Now that South Carolina has won their second straight College World Series, we now enter into the slowest two months of the local sports season. There's pretty much nothing going on, except for the Cox Classic golf tournament in about a month. (And that, even more so than the CWS, seems to be more party than competition.) So what's the final assessment? The new stadium is a rousing success. It looks great on TV, especially with the bleachers filled. The players love it, the fans love it. Even many of the old "Save Rosenblatt" crew realizes it was the right decision.
No doubt about it, TD Ameritrade Park plays bigger than Rosenblatt. That's not an indictment of either park, it's what the character of the ballpark is going to be. And as South Carolina proved in the clutch, defense and small-ball can win games. Those bases-loaded escapes against Virginia on Friday night and Florida on Monday night were amazing. The only change I'd consider is moving the fences in a few feet, and adding two rows of seating in the bleachers. Fan interference would be possible, but one of the "character" aspects of Rosenblatt was watching fans reaching over the fence. And after the blown home run call, it might make more sense than having a fence to confuse the umpires.
One little aside: I would likely find the whole "Ameritragedy" a heck of a lot funnier if it hadn't been created by bored members of the press who watched the storms blow in (literally) from the safety of the press box on June 20th. It was just so, um, inconvenient.
It'll be interesting to see how Russell Wilson and Wisconsin adapt to each other. Wilson may be experienced, but he only has five weeks to study the playbook before fall camp begins. Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst has to figure out how much of the offense to try to force on Wilson. If there's one position on the football field that is difficult to change systems with, it's quarterback. I'm not suggesting Sam Keller is the poster child for quarterback transfers, but I would suggest that it's awfully easy to make Wilson's head swim if Wisconsin tries to do too much. Remember, Chryst can't really work with Wilson until August.
That being said, Wilson probably has far more upside than Jon Budmayr, Joe Brennan, or Joel Stave for this season, so it's probably a chance worth taking for Wisconsin. But let's not forget that Wilson only completed 58% of his passes and threw 14 interceptions in an offense he knew either.
Color me unimpressed with the Big Ten Network's "Welcome to Nebraska" programming extravaganza this weekend. I have no problem with showing the 1995 and 1998 Orange Bowls as part of it; those are great to show. But every day? Then padding it with the HuskerVision season highlight videos every day? Reruns of reruns? Really? How about adding in some other great Nebraska performances? How about the 2000 Fiesta Bowl? Where's the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, for crying out loud? The Game of the Century: 1971 Nebraska/Oklahoma?
Even some classic Nebraska/Big Ten matchups would be good. 1995 Nebraska/Michigan State or 1999 Nebraska/Iowa? The Big Ten should have the rights to show those games; they were televised under Big Ten contracts. And more 2010 games would be good as well. I like showing the Missouri game, especially since Missouri's administration pushed so hard for a Big Ten invitation. What about the Washington game in Seattle? Oklahoma State? BTN has been showing games from last season for much of the last couple of weeks, so this would fit in well.
Not that I don't mind watching Nebraska beat Miami...just that I thought we would see more.