Moneyball theme: work within a restricted budget. But yet find a name of somebody who's a rising star, can be swarmy but at times somewhat charming and affable. As much as it pains to me to suggest it, Jeremy Piven is the guy. Think about it, he can be sleazy, go upper deck with the Copenhagen Snuff, and still come across as smart and edgy. And he sort of looks like Billy. But the director (who won't be Beane himself, sorry Joe Morgan), needs to be careful that he doesn't just play Ari from Entourage.
  • Paul DePodesta: Topher Grace, but they'd need to cast him before Spider-Man 3 comes out and he wants big money.
  • Bill James: Paul Giamatti, there's a resemblance, plus his father was a guy named A. Bartlett Giamatti who knew a thing or two about baseball. This role is almost similar to Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous.
  • Ron Washington: Don Cheadle, who can really pull off any role and this one is pivotal.
  • Scott Hatteberg: Bam Margera of Jackass fame.
  • Kenny Williams: Harold Reynolds. The guy needs work, and it's highly doubtful he can come back to broadcasting anytime soon. Harold can make Kenny come across as poorly on screen as he did in the book. Plus Harold's involvement would definitely assure there'd be no cheesey ESPN cameos, which always ruin sports movies. And yes, Harold has his own imdb page.
  • Art Howe: Jeff Daniels, who will fully need to shave his head and wear blue colored contacts. He has a way of playing the sad sack loser when he needs to (really, Jeff Daniels can play anything, from Dumb and Dumber to The Squid and the Whale), and that's really who Art Howe is in this book and to Mets fans everywhere. This could finally be the role that nets Daniels serious Oscar consideration.
  • Eric Kubota: Tim Blake Nelson. You need somebody who can say so much without having much to say (His major scenes are going to involve talking the draft picks into a speaker phone).
  • Nick Swisher: Dante Bichette Jr. By the time this movie gets made, he'll be old enough to pull off the role of the coveted phenom in our little story.
  • Mike Magnante: The grizzled veteran who has to be cut right before he can becoming eligible for MLB pension. William H. Macy is too old. We'll go with a guy named Paul Adelstein, who's most recently gotten recognition on Fox's Prison Break. Can't you just see Jeff Daniels having to go and tell this guy his career is over?
  • Chad Bradford: Kip Pardue, probably best known for Remember the Titans and Rules of Attraction. Again, somebody who will need to make a trip to the barber to pull of the role, but I'm guessing he can throw a decent sidearm.
  • Jeremy Brown: Brandon Routh. A real chance for him to redeem himself here while stretching his chops. He can get his hair cut, put on the weight, and distance himself from thie disaster that was him trying to be the next Superman. This role would allow him to be more sympathetic than Clark Kent.
  • Casey Beane: Alison Lohman, who somehow pulled off playing a 14-year old girl in Matchstick Men -- when she was 22 in real life. Here, she'll be asked to pull off the role of Billy's 12-year old daughter.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Walsh Finally Getting Proper Due

Last week it was Rolling Stone magazine finally correcting themselves. Truth be told, I stopped taking RS years ago, about the time they stopped being what they originally wanted to be.

The best writing from anyone regarding the current state of the music industry continues to come from Bob Lefsetz (who's letters are linked over to the right of this page with the rest of our links). I'd be remiss if I didn't post a link directly to Bob's great piece on HIS take on the Joe Walsh revival. The only odd thing is that it's all happening now, with Walsh finally reuniting with his original band The James Gang. The fact of the matter is Walsh has been playing sold out venues since hell froze over back in 1994 and the Eagles got back together. It's great to see all of this love come Joe's way in regards to the James Gang, but these sorts of stories really should have come out some time ago. At any rate, better late than never.

Now we'll go back to becoming a Husker Football blog, at least for the next 3-4 blogs. Just know Pete Carroll's to busy looking at tape to read any of the recent Joe Walsh postings, even if the Eagles could sell out the Rose Bowl but the James Gang can't. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Husker Nation Doesn't Like Their "New" Stadium

There are two undisputable truths that Husker fans need to understand:

  1. It is much more enjoyable to watch a football game on television than it is in person. Especially if the game's in HD, which most of them are anymore (including the upcoming NU-USC game). Jimmy Johnson had a famous quote about the difference between football on TV and in the stadium. "In person, a four yard gain is just a four yard gain, but on television, a four yard gain is armageddon."
  2. Memorial Stadium, even before the new improvements, has always been, for lack of a better term, a clusterfuck.

And what do you know? After Saturday's game, almost everyone confirms what I've thought for years. What, did people in the North endzone really expect to be able to see that big ass TV that's right ABOVE them?

These sorts of congestion issues always happen with parks and stadiums whenever you try to add more butts in the seats. But what nobody ever seems to realize is that you also need to add some new ENTRANCES and more accessible ways to get 10,000 more people into a stadium that already had 77,000 crammed in there like sardines.

The best part about Gameday in Lincoln has always been and forever will be the tailgating and the many bars in downtown. And now you can sit in some parking lot and have a great view of the new screen in the North Stadium, enjoy as many adult beverages that you like, and laugh at the fact that there are some INSIDE the stadium who can't do either of those things.

Plus, let's not forget some of the leftover quirks in the stadium that will probably be there for the rest of our lifetimes. There's not much that can top the buzz that goes through the air as you walk into the stadium, but once you're in the stadium, there are some unescable truths:

  1. Once you find your "seat", which is really just a # for you to put your ass on a bench, you're scrunched in there for the next 3 1/2 hours.
  2. No standing or cheering unless everyone else does. Go sometime, stand up and applaud at something that nobody else does, and you'll get hundreds of turned heads staring at you like you just robbed the Salvation Army Christmas kettle. One of my friends always said that going to a Husker game was almost like going to church: You'd stand, sit down, stand, occasionally sing....and everyone had to do this at the same time.
  3. The student section, which is still prominent in places like South Bend and definitely down at Texas A & M, just aint what she used to be. The University has priced out most students from even having a chance at going to a game.
  4. Those corn-head hats you see on TV? They look worse in person. Do not trust this person.
  5. No matter how many times you hear it, Nebraska fans are NOT the classiest and courteous in all of college football. In fact, they're not friendly to the opposition at all. The only time they even give that "standing ovation" to the opposing team is when they annihilate them. Think they gave Texas Tech one of those standing O's last year? Ask Kansas State fans about how they were treated in 2003.

After I graduated from UNL and then REALLY priced myself out of the possibility of getting season tickets, there were two games that I went to that I'll always remember:

  1. November, 1995, Iowa State at Nebraska, but more importantly, this was the return of one Lawrence Phillips, and there was a tension throughout the stadium as to how everyone would react when he came onto the field. We all KNEW he was going to play because TO came out and said that he would. And the whole game, everyone was literally just sitting on pins and needles waiting for #1 to come into the game at I-Back. Remember, this was the dominant 1995 that could do no wrong, that was blowing away opponent after opponent by scores of like 83-10. It wasn't like they NEEDED LP to play because Freshman Ahman Green was having a very good season. Then it happened, midway through the 2nd quarter, and the whole stadium took notice that #1: PHILLIPS had entered the game at I-Back. And I'm telling you, nobody knew what to do. I couldn't resist, after all, here was a guy who had only weeks before thrown a woman down a flight of stairs, injuring her terribly. So I promptly stood right up from my sardined seat and BOOOOOED as loud as I could, prompting the usual expected stares. After all, this was in the West Stadium, full of older folks who'd had the same tickets in the same section since Moses wore short pants. They'd probably never heard anyone BOO a Husker player. I seemed to be the only one in my area booing, until finally about ten other women who were near me -- a few of who were there with their children -- then stood up and started booing louder than I was. I think they might have booed LP everytime he touched the ball. Later one, one of the ladies came by and thanked me for booing, because it gave her the idea that it'd be OK for her to do so. Lawrence Philips might have been the most physicially gifted I-Back in Nebraska history, but for him to come back after the shit he pulled to anything but boos would have been unacceptable.
  2. October 31, 1998: The first Husker loss at Memorial Stadium since 1991, as Ricky Williams and Texas run all over Nebraska during Frank Solich's first season as head coach. Everyone around us was stunned at what was happening, they couldn't believe that Nebraska was actually going to lose a game at HOME. My friend Mac and I only wanted to leave because our buzz had started to wear off, but somehow we started talking about anal sex. I said I would never even try it on my wife and she had colitis problems so it was out of the question anyway. He wanted to go on and on about how much he thought women loved it. Before we knew it, we had spent the entire 2nd half discussing nothing but anal sex, Ricky Williams was screwing the Corn over hard, and I can't TELL you how many disgusted looks we got from Husker Nation after the game. I think they were just so stunned that NU lost to say anything to us about our conversation. No matter, Lincoln turned into a ghost town on Halloween after that game.

Other than that, the real fun on gameday in Lincoln is always outside the stadium. The NU/USC game is going to be next week on ABC in HIGH DEFINITION, which frankly is the only way to watch any sporting event. If you want to go down to the Nicholls State game because it's not on TV and you want to see it live in person, by all means don't let anything stop you. Just know there are better venues to see a football game, no matter how many times that used car salesman of a PA announcer tells you "there's no place like Nebraska."


Dave Set to be Remembered as the True King of Late Night

Make no mistake, David Letterman is aware of his legacy, and today's wonderful announcement assures that he'll ultimately be remembered as the greatest late night talk show host in the history of the medium.

Yes, even better than Carson. That's a tough sentence to write, considering that I often find myself watching and laughing at the INFOMERCIALS for those Johnny Carson DVD's. His stuff holds up incredibly well, he got the best out of every single one of his guests. And I still can't quite believe the man is no longer with us.

But what people don't remember is that Johnny took some amazingly long vacations. I was amazed in his later years at how many guest hosts he'd have. Letterman himself made a joke about this when Carson was awarded at the Kennedy Center honors in December of 1993. Really, the only time Dave had guest hosts was when he had heart bypass surgery in 2000.

Here's what Dave being on the air at least through 2010 tells us though:
  • It means that his CBS Late Show ALONE will have lasted longer than Leno's Tonight Show. Personally, I think Dave really wanted to be able to say this, especially after the bitter feud between the two that happened when Dave was passed over for his dream job (If you've never seen the HBO Movie The Late Shift go out and get it today; aside from Rich Little's horrible Johnny Carson impersonation, it's an extremely enjoyable watch, and it's Kathy Bates' finest hour as the manager who ran that wuss Leno's life).
  • It would give Dave 28 years as a late night talk show host. Carson was on for I believe 29 years. Given Dave's high regard for Johnny, something tells me that he'd like to finish just 1 year behind Carson's reign.

Carson will always be remembered as the voice of the nation when he was hosting the Tonight Show. His legacy is firmly in place. Letterman however influenced SOOOO many comedians and other hosts (Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart are just two who go out of their way to say how Dave influenced their careers). Dave was also responsible for creating two brand new viable entertainment programs that were never even close to existing before, and will in all likelihood remain after he's gone:

  • The 12:30am EST time slot being valuable. There was literally nothing on television after Carson would sign off, until 1982, when Dave started "Late Night" and proved that there was an audience who didn't fall asleep with Johnny.
  • The more impressive one: As far as I can remember, CBS used to air re-runs of Gunsmoke or old movies after their local news. Again, until they wood Dave in 1993, and all of a sudden CBS became a huge player in the world of late night. It wasn't long before Letterman helped bring programming AFTER his new show, including the Late Late Show hosted by Tom Snyder at first, the what-was-he-thinking-in-quitting Craig Kilborn, and now Craig Ferguson.
  • Oh, and if you've never seen it before, Letterman's most poignant moment, really the first TV host/comedian to further help a nation understand and heal.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Nobody Can Overlook Anybody (Or The Most Recent Case for Most in the Nebraska Media Being Complete Buffoons)

After the Labor Day weekend, Husker Nation woke up and realized that not only does USC have a new quarterback who goes by three names, OJ Simpson's alma mater streamrolled over Arkansas 50-14 on the road, and most importantly, Pete Carroll has TWO WHOLE WEEKS to prepare for THEIR home opener. You know, against Nebraska.

The latter does not bode well for the Corn, as Carroll with time on his hands can come up with a way to absolutely destroy an opponent (remember what they did against Oklahoma in the national championship game two years ago???). So this made Travis Justice, a local TV sportscaster who has now had his own little radio program for over a year, suggest that maybe Billy C and crew should maybe just watch a couple of Nicholls State tapes and fully start preparing for the Trojans now. The simple thought that Carroll and company have the next 12 days to do nothing but get ready for Nebraska's first trip back to Pasadena since.....uhm, they got white-washed by Miami in the 2002 Rose Bowl...almost seems frightening.

Which I guess is what Colorado did while preparing for Montana State, just look at a few home movies and really focus on Colorado State.

This isn't suggesting that Nicholls State is somehow going to walk into a sea of 85,000 red folks and run out with a 19-10 win, but my God didn't that Colorado debacle teach ANYONE anything? You never freaking know. There were plenty of open receivers on Saturdays Husker win, and there were also plenty of dropped passes. The Corn can (and most likely will) treat this week's game like a practice, but nobody better forget the fact that it's an actual game, and there'd be nothing like a Nicholls State to take a nice big old shit all over that brand new big screen in the north end zone to bring the entire season to a big crash in a big old hurry.

The good thing about Billy C is that I think he gets this. Remember, it was only last Friday when he busted out with his Rocky Balboa comparison about Louisiana Tech. Plus this nut does nothing but plan and prepare, and I'm sure midway through the 3rd quarter on Saturday, Billy C will be contemplating "Taking what he wants" in regards to USC. This guy has his kids come back and practice right away on SUNDAYS, a concept that was unheard of under previous Husker head coaches. Just like USC is treating Nebraska just like any other game, the Corn just better have everything in place come Nicholls State time.

It's a game they're supposed to win, and more than likely will very easily. After that's in the books, then you can start talking about Pete Carroll and going to California with an aching in your heart and the thought of seeing Will Ferrell on the sideline. Chances are though that Ron Burgandy only shows up for the national championships games. Because a home opener against Nebraska is a game that USC is supposed to win, too. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Settle Down, It's One Game Against Louisiana Tech

"Let's not go sucking each other's dicks just yet."
--Winson Wolfe (Harvey Keitel), Pulp Fiction, 1994

Tom Shatel of the Omaha World Herald is the most recognizable sports columnist in Nebraska. Why, I have no idea, and it's beeen going on for almost 20 years now. All you really need to know about Shatel comes from two days back in late November, 2003:
  • Saturday, November 29, 2003: The day after Frank Solich gets a nice win at Boulder against Colorado (did I mention about them losing to Montana State 19-10 HOME?), Shatel's column raved about how Solich and his staff have earned the right to continue progessing, the team was ranked and the program was headed in the right direction.
  • Sunday, November 30, 2003: The day after Solich was unexpectedly shit-canned by Stevie P, in one of the biggest flip-flops in recent sports journalism memory, Shatel defends the firing, saying it was absolutely the right move to make.

In other words, don't expect Shatel to really offer any true opinion on the state of Nebraska football. For the record, he also immediately said, "I like this hire" about Billy C, before the press conference announcing his hiring, before Callahan announced that the WCO was coming with him to Husker Football.

Which brings us all to Shatel's column in this morning's World Herald. He basically said that after this ONE game, all of Billy C's critics should be silenced, this WCO is a thing of glory and at times it looked like Zac Taylor "looked as if he was playing Xbox."

Wasn't this the way it was supposed to go against an opening game opponent like Louisiana Tech, at home?

He also went just a wee bit overboard on how great Matt Herian looked (and I'm not talking about the mustache). Shatel said Herian "looked as good as ever." Huh? Yes, Herian was wide open on his three catches, but on two he looked timid and slow coming off that major injury, which is to be expected.

And we wonder why Husker Nation acts the way they do sometimes. Shatel is nothing more than a PR director for the program, afraid to ruffle anyone's feathers for fear that somebody could confront him at the Tuesday afternoon press conference. If this guy is supposed to be a COLUMNIST -- let alone the biggest one in the state -- shouldn't be expect some substantial opinions. I guess we should all just be pretty used to it, especially after Shatel spent two weeks in June, where he literally wrote 14 columns about nothing but what a great experience the College World Series is.

Hell even Taylor himself, quoted in Shatel's column, said "It won't be this way every game."

But Shatel couldn't resist: "Who in the Big XII North can stop this offense?" I don't know about this year Tom, but last year the powerhouses from Kansas and Missouri seemed to find a way.

I just wish these columnists wouldn't be so afraid to go out on a limb and offer up some true opinions on what they could see beyond their rose colored glasses. Granted, there's not much negative you can say when you any game against anybody by the score of 49-10.

But let's not forget the immortal words of Winston Wolfe, the man who's job it was to solve problems. And until we see what this WCO can do against the USC's and Texas' or even the Okie State's of the world, we can't be too sure that Billy C do the same as Mr. Wolfe. We'll know more on September 16th if the man can solve problems.

If not, hell, he'll be in California. He can always call in the Wolfe.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

What Can Husker Nation Really Take From The First Saturday?

Other than at one point in time, I could have swore there were five games on at the same time -- in HD!

  • Memorial Stadium in Lincoln -- aside from the normal "sea of red" -- looks completely different on TV. New tunnel walk, brand new big-ass screen in the North Stadium (all of this already up at youtube of course), at times I wondered if they didn't just build a brand new stadium somewhere near the old Student Union. Somebody could have tried telling me that was the case after the first 5 minutes of the game and I'd have damn near bought it. Of course, I also would have asked if the new stadium comes with an entirely new coaching staff, only one that didn't filter out of a small clown car and loud music, where one-by-one the coaches would splinker out, all 12 of them in a car that looks likes it should only seat 1. You know, like the staff we have now??? They just aren't wearing the oversized shoes, red noses, funny hair and make-up just yet (I'm guessing they bust this gear out on or around September 16th).
  • That's 21 consecutive season openers for the Corn, and of course the entire time, I kept waiting for the real Billy C to show up (whoever that may be), especially in the first half.
  • Whatever happens with the rest of this season, we have to consider Zac Taylor a pretty damn good quarterback for the Corn. It's so hard to compare any pre-WCO NU QB to any of Billy C's boys. There was one run Taylor made in the first half where he didn't quite lunge for the first down, and all around me people were shouting the usual "Frazier would have broke that" or "Frost would have gotten ten more yards." You just can't compare the eras in the same way.
  • I also realized this was the first time since Jamaal Lord that Nebraska started a season opener with the same QB for two consecutive seasons. That of course says a lot about Taylor, but it also says a lot of positive things about Billy C, after how things ended in Oakland and the whole Harrison Beck deflection. This alone has a whole good vibe about it.
  • Four "I-Backs" all got considerable playing time, and all for the most part looked pretty good. If I were Billy C, I'd give the starting gig to Marlon Lucky and save Cody Glenn for those gotta have short yardage situations.
  • Matt Herian: Three catches, 61 yards, including the first touchdown of the year (although there were few balloons left to let off in the stadium, as most were let off earlier on a would be touchdown run that was called back because of a penalty). Herian after catches looked timid and slow, but he is coming back from a horrible injury and the simple fact that he's even playing football right now is quite stunning. I'm not sure what to expect from the kid from here on out, I do like the new Rocky Bleier mustache though.
  • I forgot: On Friday, Billy C, ever the salesman, likened Louisiana Tech to Rocky Balboa, which I guess makes Nebraska Apollo Creed until the USC game. You know...just in case there might have been a really close game or...
  • ...A crazy upset. I work with a really big Colorado fan, and after that thing went final, he was just zombied out. Sort of tough just to hang your season on the idea that your kicker is a pre-season All-American, isn't it?
  • Which reminds me, who saw the Tennessee game coming? All week long, everyone raved about Cal being the lock of the week, Lee Corso picked Cal is his NATIONAL CHAMPION, and at one point in time, this game was 35-0.
  • Seriously, why is it that Brian Kenny seems to have no friends? There's nobody at the world wide leader wanting to help him out with a rather great, up-to-the-second, constant update segment that he hosts. They could have thrown it back to Kenny -- and believe me, it would have been to Kenny and ONLY Kenny -- all day and night long.
  • There should be a rule established that says no collegiate quarterback can use three names (and ESPECIALLY not three first names: Terry Alan John, I know you're out there on the recruiting trail for Billy C somewhere). John David Booty. I'm sorry, you look like a really nice kid who could have a nice year taking the reins from Leinart. But your name is just a little too....Oh, John Wilkes Booth for me. (The latter comparison is sure to open up some sort of new slogan for USC football. "Other than that Mrs. Booty, how was the game?")
  • Look, Oklahoma State and Missouri and even Kansas also won big against the little sisters of the poor. So really, what do we take from a home opener against an opponent you're SUPPOSED to beat? That they won, but don't read too much into one win against an opponent you were SUPPOSED to manhandle. You take the W, that's what you do. You're happy at the fact that it's September, there are Major League Baseball Playoffs just around the corner, and it looks like they'll be great college football matchups every Saturday until December.

And be really happy that you're not Colorado.

No, I'm not totally on board either: "Settle Down, It's Only One Game ..."