Category: Sports

Thanksgiving Dinners and Black Eyes

Funny story.

Last week I went home for Thanksgiving break. Got home Tuesday night, worked all day Wednesday, and of course Thursday was Thanksgiving. A regular Thanksgiving day for me entails waking up late, futzing around for a few hours, eating dinner with the folks, sleeping dinner off, then watching football or generally just screwing around the rest of the night. This time around I had a paper to work on, so I grabbed a nap and went back to reading about the relationship between imperial era China and the nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples in the outlying areas. Watched some of the Texas/Texas A&M game while I was at it too.

This went on until about 4AM, right about the point where I started sleeping more than studying. Pulled myself off the couch and went to the bathroom to clean up for bed, and… blacked out. Don’t ask me how or why. Probably a mix of being drowsy and stuffed full of Thanksgiving dinner. Either way, what do people do when they black out while they’re standing up?

They fall.

I woke up a minute or two later wondering what the hell happened and why I was sleeping on the bathroom floor. I stood back up, looked in the mirror, and saw a trail of blood running down my face from a pretty cool-looking zig-zag-shaped cut. Like the skin was torn open rather than just cut. I gathered I hit my head against the sink on the way down, because there was a drop of blood right underneath the sink right about where my head would have hit it.

End result – a partial black eye (not Jimmy Clausen got punched at the bar black eye), a huge bruise on my arm from where I landed, and a hilarious “what did you do for Thanksgiving break?” story.

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… And the “not so much” things for this week

Now the bad news:

1) My financial aid for the year got pulled. Basically, I was dismissed from school 9 years ago for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress – an assessment I don’t dispute – and that came back to bite me in the ass when the school went to audit who all was receiving aid this fall. The kick is, although I am technically in good standing with the school for having successfully applied for readmission, I didn’t actually do anything to reverse the situation I was in on campus. The on campus/off campus distinction is important – although I have a full year’s worth of credit transferred in from the community college in Omaha, that does nothing to either help or hinder my progress in Lincoln.

So the short version of this little story is that I rushed down to Lincoln the day after finding out and filed my appeal. I stated that in the interim, I had been slowly racking up transferable credits at another school and that the situation would simply correct itself after 3 months now that my head’s screwed on straight. The committee who oversees these things looked at my appeal and approved it on the condition that I take at least 10 hours’ worth of classes in the fall and pass them all. Fine, they’re all softball classes anyway.

In the meantime I’m looking at private options for the fall term as I think it’s going to be a little tough for me to scare up $7000-$8000 between now and the fall, and I think I’ll be okay in that department. This is just a giant pain in the ass to deal with.

2) The price of the new iPhone. Ok, first of all let’s get something straight here – I realize I’m not the target audience for this contraption. I greatly prefer text messaging to phone conversations, I don’t care one way or the next if I can surf the internet and/or check e-mail when I’m on campus and probably 5 minutes away from a public terminal anyway, and most of all I don’t want to pay $50 or more a month for phone service. Especially when I can get a Skypeout account for like $3 a month. I just jumped on Sprint’s SERO plan, which gets me 500 minutes of talk time and unlimited text messaging for $30 a month. In the whole quest for cell phone service to replace my company phone which is soon going away, that is hands down the best deal I found. By far. That’s the kind of cell phone customer I am. So having said that…

The new iPhone is going to cost $199, whereas the old one used to be $399. Basically a 50% discount. This looked like a really sweet deal, and I was just about ready to take the plunge… then the details started coming out. To wit: the data plan is going to be $10 more a month, and you have to pay $5 extra to get the 200 SMS package that used to be included. Do the math – or better yet, don’t, because it’s already been done:

Steve Jobs himself said the primary reason people weren’t buying iPhones was because of the cost. In response, Apple’s and AT&T’s bean counters diligently moved beans from one pile to the next until they could come up with the biggest crock of shit farce I’ve seen so far – a phone being advertised as “half as expensive” that carries a higher total cost of ownership than its predecessor.

Steve, you are one crafty son of a bitch, but do you really think that’s going to make people jump in line? The iPhone was too expensive before, so now that it’s even more expensive that should fix the problem?

Really, come on.

Uh, I guess the only other thing I don’t like this week is that somehow the Yankees managed to climb out of the AL East cellar. Pinstriped bastards!

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In Charge For a Day

This is what I’d do, since I clearly know how to run a major college football program. The rest of you, take notes.

1) Don’t fire Bill Callahan. Buy out his contract and offer him a position as a recruiting coordinator or position coach for a couple of years. Whether or not he has the makeup to be a head coach is still fairly debatable, but he’s made the rounds coaching offenses over the years, both in the college and pro ranks. Let him coach the offensive line. Put him in charge of recruiting. Those are two things we know he’s good at. If he wants to stay a college coach he’ll adapt, otherwise he’ll have to take his dog and pony show back to the NFL and hope somebody forgot about the 2003 Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately though, the kind of team he’s run over the last few years reminds you of some offbrand electronics component made in Taiwan: looks shiny when you pull it out of the box for the first time, but after awhile you come to the conclusion that you should have bought the more expensive, name-brand component made in Japan instead.

2) Do fire Kevin Cosgrove. This has to be done. His defenses consistently ranked in the 50s at Wisconsin, and this year it’s much worse. Chase Daniel had a career day against Nebraska. The defense has generated all of 6 sacks so far this year. There is no pass rush, a soft pass defense, tackling issues, motivation problems, you name it. Cosgrove is in his fourth year of scheming against Big 12 spread offenses and the results just aren’t there. Who do you replace him with? Dan McCarney. Mike Stoops. Grant Wistrom. Some Division I-AA hotshot.

3) The rest of the position coaches need to be taken on a case-by-case basis. Strength and conditioning is being questioned. Both lines are playing poorly. The wide receivers still have the dropsies. Sam Keller seems to be doing ok, which would be a testament to effective quarterback coaching, but we don’t know about the other guys because the system doesn’t allow for a backup quarterback to get meaningful snaps right now. You almost can’t judge running back production because the offensive line doesn’t allow for much margin of error.

4) Buy out Steve Pedersen’s contract and put him on the street. The reasons are well-documented, but the chief one should be to extend an olive branch to the old guard and to the state. The last thing anybody needs is for guys like Broderick Thomas, Damon Benning, Christian Peter, Steve Warren, etc., to spend time on the radio in Omaha and Lincoln talking about how the program has gone downhill under Steve Pedersen’s watch where fans can listen and get discouraged in the program. I’m not saying all the decision-making in the football department should be held accountable to random people that used to play at Nebraska, but there are way too many stories of the current athletic director shutting out former players and coaches from the program to ignore. That’s just wrong, and it needs to end. The fans need to come first – this isn’t Los Angeles, and there aren’t 17 million people in line for tickets. There are enough, but there aren’t 17 million. The program really needs to handle the fan base with kid gloves.

5) And while we’re looking at the athletic director position, I’d split that in half: an actual athletic director that oversees all programs except football, and a football director who does the same thing an AD would do except they’d work strictly with the football program. That includes fundraising, TV deals, having the final say on staff changes, and most importantly engaging in public relations with John Q. Public.

6) As a measure of goodwill to the state and to the old guard, bring Tom Osborne back into the fold to serve in some capacity, but not as a head coach. He retired from that job ten years ago because he wanted to retire while he could walk away. He’s 70 years old now. Give him a year-to-year deal and let him work 8-5 on whatever he wants. If he wants to help run the offense and mentor some young hotshot offensive coordinator for a couple of years, let him do that. If he wants to be the athletic director, let him do that. Just put him someplace where he’ll be visible to the public and people can see that he’s doing something to help the program out. For all the times over his 25-year tenure that Nebraska fans wanted his job on a plate, right now he’s the security blanket that will take the heat off of any new head coach or athletic director for a good couple of years.

7) Establish the following criteria for a new head coach, and find somebody to suit:

  • Established record of success in the college ranks, or a reasonably successful NFL coach willing to adapt to college football instead of wanting to force a college football program to adapt to the NFL.
  • No coachspeak, no diplomacy, no white lies. This state won’t stand for it. If you get beat by 4 touchdowns, don’t stand at the podium after the game and say you saw some positives to take into next week’s practice.
  • Must be willing to feature the running game, and not the glorified single wing that Frank Solich was running. Nebraska football is defined by running the ball. The West Coast Offense experiment was interesting, but it’s not what this state hung its hat on for so long.

That’s enough for now.

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Footbaw: Week 6 Results

Nebraska football is dead. There’s no way there isn’t a major staff shakeup by year’s end. The defense is officially last in the Big 12 and ranked somewhere in the 90s in all of Division I-A. The offense was supposed to keep the team in the game, and not once did they even find the end zone. All of a sudden making it to a bowl game is starting to look questionable.

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Footbaw: Week 6

Somehow I kept forgetting to post these, so I missed out on the opportunity to call South Carolina over Kentucky, which I was going to do. Since that’s come and gone, I’m obviously not going to do that now. These are going to be quick since I have to be in class in 45 minutes.

Nebraska over Missouri
Kansas over Kansas State
Oklahoma over Texas
Michigan State over Northwestern
Penn State over Iowa
Georgia over Tennessee
Arizona State over Washington State
UCLA over Notre Dame
Ohio State over Purdue
Florida over LSU
Air Force over UNLV


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