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Happy Birthday, Livy!!
By the way, John, your custodianship of the Oscar trophy is drawing to an end. Can you arrange to get it to Tristen, so she can display it next to all her dance trophies?
Nebraska heritage meets Big Ten tradition
The beasts were enormous, frighteningly magnificent. Mammoths and rhinos once roamed the plains of western Nebraska, and the lineage of these monsters, complete with fearsome life-size replicas, is on display here in a small museum at the corner of 14th and Vine.
Oh, and also a block away. At Memorial Stadium.
Sure, the history housed there is a little more recent, but it's no less revered by the state's 1.8 million inhabitants. The exhibits are labeled "Rimington" and "Rozier" and "Suh," and bespeak a bygone era -- and one Nebraskans believe may be dawning again.
"We love our history at Nebraska, no question," said Tom Osborne, the courtly athletic director who doubles as an icon of Cornhuskers history himself. "That's what made this a little bit difficult."
He means leaving the Big 12, not joining the Big Ten, which the Cornhuskers do this season. Nebraska has played Kansas in each of the past 105 seasons, the longest continuous streak in college football history -- and that's not even the rivalry that Huskers fans regret leaving behind.
"When the Big 12 was formed and we lost that annual game with Oklahoma, it did put things in a little different complexion. It wasn't why we left, but it was a factor that was sort of in the background," Osborne said of the annual Oklahoma-Nebraska showdown, which was played for 70 consecutive seasons until 1998. "Had we still had that annual game, we might have made a little different choice."
Instead, the choice was to move all that tradition, that 311-game sellout streak that dates to 1962, the "Blackshirts" defense and the five national championships and three Heisman Trophies, and become the 12th member of the Big Ten.
A new challenge
It's like they were meant to be part of it all along.
"Everybody seems very excited about seeing new venues and people. And I think they do sense that the Big Ten is a good fit for us in terms of culture," said Osborne, who scrapped his plans for a Cornhusker Cable Network in order to join the new league. "The way we see things, and do things, is probably more similar to the Big Ten. Every business, every family, every league has its own culture, and we feel pretty good about what we see here."
Of course, he doesn't have to coach the football team anymore. Bo Pelini does, in the shadow of Osborne's 255 victories and 84 percent winning record, and while he supports the move like everyone else in Lincoln, the coach admits it has made for a long offseason.
"We're the only team in our league that has to prepare for 11 new opponents this year," said Pelini, himself an Ohio State alum. [Nebraska's only repeat opponent from last year is Washington, in a nonconference game.] "We started watching film, putting our work in, getting ready, last February. Our staff had to learn a whole new league, and it wasn't easy, but they did a good job of it."
Little will be easy for Nebraska this season, beginning with the schedule. The Huskers' first conference game, at Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 1, is already being touted as the most anticipated Big Ten game in history, outside of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. Nebraska follows that challenge by welcoming Ohio State to Lincoln the following week, and the Huskers also take road trips to Penn State, Michigan -- and Minnesota.
Might that matchup of the league's westernmost campuses, scheduled for Oct. 22 at TCF Bank Stadium, evolve into an annual grudge match? "Minnesota has not talked to us about it, but it could very well be," Osborne said. "We'll play them every year. So who knows? It may happen."
Of course, a rivalry requires competitiveness, which the Gophers haven't demonstrated lately. Though Minnesota leads the all-time series with Nebraska 29-20-2 -- only Oklahoma and Missouri have beaten the Cornhuskers more frequently -- the Gophers have lost the past 14 games, dating back to 1960, and have surrendered 111 unanswered points.
Tough on defense
For now, the Huskers will settle for a trophy game with Iowa, to be played each year on the day after Thanksgiving, as the Oklahoma rivalry, and later the Colorado game, always was.
"Frankly, the [Colorado] rivalry wasn't really my favorite. People started telling Nebraska jokes that week on television stations, and some of it came from people involved in the program," Osborne said. "It got to the point where some of our fans wouldn't go out there to the game because of the way they were treated. ... But I think people will be pleased with they way they are treated in Lincoln. We have a tradition of being very hospitable to visiting fans."
Not so to visiting football teams, though. Nebraska had the nation's top defense just two seasons ago, and while the offense fizzled at times last season, the Blackshirts appear formidable once more. "It's the best defense I've ever played on," said defensive tackle Jared Crick, and while he is one of the biggest reasons that's true, he's not alone.
Alfonso Dennard "is as good a corner as there is in the country," Pelini bragged. Linebacker Lavonte David, who broke the school record for tackles last season, "scares me sometimes the way he gets in on every play," Crick said. "It's great knowing he's always back there."
That defense has made Nebraska the favorite to become the first Legends Division champion in history. But even if the Huskers don't dominate from the start, they are already delighted with their new home.
"When I think of the Big Ten, I think of class. I think of tremendous tradition. I think of integrity. That's what the Big Ten has represented for a very long time," Pelini said. "I think it serves as a model for the rest of college football. That's why it's such an honor for us as an institution to become part of it."
Tristen and Teghan helped me make the selections when they were visiting my office last week. Tristen and Teghan both liked the guy with the newspaper best, and Tristen also liked the subway and guy reading a book. These are standard animated gif images, so you can save them (right-click and "save as") for later viewing. Or I can email them to anyone on request. --Gary
Just upped to at least a 6.0. And it was felt up and down the east coast, from Connecticut down to Virginia and as far west as Ohio. No damage reported yet, though lots of buildings in Washington -- Capitol, Pentagon, Union Station among them -- were evacuated. Even to California residents, a 6.0 is a moderately hefty shake -- so to all the easterners who'd never felt one before, this must have been something. Also I imagine very few if any buildings in the east are built to the quake-safety standards required on the west coast, so evacuation and inspection is a wise course. I can't wait to hear the Republicans blame this on Obama. :-) And I guarantee Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry will start talking End Times and Day of Judgement. --Gary
If anyone out there has been tempted to buy the HP Touchpad, you might want to save your money! Even though they are still running commercials for it (the one where the girl holds the Touchpad over her face and sings "Let Me Entertain You"), HP announced today they are discontinuing the Touchpad and no longer supporting it. I have read reviews of the Touchpad calling it a clunky knock-off that does less than the iPad but costs about the same. It was a flop on the store shelves. Individual stores (like Best Buy, for example) dropped the price by $100 and then $200 on their own initiative, and they still wouldn't sell. So you might be tempted by some really good deals on it, but there will be no upgrades and if you ever have to call tech support, no one will be picking up.
The other note is about Amazon.com. This may not be news to you but I was surprised to learn it only yesterday. You know the Wishlist feature, where you can keep a running list of books and items you might buy one day by ticking the little "add to wishlist" box whenever you see something you like. Very handy, right? What I learned yesterday is that your wishlist is easily accessible to anyone who simply types in your email address -- or even just your name. Which I guess is nice if you want to leave hints for Christmas or birthday gifts, but less desirable if you don't want everyone on earth knowing what your interests are. This "feature" can be turned off so your list is private (if you comb the page for the small print that does so), but it defaults to "open to the world." Eff why eye....
Did you hear they are putting in a roundabout at 14th & Superior? One of the bigger ones with the inside lane. Eek. I cannot imagine it there, lots of traffic, semis, etc. Wow, wow, wow.....
Yeah, unless I'm totally not getting the idea about roundabouts, 14th & Superior seems like a bad place for one. --Gary
Our city council has apparently gone crazy for roundabouts. They're popping up all over the place here. Hopefully we'll get used to them, like they have in Clovis, New Mexico. --Gary
No supper tomorrow nite!
I will answer on the bathroom, as Mom can't usually get to her computer during the day because the work guys use that room as a kind of staging area. So the answer is: No, it's not finished yet. Hopefully Mom can provide some details when she sees this. Enjoy the cheese rolls! --Gary
It was tough! --Gary
Your answer was so close that I'm calling it a bulls-eye. You'll see what I mean when I post the answer here on Monday. The lady, by the way, is Mama Cass, of the '60s vocal group the Mamas & the Papas. --Gary
I know! Cracks me up every time I read it. :-) --Gary