Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Night Beer: Martinez Speaks, Fiesta Fiasco, and Durango's Facelift

A few random thoughts from this week:

Taylor Martinez finally broke his public silence this week. Whether or not you believe why he spoke, or why he didn't speak last season is irrelevant. It is a sign of maturity, of a quarterback growing into his role. I have no reason to doubt that Martinez can be a leader. Read that Fox Sports profile of Martinez from last October again. This is a kid that helped his father rebuild his life, both professionally and personally. So when Tim Beck talked about wanting a leader to be his quarterback, I didn't see that as statement that Martinez was out, but rather a challenge to Martinez to be that leader.

The rumor mill underneath seems to indicate that Martinez is growing into that role and taking command of the team. That's a good thing. I don't know for sure what happened in November with Martinez, but my guess is that the injuries sapped his confidence, and the quarterback we saw in the Big XII Championship game and Holiday Bowl was a ghost of what we saw earlier in the season. I think he's got the stuff to be a pretty darn good quarterback when healthy and confident. I personally think that if Beck can simplify the offense so he makes the reads like Zac Lee did last season combined with his incredible burst, look out.

Oh, and if you want something to back it up, check out this Cal Bears' blog that tabs Martinez as the fifth best quarterback in college football next season.  Better than Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State, if you notice.

If you've read "Death to the BCS", you really have to wonder how the bowl system can possibly survive after the Fiesta Bowl was exposed like it was this week. I think the key players in college football have to ask themselves: is this really what's best for college football?  Granted, the NCAA probably has their own skeletons in their own closet (namely, how does Indianapolis get guaranteed mens and women's Final Fours every five years?), but in the end, the money goes back to the schools. Where do the profits from bowl games go?

Courtesty UNO Athletics
Tonight, UNO revealed new logos for their athletic programs. Call  me unimpressed.  It's my understanding that the "O" that was used in recent years had copyright issues with the University of Miami, so it's been retired. Fine, I guess.  The new O seems weak to me, though it seems to work when accompanied by something else. Sadly, UNO is dumping the old Durango for a new steer head, which as far as I'm concerned, is minor league thinking. CNBC's Darren Rovell has suggested that minor league teams change their names every few seasons. Change the name and logo, and some people will buy new stuff rather than wear the old stuff that hasn't worn out. (For example, look at what happened to Omaha's former AAA baseball team name when they moved out of town and assumed the identity of Sarpy County.)

Problem with that thinking is that college sports are all about tradition. And frankly, UNO has enough changes going through the program right now that they don't need any more disruption. The football and wrestling programs were discontinued.  Programs moving to D-1 and a new conference. A lot of turmoil in recent weeks. So why not hold onto something from the past to help link the old with the new.  Wrap the new "O" with the older Durango to act as a transition.

Some of this change was necessary.  UNO had to go D-1.  UNO apparently had to replace the Hurricane O.  Fine.  But at some point, change just to change doesn't make sense. And this meaner steer simply doesn't look as good as the old Durango.

Look at how Nebraska's logos have evolved over the years.  The script Huskers from the 80's got merged with the "Iron" N in the early 90's, and remained for about 10 to 15 years.  Then the script Huskers disappeared and the block N got stronger.  It was a gradual evolution, and you never knew that things were changing. It was evolutionary change and didn't make anything you owned obsolete.

But you know what... in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter all that much. I'll still wear my jerseys with the older Durango on it and cheer on UNO hockey, whether I like the new logo or not. Eventually, they'll look dated, but for now, it still works.

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