My apologies for the lateness of today's edition of "Plumbing the Creek" but I was working in the lab overnight, and, well, I wasn't thinking about hot takes at five in the morning.
1. Let's start off with a bang, shall we?
I can already hear some of you celebrating.
But if I may, disregarding the improvements made to the University of Nebraska under Perlman is a foolish thing to do. While Perlman's lack of oversight of athletics led to the problems with Steve Pederson, his oversight of the (actual) University of Nebraska has placed the University in a fantastic position going forward. This may come as a shock to some, but the University of Nebraska is greater than the football program. Football is a fantastic vehicle for state pride and a rallying point, but it is the collegial component of a university that gives the Cornhuskers a place to call home. It can be hard to appreciate that sometimes, but there are so many great things happening away from Memorial Stadium. And we owe some of our gratitude for that to Perlman's leadership.
Remember this: some football players still choose a school based on academics, especially with the longevity of football careers getting shorter and shorter. If you want Nebraska to have every advantage, it needs to be able to offer a well-regarded education. Perlman, and whomever succeeds him, is integral to that. As much as Tom Osborne's football became a point of pride for this state, I can only hope Nebraska's faithful can appreciate Perlman's work to make its University of equal stature.
Nebraska's movement into the Big Ten and its steady overall improvement will pay dividends down the line, particularly as Nebraska's graduates begin to be associated with Michigan or Wisconsin graduates. At the end of the day, whether or not a chancellor and a football coach can grab a beer is irrelevant. The University has to be greater than any single facet, and if anything, I hope that can be a legacy of Perlman's tenure.
Best wishes, Chancellor Perlman. Thank you for your service and I hope you enjoy academic retirement.
2. Speaking of football coaches who'll never drink a beer with Harvey Perlman, our favorite curmudgeon from Ohio got to talking again, this time with his awareness. There's more or less a moratorium on Pelini talk here at Corn Nation (mostly because it almost universally results in loud noises and some sort of debate about Mike Riley and Oregon State) but I honestly felt a need to address Pelini's comments. Mitch Sherman at ESPN kind of takes Pelini to task, but it seemed unnecessary to drag Mike Riley into this.
Here's the thing: I won't disagree with Pelini that the way things went down was unfortunate. But here's the thing: he made his own bed. It was HIS GUYS, presumably, that leaked the recording. Let's remember that Pelini set that meeting up and would've only allowed his circle of trust to attend. That's where he should be pointing that thumb, instead of implying there's some systemic problem at Nebraska. There isn't. There's a school with a legacy of success and a former coach who quite simply ran out of good will. Happens all over college football, not just at Nebraska. Ask Bobby Bowden.
Oh yeah, and Tommie Frazier needs to stop talking about Bo Pelini. WE GET IT, he didn't let you come to practice or whatever.
3. Big Red Breakfast has been cancelled and apparently this has resulted in some people blaming Riley. Which makes absolutely no sense. For now, we'll ignore the ridiculous sense of entitlement associated with the righteous indignation that you won't get to have eggs and bacon with the coaching staff while they regale you with hilarious anecdotes about practice or whatever. (I'll also ignore the hilarious suggestion that these things are a tradition on par with the sellout, the red N, the scarlet and cream, or the jerseys.)
The athletic department collected a fee for every speaking engagement coaches are sent to. There is no way that Mike Riley would have the power to tell the AD he wasn't going to do those things. Not even Chip Kelly at Oregon could do that.
Not to mention, based on what we know about Mike Riley, I can't see the guy turning down the opportunity to meet with us regular folks on a regular basis.
The guy understands what Nebraska football means to this state. I know some of you don't believe it but hey, there's no pleasing some folks. (Until he wins a national title, Riley's just a stool pidgeon for Eichorst's plan to destroy Nebraska football before taking the Wisconsin job. I think I got that right.)
Oh and if you still think this was Mike Riley, here's David Max's take:
Access to coaches by fan groups and alumni chapters has gone down significantly for several years now before SE was AD. I am sure the speaking requests for current coaches is relentless and based upon my one meeting with Coach Riley at the event in Palm Springs I am sure he would over commit his time and have a hard time saying no.
It was posted earlier in the thread to get former players to be the speaker at these breakfasts and other events which are also fund raising opportunities for these organizations. I would not be surprised if there is a replacement event without current Husker coaches as the featured speakers this fall. I would attend one where Charlie McBride or Milt Tenopir or a former Husker player was the featured speaker and support these organizations and I am sure Yuengling would as well.
My personal theory is that the University didn't want to deal with the headache of negotiating a new event with their new radio affiliate in Omaha so they just nixed all engagements. A housekeeping deal, nothing nefarious.
Or, and bear with me on this one, the athletic department has decided to start treating our football coaches like, well, football coaches rather than as paid escorts for the entitled fans, figurative show ponies for the state religion of Nebraska.
At the end of the day, we really shouldn't be that upset. Riley and his staff will still say hi to you at the supermarket (the bunker is being fumigated unfortunately). We've honestly lost nothing except hilarious stories of Barney Cotton farting on a recruiting trip or chances to pillory John Papuchis.
I can't say that's a bad thing.
4. It sounds like Michigan's coaches will be joining Penn State's and Nebraska's coaching staffs by using a NCAA loophole to work as guest coaches at football camps in the South. I mean, whatever makes the SEC jumpy has to be good for other schools. And if it gets Nebraska in the door and the kid back to Lincoln, I'm for it. Just another example of fresh ideas coming into One Memorial. And of Harbaugh piggy-backing on Riley.
5. Little Rock, Arkansas and Tucson, Arizona have both submitted proposals to join the Orlando Care bowl as new bowl games for 2015. That'll give us 40 bowl games to watch between Christmas and New Year's. While some see this as bloat, all I see is "more football". Considering these kids play 12-13 games purely for our enjoyment already, I don't see how giving more kids the opportunity for a bowl trip is really our call to make. Enjoy the football and lighten up. Bowl season is part of what makes college football ridiculous and that's why we love it, really.
And yes, bowl talk in April is kind of like a hunger headache. August can't come soon enough.
6. Is it fair to say the only thing that offended me about the whole Aaron Rodgers/Cal/Wisconsin thing was that I had to side with Aaron Rodgers?
Can someone explain why all of the Packers quarterbacks are always so loveable and yet their team is easy to hate?
(Come back Brettttttttttttt.)
7. What I've come to learn over the last couple of seasons is that the NCAA is wholly unprepared for the internet age. Braxton Miller has a possible violation for taking a selfie while coaches are probably using SnapChat and other encrypted chat methods to move money around.
Meanwhile, the NCAA is sorry for your loss, but no, you can't just move closer to home and play right away. You really need to be a possible burden on your new program so they have no incentive to take you! But hey, we're here for you, we're the NCAA.
8. Speaking of organizations who haven't figured out the internet, ESPN has a poll going. I'm sure Nebraska fans will win this handily. Will we make Kirk cry again? (Seriously though, how easy must Wisconsin's bracket have been to make it on this?)
Or at least they were when I grabbed that link. They chose to launch a site redesign today (of all days) and I have no idea where it went. Maybe it's over. Who knows. The new site is hideous, but then again, I'm never seen a responsive web design that actually works with a desktop computer. (I know, I'm a Cro-Magnon for using a desktop for websurfing.)
Anyways, I think that's enough for today.
What do you think of the past week in sports?
Today is April 1, 2015 and the Chicago Cubs are still eligible for the World Series*! Now go out and tell Mike Riley how to run his program.
*Yes, I know Darin Erstad's Huskers have a better shot at the World Series than the Cubs. LET ME HAVE THIS.