Monday, March 07, 2011

Monday Night Beer: Thanksgiving Friday Is A "Tradition" I Could Live Without

Earlier this afternoon, my Twitter feed blew up with the news that the "tradition continues" with the Nebraska/Iowa matchup being moved up to the day after Thanksgiving. Frankly, I'm not sure what "tradition" they are referring to, except for the "tradition" that ABC tried to create with the formation of the Big XII conference. Nebraska and Iowa isn't a tradition, and frankly, Nebraska playing on the day after Thanksgiving in the Big XII was about as authentic as the original Astroturf.

The tradition wasn't playing on Thanksgiving Friday...the tradition was Nebraska playing Oklahoma, and frankly, it wasn't until the 1980's that these games started to be occasionally played Thanksgiving weekend, let alone on a Friday. That "Game of the Century" was actually played on Thanksgiving Day 1971. The first Nebraska/Oklahoma game I got to attend was that Billy Sims-a-fumbling, Tom Ruud-destroying-Kelly Phelps classic played on Veterans Day 1978. Sure, Nebraska occasionally played the Sooners on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but it was hardly a tradition. The matchup was the tradition.

ABC tried to make it a tradition by forcing the Colorado "rivalry" down our throats by moving it to the Friday after Thanksgiving. Why?  Because it filled a hole in the television schedule, not because it was a tradition. They tried to bundle it together in a doubleheader with Texas and Texas A&M, who resented having to move their game from their traditional Thanksgiving night slot.

Bottom line is that unless Oklahoma gets an invitation to join the Big Ten, that tradition isn't coming back. Moving to the Big Ten means accepting a whole bunch of new traditions, and frankly, I don't want to hear Iowa fan complaining about Nebraska "forcing" this tradition on Iowa. I've only heard one good reason to play the Nebraska/Iowa game on Friday, and that's because Saturday that weekend also features Michigan/Ohio State and Penn State/Wisconsin.  I don't buy the other arguments for moving the game; between people who have to work that day and the number of people who get sidetracked by demands to go shopping, Saturday is a much better day to play the game.

Speaking of which, please, I'm putting my foot down:  Nebraska vs. Iowa is NOT Farmageddon. Iowa State and Kansas State already have dibs on that name. If you really think this matchup needs a name, at least come up with something original.

KOZN's Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe had a field day with Missouri asking for bids for Big XII North Championship rings. Not "co-champions", but "champions".  Kind of funny considering that back in 2006, Missouri fan mocked the idea of having a division trophy. Now, they get rings for getting close to a division championship. The whole idea of "division champion" got seriously warped when Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M all were awarded "division champion" trophies. When five of twelve teams get the trophy, it's pretty much meaningless.

(Oh, and before someone brings it up, the uproar after last November's Colorado game wasn't over the trophy, but rather the unsubstantiated claims of "threats" by Dan Beebe...)

Wisconsin hockey blogger Chuck Schwartz announced his WCHA coach of the year, and sure enough, he didn't name Mike Eaves after all, but rather Denver's George Gwozdecky. So much for that "lock", eh? While I think UNO's Dean Blais deserved it over Gwozdecky, I can't really argue against the pick either. The tipping point was likely not wanting to recognize the UNO blogger that called him out a month earlier.

Speaking of UNO hockey, I get a very real sense that this weekend's series could very much be a sudden-death scenario for UNO's season.  Beat Bemidji State at home this weekend, and they advance not only to the WCHA Final Five in Minneapolis but the NCAA Tournament the week after.  Lose, and UNO fans have to sweat out a week on the bubble.

I noticed that the WCHA put an ad in today's World-Herald to encourage UNO fans to buy tickets to the WCHA championships next weekend. That's all well and good, but if you are going to buy an ad for the Omaha newspaper, how about putting a UNO sweater in the mix. I see Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin, Denver, North Dakota, and I believe St. Cloud State jerseys...but no UNO bull-head?  C'mon guys. Maybe that's how you advertise in the Star-Tribune, but that's not going to be terribly effective in the Omaha market.

No comments: