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  1. 2010 Aug 26

    Husker Heartbeat 8/26: Helu, Big Ten Divisions and Cute Pac-10 Wives


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    *Barry Alvarez says Wisconsin and Iowa are in Big Ten different divisions. So scrap the geographic element. The only question now is: Which team will be Nebraska's cross-divsional rival?

    *The mercurial Roy Helu talks about taking one for the team.

    *Former Nebraska players are helping the fledging UFL Omaha Nighthawks create a buzz.

    *There are a lot of cute coaches' wives in the Pac-10.

    *Should college football leave the NCAA? AOL Fanhouse thinks so.

    *USC's Dillon Baxter lied about teams contacting him after the Trojans' sanctions were announced.

    *Jenn Brown replaces Erin Andrews on ESPN's Thursday Night Football. We approved.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, roy helu, big ten, pac 10, football, omaha nighthawks

  2. 2010 Jun 17

    Husker Heartbeat 6/17: Alvarez, Big Ten, More Big 12, Great Lakes and Pac-10 South


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    Cool? Cool!

    *Barry Alvarez was pushing Nebraska for the Big Ten since January.

    *Time to figure out Big Ten scheduling for 2011.

    *Meanwhile, in the Big 12, there appears to be no clear idea on just how that penalty money will work.

    *The Top 12 moments in Big 12 history.

    *NU should improve its recruiting in the Great Lakes with a move to the Big Ten.

    *Utah heads to the Pac-10 where it will join Colorado in the Pac-12 South.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, big ten expansion, big 12, barry alvarez, pac 10, colorado

  3. 2010 Jun 04

    Commentary: Big 12 Drowning in Pettiness, Paranoia and Pollyannas


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Heidi Klum landed in Kansas City Thursday night. Wore a red mini and talked a German blue streak all the way to the Intercontinental Hotel. Hosting a special episode of “Project Runway” wasn’t in her contract.

    But it’s the Big 12. It’s Division I football. One day you’re in. The next day you’re out.

    What. A. Mess. The Big 12 meetings have devolved into a scene from Cannes, with rumors, innuendo, cryptic comments and canceled press conferences becoming the order of the day. Naomi Watts didn’t crash the party Thursday - if only! - but Chip Brown did, and he turned the joint upside down with his Orangebloods.com report that the Pac-10 appeared “prepared” to invite Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado.

    Why? Because the league is a disorganized nightmare of rogue actors, loose lips and malcontents that couldn’t stay on the same page to save their life. While the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-10 glide along with relative calm, hatching their plans behind several sets of closed doors, the Big 12 administrators shoot off their mouths, panic like ninnies or allow the media, clever as it is, to coax them into answering questions they’re apparently not smart enough to answer. Consider Colorado AD Mike Bohn’s bewildering confirmation of Brown’s story to the Boulder Daily Camera:

    "We're led to believe that that may be the case, but, again, there are so many different reports and different dialogues and different developments within our league and outside our league that prevents me from being able to predict what will happen.”

    Huh? Who? Wha? Next time, Mike? Try a “no comment.”

    You’d think he’d know that. You’d think that the Big 12 brass could emerge from these meetings with enough ego and confidence to walk briskly by a hedge of reporters. The Big Ten brass did that. The Pac-10 brass probably will, too.

    But in KC, a strange insecurity appears to reign. It’s boffo business for the assembled media, which, like Bruce Willis in “Unbreakable,” can just feel dissension emanating from the walls. They read facial expressions, weigh vocal intonations and parse phrases with a scalpel. That’s what journalists do for your reading, listening and viewing pleasure. Analysis paralysis. Definition perdition.

    Big 12 commish Dan Beebe got blasted for canceling his Thursday presser, but it was the right move - for Beebe. He spent most Tuesday and Wednesday expanding on his gifts as a negotiator and the thriving state of the league. Since, on Thursday, he knew he couldn’t peddle that BS, he chose not to serve anything. Wise play. Not only is Beebe not in charge, he could be the last guy to know the league future.

    Such is the firestorm one tiny report can begin.

    Sure, Brown’s story has elements of truth in it. The Pac-10 could be prepared to do any number of things. I’m prepared to find the nearest low-lying area on the side of the road in case of a tornado. That doesn’t mean I’m listening to Jay Cardosi, or whoever runs weather TV in Omaha these days, 24/7.

    Who cares what the Pac-10 does - or what it’s prepared to do? Brown made the rounds, sold a few subscriptions, and bully to him. That’s the game these days: Quote multiple sources “close to the situation,” speculate on the back end, and spend the rest of the shooting the bull on radio and TV interviews.

    But think, Husker fan, as you calm your nerves over runny eggs and toast this morning. Why does Texas want to run its Bevo to Pac-10, and forfeit every last ounce of control it has - plus every cent of money it ever put into creating its own Longhorn Sports Network - for the sake of having a place to land? UT will always have a place to land. It’s the John Mayer of college football. There isn’t a girl in Division I who wouldn’t invite Texas to bed.

    Would UT, all of the sudden, decide a mega-conference is its best play? Of course not.

    So what’s the report really about? Leverage. Texas has an out plan that reduces travel and maximizes fan interest - there’s probably a half-million Longhorn fans living in Arizona - and if the Pac-10 is sincerely so dumb as to start a 16-team league - where there’s scant evidence it would work - then the Horns are promising to deliver the Big 12 South, so to speak. Because if UT goes, A&M does too, and OU and OSU don’t have much choice.

    But that’s not what Texas wants. It wants the Big 12. And Nebraska in it. Again and again and again it’s said this. And if UT doesn’t go to the Pac-10, OU isn’t going. No way. A&M neither. Their presence in the deal only exists to satiate UT’s travel concerns. They have no chess piece to move. Not yet.

    Texas does. Nebraska does. I’d be damn surprised if Missouri still did, but we can argue about that some other day. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. The Tigers aren’t the TV draw its 7 million sets! would have you believe. Mizzou - and its eight whole Big 12 titles in 14 years - can be replaced. The Huskers’ reputation, winning, overall revenue and national fan base cannot.

    So - what does NU demand? What does UT concede? If the two schools really are aligned as UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said they were two weeks ago, they’ll hash out a solution.

    If not, we’ll see.

    Don’t assume Texas automatically flees to the Pac-10, and don’t think the Pac-10, after screwing up the UT courtship 15 years ago, is going to employ some drop-dead date, either. The Pac-10 doesn’t hold any cards. Texas does.

    And the Longhorns will wait. Perhaps not long. But they’ll wait to see if Nebraska sticks in the Big 12, or makes inroads with the Big Ten.

    Maybe NU wants the Big Ten. And until this week, I would have questioned the move. The Big Ten isn’t as rosy as you’d like to think. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

    But the Big 12 is plum immature. Colorado is perfectly indifferent to the concept of success. Missouri has an entitlement complex. Hell if I know all the sordid details at Kansas, but it sorely needs a come-to-Jesus moment. A&M is swimming in the red. Iowa State chugs along like a Yugo. Texas has a ton of irons in the fire; one day, UT will get burned.

    There’s too many interests, too many old grudges - happily fueled by the media - about how the league formed and an unhealthy obsession, if you ask me, with money. A wad of cash hasn’t done squat for most of the programs in the Big Ten. There’s still one good way to build a football program from ground up, and it’s not with venture capital and fancy facilities alone. Too many Big 12 programs bought into the money myth, and it has their heads spinning. The media’s too. Consider that Mizzou’s whole position on conference realignment is built on something completely unrelated to its program success: Television sets. Is that how we measure athletic departments now?

    Yes and no. Marketing matters. Exposure matters. Media matters. But the basic fundamentals of loyalty, common sense, steadiness and toughness occasionally elude this young league of impressive-but-impertinent administrators.

    The Big 12 really should work. Heck, it has worked. So why are a couple “sources close to the situation” threatening to rip it apart?

    Tags: big 12, pac 10 expansion, harvey perlman

  4. 2010 Jun 03

    As the Big 12 Turns...(2nd Update Friday Afternoon)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Yeah, we’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in Big 12 country. Now we’ll try to make some sense of it, and decide whether we’re witnessing conference history - or another opening of Al Capone’s tomb.

    Here’s rough timeline, with a bit of editorial comment thrown in for good measure. We hope that’ll make it…a little more fun.


    1. The Lincoln Journal-Star reports Friday morning that Osborne has called a mid-morning staff meeting back in Lincoln to apprise folks there of the latest conference alignment chatter. Since T.O. is no longer in KC, he's in Lincoln, so it may be an informal "let's have a Pepsi" chat. Or it could be more than that.

    Meanwhile, Chip Brown keeps making the radio rounds, insisting that Nebraska could be left out in the cold because the Big Ten hasn't decided whether to pull the trigger on NU (or Mizzou). How he'd know that - any more than any reporters up here would - is unknown. Since Brown's tied into the Big 12 South generally and Texas specifically, his insight here isn't as compelling as his Pac-10 news, which is more or less driven by UT's interest.

    Frank The Tank, a Big Ten blogger who writes eloquently enough to make you think he knows more than he lets on, seems to think NU is a lock for the Big Ten.

    2. The Columbus Dispatch busts out a story that the Big Ten contacted Texas in April, and UT responded by appearing to slag on Texas Tech, which may be dragged along with the Longhorns where they might go.

    3. Dan Beebe appears before the media and makes precious few definitive statements, reverting back to optimistic palaver from two days ago:

    "First and foremost, we had very productive meetings with a lot of candid discussion. And I'm very encouraged by the process we've set forth to ensure the solidification of this conference. Based on the conversations we've had, I think we're in a very good position."

    Well, good.

    4. The league's board of directors vote to keep the Big 12 football title game in Dallas through 2013 and the Big 12 men's basketball tournament in Kansas City through 2014. That works for us, but most Nebraska fans seem unhappy with the game being in Cowboys Stadium year after year.


    1. Chip Brown, a former Dallas Morning News reporter who now massages his considerable Texas sources for Rivals.com, delivers, completely out of the blue, a report that the Pac-10, which meets this weekend in San Francisco, will invite six Big 12 teams - UT, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado - to create a mega-conference.

    Brown cites “multiple sources close to the situation” but adds that Pac-10 officials wouldn’t return phone calls. Most of the column is rampant speculation about why the Pac-10 would make the bold gambit (a sports network with Texas TV markets, of course!) but precious little as to why that same league would overreach by selecting an academic outcast in Tech and a rotting corpse of an athletic department in CU. Brown’s “sources” couldn’t elaborate on that, apparently. He later appears on a number of TV and radio outlets, sounding less like a sage, and more like a guy rattling off a potential move that, in his words, had a “50/50” chance of happening.

    2. From there, reporters covering in the Big 12 meetings - dull thus far, aside from Dan Beebe’s circular, long, pedantic answers to questions - start working the hallways, drumming up whatever corroboration they can find. Initially, there wasn’t much. NU athletic director Tom Osborne and chancellor Harvey Perlman both declined comment. Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione hadn’t heard about the report.

    3. Then - bing! - late in the afternoon, Colorado AD Mike Bohn, speaking to the Boulder Daily Camera, says this: "The longer that we were together in Kansas City it appeared that that rumor or speculation did have some validity to it.” And this: “We're led to believe that that may be the case, but, again, there are so many different reports and different dialogues and different developments within our league and outside our league that prevents me from being able to predict what will happen."

    In a word: Huh? Not that we want to turn this into a rhetoric class, but Bohn appeared to confirm a growing validity of a rumor that led him to believe the Pac-10 might invite CU, which was the rumor in the first place?

    4. The Pac-10 finally releases a statement: "While many interesting scenarios have been suggested in numerous news reports, around the country, we remain focused on a thorough evaluation process that examines all of the options for increasing the value of the conference for our member institutions, our student athletes and our fans. We have not developed any definitive plans. We have not extended any invitations for expansion and we do not anticipate any such decisions in the near term."
    Reporters immediately seize upon the phrase “near term.” How many days does it that? Is “near” more than three days? What does Grover think? Then they pick apart the word “anticipate.” How much wiggle room there?

    5. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe cancels his scheduled press conference, suggesting instead it will be held after all meetings end on Friday. He sneaks on to a back elevator, like NU defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove used to do, to dodge any difficult questions.

    Message boards debate what his silence must mean.

    There’s more machinations and other speculative nonsense out there for you to chew on, if that’s what you really want to do, but that’s the gist of a strange Thursday, all triggered by a single column that has zero sources on the record, and whose anonymous sources didn’t appear to include the conference, you know, actually doing the inviting.

    So what’s your take? File it below…we’ll continue to update Friday based on news when it trickles out of KC.

    Tags: big 12, pac 10 expansion

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