I'm back for a wrap up blog on Friday just before I venture to Hastings, NE for my family Christmas...Can't wait...good food and good people.
THE HOT LIST:
1. Husker Hierarchy: Where do the sports rank?
2. Chris Williams: What he could of been
3. Should the Major awards be given after the bowl games?
1. For years I've gotten into a very heated debate with my buddy about what the hierarchy is at Nebraska for it's sports teams. What were talking about is as a fan how do you rank the sports in order of importance to the school. After pondering through the 24 athletic teams that Nebraska fields and decided to look the top five, because as I feel after the top five everyone knows Nebraska has a team but really if they aren't very successful, nobody really goes out and watches. The top 5 athletic teams at Nebraska
1. Husker Football: This isn't even close, the money generated each year by the Nebraska football team funds every sport at Nebraska. No other sport generates revenue like the Football team does. It's estimated that the football team makes anywhere between 75 and 80 million dollars in revenue for the athletic budget every year. Kinda hard not to put them at the top with 5 national titles and the endless great players that this school has had.
2. Husker Volleyball: Yes I do believe that the second most watched, and most followed sport at Nebraska is Volleyball. Nebraska arguably has one of the premier coaches in the country in John Cook, but credit him for bringing back some luster to the volleyball program when they won a national title in 2006. No question that Sarah Pavan, Christina Hoetelling, and her senior class brought excitement back to this program that for the past 10 years has been one of the most consistent and solid programs in the country. Nebraska holds the record for consecutive Elite 8 (Regional Finals) appearances at 9. What other sport at Nebraska outside of football packs 16,000+ for a volleyball match. No other.
3. Husker Men's Basketball: We have to include this because of the revenue that it generates for the school. I don't think they have been very flashy in the past few seasons, winning games they shouldn't, but losing many more that they should have. Doc Sadler is quickly making a team that should be very competitive for the next few years. I think that if he can coach a team into the top 6 in the Big 12 for a few seasons you'll quickly see the attendance numbers pick up into the 10,000 for each game. Thanks to the TV contracts of the Big 12, the Husker Basketball team breaks even each year in revenue and money spent. When it comes to success as a program, Nebraska isn't too shabby making a few NCAA tournament appearances and winning a Big 8 title. They also produced a few great players in Eric Piatkowski and Tyronn Lue. Nebraska has had some talented teams but has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game. I expect that to change in the very near future.
4. Husker Baseball: If you go back and rank these programs 15 years ago, many would have put Husker Baseball on the bottom of the school's sports. Hire a new coach and make the CWS in back to back years and excitement is breathed into a program that was the door mat of the Big 12 till 1999. Dave Van Horn brought winning and excitement to a program struggling to decide what to do with its baseball team. CWS appearances in 2001, 2002, and 2005 gave Nebraska fans a sport to cheer for in the spring days leading up to spring football practice. After last season's disappointing campaign where attendance was down for the first time in 5 seasons, Nebraska begins a 2010 season with high hopes with a very young and talented team. Nebraska owns 1999, 2000, 2001, & 2005 with a #1 draft pick in Darin Ernstad in 1997. Nebraska also has had its share of All-America players in Joba Chamerlain, Aaron Marsden, Shane Komine, Alex Gordon, Ken Harvey, Darin Ernstad, Matt Hooper, Jeff Liesie, and many more. Clearly in the last 10 years the Husker Baseball team has been a team to watch and plus with a lovely facility in Hawks Field, it makes it enjoyable to get out to a game.
5. This cleary becomes a toss up for me but I'd have to say that #5 clearly is Husker Bowling. Yes, as crazy as that sounds if there was nothing else to watch Husker wise on TV I'd be forced to tune into bowling. Nebraska has National Titles in Bowling, most recently as last season. They own an impressive 8 national titles in 91, 95, 97, 99, 01, 04, 05, and in 2009. Since it's inception as an NCAA sport in 2003 Nebraska own 3 titles in the leagues first six seasons clearly making it one of the top programs in the country. The list of awards for bowling is endless from consecutive streaks, to tournaments won, to All-American bowlers. But if you look at program success as a major reason for putting them in the top 5, clearly they might have one of the deepest in any sport at Nebraska.
2. If you haven't heard by now Chris Williams, Nebraska's stud LB out of the state of Texas last season was granted a scholarship release from the university. Chris stated that frustrations with his rehab and not getting any practice time were factors in his decision to leave the program. He'll likely be a hot player as programs like OU, LSU, Oklahoma State, and Alabama will likely try to pick him up. Its a shame that when he tore his ACL last fall that he'd be leaving before ever suiting up for Nebraska. I'll back the training staff at Nebraska 100% on not letting him practice. As we've seen before (i.e. Willie Amos) you can't rush these kinds of injuries. Its a shame he didn't want to stay around longer and develop into what I thought could of been an All-American player at Nebraska. Best of Luck Chris...get out of the Big 12...and don't regret leaving the greatest place in the country....but you will...
3. Should the major college football awards be given after the bowl season? The answer is YES!!!! Look we count these bowl games as a way to judge teams for the next season....and they do count towards your overall record. How many times have we seen award winners go out in their respective bowl games and just look awful...i.e the Heisman is the award I'm thinking about the most. I think that these awards should all be given at the same time at the end of the season as a way to officially wrap up the college football season. That way we can all judge the candidates for the Heisman one more time. The problem becomes if you evaluate the players based off their whole season than the bowl game shouldn't matter and think about the teams that don't make a bowl game. The rest of the awards can be given before but when were talking about the most outstanding player in the country...lets wait to give that out until after the bowl season...because if you in the hunt for that award...your team is definitely in a bowl game....that way the dreaded Heisman curse can end...but all that has shown is that clearly the Heisman winner really wasn't the most outstanding player of the year...if he can't win his bowl game...that would give guys like Suh and Gerhart a fighting chance to win...and end this best player on the best team crap...
Back next week for a couple of days before breaking for Christmas...enjoy the weekend...till then...Skocz Out!!!