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First downs and second guesses with a football hangover I’m most happy to have:
» If/when the Big Ten presidents vote to bring football back in October, you can give Notre Dame some credit.
No, no, no. I’m not going to gush all over the Irish, a la ESPN (hey, didn’t Nebraska want to play too?). But the images on Saturday of Notre Dame playing football, with 10,000 fans in the stadium, and leaving the field with smiles and a victory left the Big Ten presidents no room to hide.
Do the Big Ten schools care more about their precious academic image than Notre Dame? No they do not.
Do the Big Ten schools live on a higher moral ground than Notre Dame? Not with Touchdown Jesus overlooking things.
Are the Big Ten's medical experts more in tune with the coronavirus and its long-term impacts than Notre Dame’s? Highly unlikely.
Does Notre Dame reside in the same state as two Big Ten schools — and within driving distance to several others? Yes it does.
The optics all fall to ND. If the Irish can do this, so can the Big Ten.
Big Ten schools still don’t know for sure when — or if — the league will play football this fall. What is known is that if the league decides to start fall sports, all 14 schools will be playing.
» The Big Ten waiting until January to play football is a non-starter. The NCAA on Wednesday is set to announce college basketball games beginning in November. I’m assuming the Big Ten wants to play hoops. If you can play basketball in November, you can play football too.
In fact, you can play football in October.
» If there are Big Ten schools that want to opt out of the season, let them do it. And let the schools that want to play go forward.
I think you would get enough teams for a seven- or eight-game season. Remember, all Nebraska wanted was a chance to play some games.
Don’t penalize those schools that don’t want in. We’re still in a pandemic. In a league that covers half the country, each school is going to have different COVID-19 situations and takes on the subject.
The Big Ten presidents and Kevin Warren aren’t going to make 14 schools happy. They shouldn’t try. But I believe, in this strange year, every school should play if it wants or sit if it wants.
» An astute reader asked this question: If Nebraska is calling for transparency from the Big Ten on the Aug. 11 decision in its lawsuit, shouldn’t NU be willing to announce its positive COVID-19 tests when they occur?
Technically, the lawsuit is not from the university. However, NU officials would love to see Big Ten transparency. And yes, announcing the positive cases on the team when they happen is the right thing to do. You don’t reveal names. But in this health crisis, treating COVID-19 like an injury doesn’t fly. Let’s all be open about that.
Nebraska hasn't played a football game in 2020, but Scott Frost is still winning — because never have the Huskers been more united behind their coach, Tom Shatel writes.
» There is no truth that Nebraska is talking about moving to the Big 12. However, there might be conversations about going to the Sun Belt.
» It was refreshing to see college football games with fans in the stands Saturday. Kansas State announced a crowd of 11,041 but it sure looked like a lot more on TV. Some of the students ended up cramming close together. Same at Notre Dame.
My favorite visual was the Iowa State band, each member six feet apart in the stands. Hearing them, you couldn't tell the difference. The Cyclones sounded great.
» If there are Nebraska home football games this year, we’re not sure how many fans will be able to attend. But I hope they let a lot of students in and give them great seats close to the action. That’s a trend NU should go toward in the future. Until that seat matrix is solved, give the students prime seats in this partial season.
» The next big quarterback at Oklahoma is named Spencer Rattler. And he’s from Arizona. Of course he is. Well, at least he won’t need a nickname.
Somewhere, Kenny Stabler is smiling.
As much as it stung not to be playing Saturday, the Huskers might gather something from this true “opening weekend” for if and when the Big Ten's season is back.
» During the last month, I received many, many emails. One of the most notable came from former Husker Chad Kelsay.
Kelsay, extremely passionate about high school and college players being able to play this fall, wrote in support of the eight NU players who filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten:
“The summer before my junior year (at Auburn High School), I was invited to join Quint Hogrefe at the Big Red football school. Quint was being recruited by NU as well as other state college teams, so I was simply tagging along.
“I joined him and during this camp I tested out as an average Joe. Every player was tested out and graded on the same tests as the current Huskers (40-meter dash, vertical jump, pro agility, etc.). I was as average as the next guy.
“The following year I went back to the camp and tested No. 1 in the camp. I was never on NU’s radar until that camp.”
Because of that second camp, Kelsay said he was offered a scholarship by Tom Osborne, won two national championships and got drafted into the NFL. That’s why he was calling for the Big Ten to share the information it used in its Aug. 11 decision.
“The only reason I’m chiming in is because this cancellation of this football season hits home to me,” Kelsay wrote. “The reality of denying these young men of this privilege to put on a jersey and that helmet with the 'N' is something I’m glad I never had to go through.
“They deserve the right to be heard and they deserve the right to have the facts shared.”
Maybe they still will get that chance, Chad.
» One more and I’m outta here: The oddsmakers don’t have this name on the board, but for an early fall U.S. Open at Winged Foot, I am declaring the champion on Monday.
It's been six months since the sports world shut down. And though professional leagues and other major college football teams have started up again, the Huskers are still waiting for their chance.