Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday Night Beer: A Nighttime Spring Game?

A few quick thoughts before we endure an Arctic plunge:

Tom Shatel had a couple of interesting takes in his column today in the Omaha World-Herald. First of all, he says that Bo Pelini is considering moving the spring game to a 6 p.m. evening kickoff on April 19th. A night game for the Spring game? Well, it might up the atmosphere a little as the fans will arrive slightly more lubricated. The weather could be really fine, but I also remember a mid-April blizzard back in the middle 90's. If the weather is dicey, some fans might just decide to stay home. But they are apparently thinking big, hoping to have a sellout. Could be fun if the weather holds.

Shatel was more concerned about whether the Husker spring game would revert back to the 1's vs. 1's format. If he saw Big Red Wrapup on NET this evening, he would have heard that the staff is leaning in that direction. That would be a wonderful thing since it might actually give the staff and fans a better gauge on where this team is than the farce of the last four years.

Shatel also talked to LSU athletic director (and former baseball coach) Skip Bertman at the BCS title game last week. Bertman indicated that as soon as the Omaha Royals started pushing for a downtown stadium, that sealed the fate of Rosenblatt Stadium with the NCAA. Bertman told Shatel that Omaha had done as much with Rosenblatt as can be done, and it's time to build new.

But alas, Omaha's convention authority are doing their darndest to get the College World Series out of Omaha. The president of the authority quit the ballpark commission today, apparently to protest the use of the Qwest Center parking lots for the new ballpark. KMTV-Channel 3 reports that it looks like this may lead to lawsuits between the city's convention authority and the city itself. So let me see if I've got it straight. You've got the NCAA demanding a new stadium near hotels and restaurants. (In other words, downtown Omaha.) Meanwhile, you've got a bunch of South Omaha residents hiring Kevin Costner so that they can continue to rent out their yards for t-shirt sales and parking. Not to mention a bunch of alleged city fathers protecting their own parking lot. Other than Mayor Fahey, is there anybody in this town that wants to keep the College World Series in Omaha? Right now, it's hard to see anybody.

Let's face it. MECA's issues with a ballpark near the Qwest Center are more about political posturing than anything. Limiting the capability of expanding the Qwest Center? Well, MECA should worry about turning a profit on the convention center first before worrying about expanding it. Parking? Well, one solution would be to build a parking garage or two on the existing Qwest Center parking lots.

I see the President of the University of Georgia is proposing an eight-team playoff for college football after not getting selected to the BCS title game this season. I like the idea of an eight team playoff. I don't like trying to use the existing bowl games for it, though. Sure, LSU fans will pack the Superdome and USC fans will pack the Rose Bowl, but how many fans will rush to New Years Day bowl games knowing that if they win, there will be another, even more important semifinal game to travel to a week later? And then a potential championship game the week after that? There is a sentimental tie to the bowls, but the bowls aren't practical - or fair - if you are having a playoff. Using the bowls favors Pac-10 and SEC teams where the bowls become essentially home games for those conferences. If someone is going to get a home game, at least earn it on the field. That means that places like Lincoln, Ann Arbor, Columbus, and State College have to be included as potential hosts for the opening rounds of the playoffs. It's fairer to those schools, and will make much more money since all of the stadiums I suggest seat more fans than three of the four "BCS" bowl stadiums. More seats means more money. And if Nebraska had to play Miami at the Orange Bowl all those times, there's no reason why a Florida shouldn't have to come north to play.

No comments: