Last week, I suggested that if UNO hockey starts "finding a way to make some of those shots quality opportunities, this group could start scoring in bunches." Well, that was the story of the weekend for the Mavs...with UNO sweeping Northern Michigan this weekend. A badly needed sweep and more importantly, a shot of confidence. Crisp passing and relentless pressure were the key, not to mention a little bit more discretion in taking shots. Not just tossing it on net, but rather taking a shot with a great chance at pushing through a rebound. Chad Purcell says UNO could be "scary good" down the stretch. Don't know if that's sunshine being blown by the local beat writer or not, but I've thought this team would hit their stride late in the season with the reputation of Dean Blais.
The next three weeks are key weekends for UNO hockey, with series at Notre Dame, then home games against Ohio State and Michigan. UNO's campaign to sell out the Friday night game is well underway, and the "Hockey Night in Omaha" promotion should ensure a large crowd for the Saturday night game against Michigan
Tom Shatel got a little more information about the new UNO arena...and found out that it's 8,000 to 9,000 seats, not the 7k that was mentioned last week. Much better. I know the Qwest Center is a little too big for UNO, and it's not on campus, but 7k is way too small for the Omaha market. 8500 or so is probably about right, as long as there's a way to expand it to 10k eventually. If they can find a way to include the Omaha Lancers in the mix, so much the better. I'm sure the Lancers would rather not play in BFE Sarpy County after the lessons they learned in Council Bluffs.
Speaking of BFE, I had to drive out to Papillion last week, so I decided to drive past the new Sarpy County ballpark location, and all I have to say is: My goodness, but this location is even FURTHER out of the way than I thought. Close to Papillion, yes. But I checked my watch and set my odometer as I passed 126th & Highway 370 and headed home. 19 minutes and 15.5 miles later, I was in my West Omaha driveway. I knew I was in trouble when I said "OMG, I'm just now getting to Cabelas?" Yes, it's about 2 minutes closer than TD Ameritrade Park from my house, but for much of the Omaha market, including the West Omaha market, if folks don't like driving to Rosenblatt today, they're not going to BFE Ballpark.
UNO football came out the surprise winner in the Bronson Marsh sweepstakes after late interest from Nebraska and Kansas. It's hard to turn down scholarship money.
Nebraska basketball had another rough finish last night against Missouri after battling them long and hard for the first 30 minutes or so on the road. The big surprise is that Christian "Bratwurst" Standhardinger sat out for academic reasons last night. I still think Doc Sadler is trying to get his young players ready to play, and they showed signs last night...but they ain't there yet. Nebraska might have been helped by Missouri looking ahead to Kansas tomorrow night.
With New Orleans' victory over the Vikings tonight, we now await another eight months or so of drama with Brett Favre. Truth be told, I take a little different spin on this. The more this situation goes on, the more I'm convinced that the Vikings and Brad Childress has been much of the instigator here. Note what the Philadelphia Daily News said about Childress' need for a quarterback, and how he pursued Favre throughout the last year. Is Favre done now? Hard to say; he certainly took some abuse tonight. But even if Favre says he's done, nobody will believe it until Favre is sitting at home in Mississippi next September.
Finally, an apology to some of you. I had noticed that comments had dried up in recent weeks, but never bothered to dig into it. Turns out my spam filter started rejecting comments several weeks ago...and I never noticed it until last week. I went back and approved the old comments, and will be keeping a closer eye on things in the future.