Monday, November 28, 2011

Silly Season of Idle Speculation

Now that the regular season in football is over, we're now into a silly season...especially since reporters (like us fans) planned on having a game this Saturday. Nature abhors a vacuum, so into the void comes idle speculation. Take this "gotcha" from Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald:
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini at an August booster event: "We're not playing around here for second place. Our coaches should be expected to win. You guys put the pieces in place for me to do that."

Pelini in November when asked what there is to play for after being eliminated from title contention: "You compete. It's not always about trophies."

Makes you wonder what the NU fans who agreed over the summer to rent 20 suites at Lucas Oil Stadium for this week's Big Ten championship game think.
Well, what do you expect Pelini to say? Nebraska should be playing for a Big Ten championship.  I think everyone would agree with that as the goal for the season. But once the Big Ten championship slipped away, what else is there to do? Call off the rest of the season? Call out the executioner?  Nope, you pull yourself off the carpet, and continue to compete. Should you be disappointed in the season?  To some extent, yes. Nebraska didn't meet expectations.  But Nebraska did win nine games in 2011, and has a chance to win ten. That's a fairly decent season by most accounts.

Then came the report about Bo Pelini talking to Ohio State from WTVN-AM talk show host Jeff Rapp this afternoon. It was quickly followed by denials from Pelini and Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne. That led to a Twitter spat between KOZN-AM's Mike'l Severe, Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald, and Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star.  So what's to make of the whole brouhaha? Stop and think about it, and apply your smell test to it.  Did someone from Ohio State talk to Bo Pelini?  Possibly.  But stop and think what "talk" means.  Embattled Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary "talked" to Armen Keteyian of CBS...but it was hardly an interview.  In fact, it was hardly a conversation.  But he did say that he didn't have anything to say about the situation.

Same thing here.  Someone from Ohio State very well might have contacted Bo Pelini.  Bo could have simply said something like "Aren't you hiring Urban Meyer?" and ended the conversation there...and that would have been a "contact".  Didn't mean any discussion of substance occurred or that Bo Pelini "interviewed" with Ohio State?

Am I being naive?  Perhaps. But use a "smell" test on this. Even though Bo Pelini is an Ohio State alum, why would he interview with Ohio State when the Buckeyes pursuit of Urban Meyer has been the worst kept secret in college football?  Just doesn't make sense.

And that's what we get now that the regular season is over.  Can we get a bowl bid lined up quickly so that we have something meaningful worth discussing?


Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how Barfy conveniently forgot his comment after the Fresno State game that the winner of the Nebraska-Iowa game would be playing in the motor city bowl?

I feel bad for Tom Shatel. This has to be beyond a shadow of a doubt the worst collection of talent he has been associated with since he was the beat writer for Kansas State.

Anonymous said...

Here is the direct quote from Lee. Same bowl different sponsor.

If Iowa and Nebraska aren't careful, that ballyhooed rivalry game the day after Thanksgiving will be for leftover pasta and a bid to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.