Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunday Night Dessert: ThunderStruck

Steve Sipple spotted a familiar name in Friday's official Lancaster Court records: "Collins, Thunder G., 28, transient, two counts, 30 days’ jail. Also: violate protection order, 45 days’ jail.” Remember him? He was the junior college all-American who was going to be the next great Nebraska I-back. Husker Information Minister Jim Rose spent the entire summer debating whether his theme song should be AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" or Garth Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls".

Except that he wasn't the next great Nebraska I-back. I remember listening to the Frank Solich post-game call-in show after the San Jose State game, and somebody called in and asked "Is Thunder going to start next week (against Notre Dame)? after gaining two yards on two carries. Yep...the recruiting hype meter was in full force with Collins, who ended up rushing for 763 yards and five touchdowns over two and a half seasons. Since leaving the football field, he's been in and out of trouble. He still holds out hope for playing professional football, hoping to play for the Omaha Beef indoor football team later this spring.

Look for Tim Beck to be introduced Tuesday as Nebraska's running backs coach. Beck grew up around the corner from Bo Pelini's childhood home in Youngstown, Ohio, and is also a former teammate of his at Cardinal Mooney High. Recruitniks should be relieved to know he's well connected in Texas. Pelini also says he'll introduce a new strength coach Tuesday as well.

Pelini right now is concentrating on tomorrow night's BCS Championship game against Ohio State. My prediction? LSU 38, Ohio State 10. I didn't think Ohio State deserved a BCS title game shot when it was announced, and while I've soften my thoughts a little, I still think other teams deserved a shot. Why have I softened my opinion? Well, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech laid huge eggs in their bowl games for starters. (Georgia still deserved the shot more than the Buckeyes...) I still like LSU in this game, and certainly could beat Ohio State as badly as Florida did last year. But I give Ohio State a better chance than I did a couple of weeks ago. For one thing, I think Ohio State is working the motivation factor really hard. Certainly motivation was a huge factor in several bowl game upsets, such as Florida/Michigoon or Oklahoma/West Virginia. Not to mention Kansas/Virginia Tech.

But I also look at the bowl records of the respective conferences: SEC 6-2, Big 10/11 3-4. That still gives the advantage to the SEC and the Tigers. LSU has already played and defeated several teams of Ohio State's caliber: Virginia Tech and Florida, and beaten more decent teams (add South Carolina, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee) than Ohio State (Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois) played all season long. Huge advantage: LSU. Geaux Tigers.

UNO hockey certainly started 2008 on the right foot, sweeping Western Michigan 6-3 yesterday and 4-2 today on ESPNU. Jerad Kaufman was solid in net all weekend and seems to have taken a firm grasp on the #1 goaltender spot. It appears that UNO is cutting down on the number of defensive breakdowns, but they'll need to totally eliminate them this weekend. That's because #1 Miami is coming to town. If they can find a way to steal some points this weekend, it helps dig them out of the hole they dug in the first half of the season. Quietly, senior Bryan Marshall is tied for second nationally with 31 points, and is the nation's leader in assists.

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