Archive for May, 2009

Nebraska’s New License Plate

May 14, 2009

When the Lincoln Journal Star had readers submit their own versions of what Nebraska’s new license plates should look like, the readers submitted a slew of ideas. And for no apparent reason, the LJS decided that this license plate design below needed some recognition.

We need help.

Sam Keller: Future Firefighter of America

May 13, 2009

When Sam Keller isn’t preparing court documents for his upcoming case against EA Sports, you can find him at a local Scottsdale watering hole doing what he does best – blowing. Also, I speak on behalf of all of us by saying that we need answers as to why Casey isn’t on top of the bar during this photo shoot. And about Sam becoming a firefighter, I’m not making it up. I bet you all feel a little safer down there in Phoenix right about now, don’t you?

2009 Preseason College Football Composite Poll and 2009 Bowl Projections

May 11, 2009

The folks at lsufootball.net have compiled their preseason Top 25 list by using 13 different polls to average out each team’s ranking. To view the list, click here. ESPN and Fox Sports have the Huskers in the Top 20 while seven of the rest have them at #26, which is where their ranking is at in the poll. Other teams of note include Texas @ #2, Oklahoma @ #3, Oklahoma State @ #6, Virginia Tech @ #7, Kansas @ #22, and Texas Tech @ #25.

Oklahoma State seems to be getting much respect and we’ll find out if they are for real or not on September 5th when Georgia (#14) rolls into Stillwater. Show me a defense against a weak Georgia offense and I’ll start buying in. Virginia Tech looks like they’ll be our first crack at a Top 10 team next season which I think is a win-win for us. If our defensive backs and passing game show up in Blacksburg, I believe we have a real chance for that game to catapult us much higher in the rankings. Kansas can’t seem to get any love from the pollsters despite returning 18 starters. The Florida Gators are already out of the gate fast and were #1 in all but 2 of the polls. And for that, we congratulate you.

For a great Big 12 projection and team overview, check out Lee Barfknecht’s Big 12 spring preview by clicking here.

And since we are talking about the 2009 preseason, let’s talk about the 2009 postseason. Scout/Fox Sports has released their 2009 bowl projections. Click on the link to view them all and here is where they have Nebraska:

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

Dec. 30 / 8 p.m. ET San Diego, Calif. ESPN
Tie-Ins: Big 12 No. 3 vs. Pac-10 No. 2
Way Too Early Projection: Nebraska vs. Oregon
Top 5 Others Considered: 1) California, 2) Oklahoma State, 3) Oklahoma, 4) Texas, 5) Arizona State


#3 in the Big 12 huh? I’ll be happy with that, I guess. And what the hell, since it’s apparently never too early to preview games, I like this match-up with Oregon. Not only did the Ducks lose Jeremiah Johnson and their top two receivers, but their defense returns corner Jairus Byrd Jr. and that’s it for star power. ESPN has the Ducks at #12 but early games @ Boise State and at home vs. Purdue will dictate how their season goes as USC comes to Eugene in October. Nonetheless, I’m sure the Ducks are expecting bigger things than the Holiday Bowl.

DXP’s Friday Roundup

May 8, 2009

Sorry for the absence this week. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.


**I would have bet you the farm that the next time I mentioned Sam Keller on this blog it would have been in conjunction with Casey Connelly. Man, I was way off. Keller is suing video game giant Electronic Arts (EA Sports) and the NCAA for the blatant and unlawful use of student-athlete likenesses in EA Sports video games. The class-action lawsuit claims “virtually every real-life Division I football or basketball player in the NCAA has a corresponding player in Electronic Arts’ games with the same jersey number, and virtually identical height, weight, build and home state. In addition, Electronic Arts often matches the player’s skin tone, hair color and often even a player’s hair style.” According to the LJS, ‘the suit further contends that the NCAA and its licensing arm, Collegiate Licensing Company, have approved such use of players’ names and likenesses, which clashes with the NCAA bylaw that prohibits commercialization of a student-athlete’s name, picture or likeness.’

Although I am a big fan of EA Sports video games, I love it that a former collegiate player, whose playing days have been behind him since his sophomore year in college, has the means to take on the NCAA and a video game giant. The NCAA is hypocritical in everything they stand for. It’s funny how they can take a player’s eligibility away and turn his life upside down because of a homework paper that went missing in prep school but then turnaround the same year and use that same player for profit in a video game. This lawsuit is far from over and I absolutely think that Keller’s class-action suit has some merit here. Go get’em Sam. And in case you’re wondering, Keller lives in Phoenix and is currently working as a bartender while he trains to become a firefighter. Whether or not Casey is still in the picture, here’s to hoping she is still working the pole while Sam is still serving up some rufi coladas.

**Former Duke basketball star Greg Paulus concluded his two day visit to Lincoln last weekend. Paulus is mulling his decision over two schools right now – Syracuse and Nebraska. “Sooner than later, I think,” Joe Casamento, Paulus’ high school coach, told the LJS on Wednesday about his decision. “I don’t think it will go on more than two weeks.” I’ve had many an argument with some folks over the past few weeks about what I think about Paulus possibly coming to Nebraska. It’s a win-win. One, Paulus can add much needed depth at QB and possibly open the door for Cody Green to redshirt. Two (as some commenters here have said), having a Duke graduate attend graduate school at Nebraska is fantastic for the academic department. My prediction: Paulus will go to Syracuse. He can play immediately there, and since he wants to continue his studies in broadcast journalism, he should just ask anyone that works at ESPN what school he should attend. But what hell, if you want to come Nebraska, Greg, you’re more than welcome.

**I’ve always given former QB Joe Ganz his due for his toughness and leadership and I’ve always been hard on him for his abilities. Therefore, I am more than willing to be proven wrong again as the QB battle in Washington between Ganz, Chase Daniel, and Colt Brennan will heat up come camp. Ganz has several things going for him here. One, I don’t believe Daniel and Brennan have ever taken a snap from under center before the NFL – ever. Furthermore, Ganz has played in a pro-style oriented offense much more than Daniel and Brennan and should be able to pick up the offense quicker. It’s hard to argue that Ganz was a product of a system at Nebraska. Two, Ganz‘ biggest downfall is size and size doesn’t matter here. Daniel is listed at 6’0, 225 lbs., Brennan is at 6’3, 200 lbs., and Ganz is at 6’1, 210 lbs. In other words, they’re all equal and I don’t see any of these QB’s possessing outstanding arm strength. And finally, the numbers game doesn’t hurt as many teams usually have more than five initially competing for the three spots at QB. Go get’em Joe.

**Former Huskers Erwin Swiney and Lawrence Phillips were both back in the news this week, and to everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t football related. Swiney received 2-5 years for possession of 41 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute and another 12-13 months for not having a drug tax stamp. My only question here is what is a drug tax stamp? Phillips faces up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted in a San Diego court. He’s charged with only eight felonies and two alleged assaults from attacking his girlfriend in 2005. I don’t know who didn’t see that one coming, but thankfully, Phillips is already serving a 10 year sentence for hitting three teens with his car after a pick-up football game in Los Angeles. Think you can run from Lawrence Phillips don’t you, but where are you gonna go?

**The Big 12 recently relased their APR rankings – Academic Progress Rate – for their football programs. Oklahoma lead all Big 12 schools with 952, Missouri had a score of 951, and Nebraska came in third with 950. Rounding out the bottom was Colorado with 929, Baylor with 930, and Texas Tech with 935. Colorado is at danger level as a score of 925 (60 percent graduation rate) will lose you a scholarship for every player that left the program due to academics. Currently, they are at four for sure with the fifth possibly coming. I’ve been saying that Colorado will be the next head coaching job to open up in the Big 12, and with Colorado being a pretty decent academic school (4th best in the Big 12), look for Dan Hawkins to hit the hot seat soon. And one more thing, when Mike Leach said that the tie-breaker for the Big 12 title game last season should be graduation rates, exactly what the hell was the mad scientist talking about?

**And finally, Playboy’s Best Boobs Bracket has concluded. Basically, it was a single elimination tournament featuring the best from the Big 12, SEC, Pac-10, and Big 10. (***editor’s note: every link from here on is NSFW!! NSFW!! wait until you get home!***) To view the entire bracket, click here. LSU’s Whitney Leigh took home first prize as she nudged out Ohio State’s Mari Morgan in the finals. If you’re at work now and if you missed the tournament in its entirety, make sure to catch up when the timing is right. Fantastic stuff I must say. Nebraska was represented by the lovely Amanda Adams who was eventually knocked out in the second round. Who is Amanda Adams you ask? Only this smokeshow below that you can see more of by clicking hereNSFW! Enjoy.

Brasky Pants

May 1, 2009

First off, I’m sorry to the original holder of this photo. This should have been up way earlier. Instant classic at the Gator Bowl.

When he was asked if he was putting on lipstick during a turbulent flight, he simply smiled and said no. He said he went “muff diving at the wrong time of the month.” No joke. Then he asked if he could sit down next to us. Best. Fan. Ever? Possibly. Here’s the original.

The 2010 Nebraska Cornhuskers: BCS Bound

May 1, 2009

It’s never too early to start thinking big. And in this case, I’m really early and I’m thinking really big. If you don’t think great things are headed to Lincoln in the 2010 season, then hear me out here. Bo Pelini will have his breakout season in only his third year as coach.
First, let’s look at what we will have coming back after the 2009 season.

Offense
Let’s start by telling you what I see in my crystal ball concerning Shawn Watson. Nebraska’s 12th ranked offense last season was done with a quarterback who didn’t possess arm strength or speed. The numbers are going to be improved for everyone over the next few seasons with a better QB for the system which will allow Watson to put his finishing touches on his spread? offense. Watson isn’t going anywhere to make a lateral coaching move as a coordinator (i.e. Alabama). Watson is sitting on a BCS head coaching opportunity that will come his way in a few years – just not yet. Therefore, I fully expect at least two more seasons with him at OC, but don’t hold your breath anytime after 2010. And trust me, I don’t want to think about the day we’ll have to go shopping for a new offensive coordinator quite yet.

At QB, Nebraska will have something it won’t have this season and that’s obviously experience. Whether Zac Lee emerges as the star people think he will does matter, but if he doesn’t, sitting right behind him will be Cody Green, Latravis Washington, or Kody Spano. Either way, we are clearly better off in 2010 than in 2009 at the most important position on the offense.

At RB, the Huskers should return both Roy Helu Jr. and Quentin Castille. I’m not really sure anyone could tell you exactly how Callahan plucked these two kids out of California and Texas, but regardless, they are both stars that will both play on Sunday. If Rex Burkhead doesn’t redshirt in 2009, he will be a utility special teams and offensive weapon that will be even better in 2010.

Nebraska will be loaded at the wide receiver position. If you think you can tell me a time when he had more talent at wide receiver, I’m all ears. Returning will be Niles Paul, Marcus Mendoza, Antonio Bell, Will Henry, Khiry Cooper, Brandon Kinnie, and Curenski Gilleylen. Loaded. In addition, Mike McNeill, Ben Cotton, Kyler Reed, Dreu Young, and Ryan Hill will all be back at the tight end position. Loaded there as well.

Since Jacob Hickman is the only senior offensive lineman that will see time this season, Marcel Jones, Mike Smith, Mike Caputo, Keith Williams, Ricky Henry, and D.J. Jones all will return in 2010. As I mentioned in my preview, Callahan’s lasting impression on the current program is a cupboard full of young, talented offensive lineman.

Defense

By no means will I try to downplay the loss of Ndamukong Suh, but look at what is waiting on the defensive line in 2010. Baker Steinkuhler, Pierre Allen, Josh Williams, Cameron Meredith, Jared Crick, and Terrence Moore will all see a good amount of playing time in 2009 and four of these could one day be all-conference.

Linebacker will be better for us in 2009 when compared to 2008, but by the 2010 season, these guys will be really good. And the best thing about Will Compton, Alonzo Whaley, Sean Fisher, Micah Kreikemeier, Eric Martin, Matthew May, Matt Holt, and Chris Williams: they’ll all be in Lincoln in 2011.

With Larry Asante and Ricky Thenarse both leaving after the 2009 season, PJ Smith, Courtney Osborne, Eric Hagg, and Dijon Washington will be the leading candidates to step in. I’m now convinced Hagg’s move to possibly strong safety this season is because of 2010. Asante and Thenarse are fine players, but I don’t see us dropping off much at all at safety without them. Anthony West, Prince Amukamara, Alfonzo Dennard, Dijon Gomes, Anthony Blue, Lance Thorell, Lazarri Middleton, and Andrew Green will all return at corner.

Don’t be shocked if punter/kicker Alex Henery is the first kicker taken in the 2011 NFL draft.

Schedule

Let’s break it down.
2010 Nebraska Football Schedule

Date Opponent Location Time (CT)
Sat, Sep 04 Western Kentucky Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Sep 11 Idaho Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Sep 18 Washington at Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat, Sep 25 South Dakota State Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Oct 02 Kansas State * at Manhattan, Kan. TBA
Sat, Oct 16 Texas * Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Oct 23 Oklahoma State * at Stillwater, Okla. TBA
Sat, Oct 30 Missouri * Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Nov 06 Iowa State * at Ames, Iowa TBA
Sat, Nov 13 Kansas * Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Nov 20 Texas A&M * at College Station, Texas TBA
Fri, Nov 26 –
Sat, Nov 27
Colorado * Memorial Stadium TBA
* Conference Games

To win championships, talent does matter. However, you aren’t winning championships without a favorable schedule. Go ahead and ask the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs if they think they have a legitimate chance with their schedule this season.
The only non-conference game I am going to bother mentioning here is the Washington game. New head coach Steve Sarkisian will be in his second year and highly touted QB Jake Locker will be a senior when the Huskers travel there. The Huskies were 0-12 in 2008.
When Texas travels to Lincoln on October 16th, they to will be playing their 6th game. Texas plays the Red River Shootout on October 2nd and then have a bye week on the 9th. Nebraska is at Kansas State on October 2nd and also has a bye week on the 9th. Nebraska will be 5-0. More than likely, Garrett Gilbert will take over at QB by then for Colt McCoy at Texas. Gilbert will have already had a warm reception to Big 12 play from Bob Stoops and Oklahoma. Meeting up with Bo Pelini in Lincoln won’t be any easier.
The Huskers travel to Oklahoma State the following week on October 23rd, which will no doubt not be easy. However, QB Zac Robinson will have graduated and I’ll be extremely surprised if RB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant are there in 2010. Hunter and Bryant both could be first round draft picks next year.
Missouri comes into town on October 30th. Blaine Gabbert, Derrick Washington, and Danario Alexander will be good in 2010. However, they won’t beat us in Lincoln this time around. Dave Steckel, huh? If Kansas couldn’t beat us in 2008 with Todd Reesing, they surely won’t beat us in 2010 without him. And finally, the last game on the schedule we will have to worry about will be @ Texas A&M. I’m not sure if Mike Sherman will still be coaching, but I’m pretty sure we will be a heavy favorite by then in that game. 12th man or not, we will be much better than Texas A&M.
I don’t see a game on the schedule we can’t win. Not one. And call me crazy, but I see no reason why we shouldn’t EXPECT a BCS berth. The Big 12 Championship game could even make or break a possible National Championship run. A rematch with Texas or possibly Oklahoma @ the Dallas Cowboys new stadium should be on the agenda that year. Nebraska is 2-0 in Big 12 Championship games in Texas.
It’s crazy to think about how everything has fallen into Bo Pelini’s lap in such a perfect way. Steve Pederson, Bill Callahan, and everyone else involved in the dark ages of Nebraska football from 2004-2007 have become a distant memory all of a sudden. In only three short years removed that era, Bo Pelini has a realistic chance to take Nebraska back to the top. I’m telling you, it’s time to get excited.
I can’t wait for the 2009 season. I really can’ t wait for the 2010 season.