First downs and second guesses:
Can Nebraska and Kevin Warren make nice?
It’s probably not necessary for any future Big Ten success or survival for the Big Red. But what’s the point of a grudge?
Nebraska sports, and football in particular, need all the help they can get. The road to national titles does not go through the Big Ten’s doghouse.
But before Warren can be an ally, he needs to help himself. And that starts with communication.
I enjoyed Sam McKewon’s interview with the Big Ten commissioner. Not just the olive branch extended to Nebraska, but also Warren’s admission of mistakes made.
As a commissioner of a power conference, Warren is a project. He has so much to learn about the Big Ten and the world of college athletics, which seems to change every week.
His main job in the Big Ten, besides making the members rich, is to build consensus. To do that, he better communicate.
Keeping the 14 athletic directors in the loop on little decisions like whether to have a football season is a good place to start.
Warren stumbled through a tough year to be a new commish. He made his share of detractors in the league.
But I don’t sense there’s any movement to oust him. The presidents will likely let him grow into the job. To do that, he better communicate 100% more than he did last year. Seems that he is promising to do just that.
If that means constant communication with Ted Carter, Ronnie Green, Bill Moos and Scott Frost, all the better. Especially for NU.
Nebraska doesn’t need drama in Chicago. It doesn’t need drama in Lincoln. And while NU should always stand up for what it believes in, the Huskers also need to put their heads down and start figuring out how they’re going to win games in this league. Because frustration in the state continues to grow.
NU fought hard to play football. It can take pride in that. But it’s time to move on.
I don’t believe the Big Ten office wants to hold down Nebraska. Why? A healthy Nebraska makes the Big Ten stronger, especially in football. That’s why NU was invited.
What I do believe is Nebraska and the Big Ten have been formally introduced after this past year. Any more questions? Pick up the phone.
» If Warren wants to show he has the back of his football programs, here’s a thought: Lead the charge nationally for an expansion to an eight-team playoff.
Not only does that guarantee the Big Ten a spot every year, it opens the door to a second team getting in. Yes, the SEC and others are thinking the same thing, too.
» You know it’s a big sports year when I did a top 10 stories for 2021 and forgot two.
Even in a season impacted by pandemic, Union Omaha had a successful first year. The pro soccer team made it to the playoff final and averaged 2,471 fans with limited seating at Werner Park.
Now that fans have had a taste of the soccer, what will attendance be if the club gets clearance to expand the crowds in the spring and summer? Is Union poised to have the big first year it expected in 2020? It’s a story worth watching.
So, too, is the Pinnacle Bank Championship at Indian Creek which was given a huge upgrade in status by the PGA Tour.
The PBC (Aug. 9-15) will be the season finale on the Korn Ferry Tour. All four rounds will be televised by the Golf Channel. At the end, the top 25 golfers will receive their PGA Tour cards for 2022 on the 18th green.
Congrats to the folks at Union and PBC. And, as always, thanks for reading.
» For the record, Nick Saban owns a Mercedes dealership, not BMW. For the record, you won’t find a sports writer in either place.
» One more and I’m outta here: Tommy Lasorda was one of this Dodger fan’s favorites. I was able to meet the legend at the Creighton baseball team’s annual fundraiser in 1993. He couldn’t have been more genuine.
As I recall, Tommy wanted to eat Italian while he was in Omaha. I hope someone took him to Lo Sole Mio.
My favorite Lasorda story was told by the owner of Kelly’s Pub in Chicago, near DePaul University. It seems that was one of Lasorda’s road haunts, along with Charlie Gitto’s in downtown St. Louis.
One day the guys at Kelly’s were watching the Cubs-Dodgers game at Wrigley. The camera showed Lasorda going to the phone to call the bullpen.
Suddenly, the phone at Kelly’s rang. It was Lasorda on the other line, putting in his order for after the game. Sure enough, the Dodger manager was at the bar an hour later.
RIP Tommy, somewhere in blue heaven.