Stop Complaining About How the Royals are Dominating All-Star Voting

Today, Major League Baseball released the latest voting totals for the July 14 MLB All-Star Game.  Of the nine positions involved in the American League fan balloting, the Kansas City Royals have the top vote-getter at seven positions.  Right fielder Alex Rios, who is just returning from an injury that kept him out for almost two months is fourth among all outfielders.  Second baseman Omar Infante (and his .221 batting average) are currently in second place, trailing the Astros’ Jose Altuve by 150,000 votes – despite this sentiment from Kansas City media:

Unless something crazy happens, the Royals will have at least five starters as 3B Mike Moustakas, SS Alcides Escobar, C Salvador Perez, CF Lorenzo Cain, and LF Alex Gordon all lead by over a million votes.

There are many national (read:  East Coast) voices who cannot fathom this Royal domination.  In between their alarmist angst, they blame fans excited with “newfound relevance“, click-happy fans voting dozens of time online, and a host of other conspiracy theories that threaten to ruin the sanctity of the All-Star Game.

So what is going on here?

  • First and foremost, the Royals are good.  For most casual baseball fans that is probably a surprising sentence to read*. Perez, Escobar, Cain, and Gordon are among the best at their positions – regardless of league.  Moustakas is having a breakout season and is worthy of the four million plus votes he’s received so far.  The other Royal vote leaders – 1B Eric Hosmer and DH Kendrys Morales – are having strong seasons too.  Even with a recent slump, the Royals are still just a game back in the competitive AL Central and should be considered strong contenders to defend their American League pennant in the postseason.

*Hell, for a lifelong fan like me – who suffered through a 29 year playoff drought filled with bad players, horrible management, and inept front office leadership – the idea of the Royals being good is still surprising…but I’m getting used to it.

  • For the first time, ASG voting is being done exclusively online.  While that eliminates the time-honored tradition of poking chads from a paper ballot with your car keys, it also reduces the inherent advantage that clubs with atop the attendance standings (i.e. Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Rangers, Tigers) tended to have in voting results*.  The Yankees don’t automatically get four starters every year just because they draw 40,000 a game.

*Although, it is worth noting that the Royals current sit 10th in MLB (and fourth in AL) in attendance – easily their highest position in years.  When the Royals hosted the All Star Game in 2012 (and ASG ticket priority was given to season ticket holders) the Royals were 25th in attendance.  So even if they still used paper ballots, the Royals would probably be doing all right.

  • With voting online, the Royals have wisely taken advantage by promoting voting in the stadium and on social media.  The club regularly holds drawings and giveaways where the requirement of entry is proving that you voted the maximum 35 times.  Are other clubs not doing this?  Are Royals fans the only ones capable of getting online?  Do we need to send some old AOL CDs to Detroit?

*   *   *

Personally, I’m quite amused by the “anti-Royals fervor” going on as a result of these voting totals.  If you want to fill out 35 ballots without a single Royal, that’s your choice, but consider this:

  • As Manager of the AL squad, Kansas City’s Ned Yost can name any of his guys to the roster regardless of how the votes turn out.  It would be very Ned to thumb his nose at the league and pick his own guys.
  • Others have pointed this out, but it bears repeating:  If you’re concerned about a game for home field advantage in the World Series coming down to the NL All-Stars versus the Royals, well, remember who represented the AL last year.  They seemed to hold their own against the best team in the National League.
  • Should KC get four (or more) starters, it will only start to make up for a decade of All Star Games where the token Royal representative was somebody like Ken Harvey, Mark Redman, Jose Rosado, Dean Palmer, or Aaron Crow.  Seriously – as a diehard fan of both the Royals and Nebraska Cornhuskers, has any team had a worse All Star Game representative than Ken Harvey?



Love 4 Laney (l)

In a perfect world, sweet little children would not get seriously sick or require organ transplants.

Wednesdays are a busy day in our house.  Our oldest two kids have gymnastics classes back to back.  Due to the timing of those classes, I go straight from work to daycare to class.  Dinner is a hastily made batch of PB&J, cheese sticks, and juice boxes – most of which is eaten during the drive across town.

My three-year old son’s class is first, and it is a “parent and me” class where I follow him around to make sure he’s listening and following instructions.  When he’s done, our six-year-old daughter (who comes with my wife, direct from a different activity) has her class.  It’s usually 7:45 or later when we get home, which leaves just a few minutes for homework or unwinding before we start into the bedtime routine.

Basically, Wednesdays are controlled chaos, but it’s worth it because our kids love the classes, the teachers, and the other kids in the class.  My son’s class is rather small – it’s just him and two little girls.  As such, we know the other kids in the class pretty well – or so I thought…

*   *   *

Recently, I saw a link to an article about the family of Curtis Ledbetter, the Director of Operations for the University of Nebraska baseball team.  Ledbetter is a former Husker player – a big, strong first baseman who usually led the team in home runs.  But the main reason I read the article (which can be found here) is because I know Ledbetter as the dad of one of the little girls in my son’s gymnastics class.  Truth be told, it was the article’s title – “Huskers Excited to Show Their ‘Love 4 Laney’” – that stopped me in my tracks.

I had no idea Laney was sick.

*   *   *

Reading the article, these two sentences punched me right in the gut:

“Laney was diagnosed with Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis Type 2, which means her liver doesn’t produce and move bile the way it should, so Laney’s body can absorb all the nutrients it needs. Nebraska Medicine doctors in Omaha told Curtis and Monica that their daughter eventually will need a transplant.”

I’ve been around little Laney an hour a week for most of the last six months, and I had zero idea she is sick.  She’s always struck me as a perfectly normal two-year old.  She’s active, energetic, and cute as a button.  You’d never know that she gets “seven to eight doses of medicine” every day and will someday require a new liver.

As a parent, I simply cannot imagine having a child fighting a disease with six words and almost 20 syllables in the name.  Our kids went through a bout of 24-hour stomach flu a few weeks ago, and it was exhausting.  The stress of seeing your babies miserable and weak is heartbreaking.  But a few days later they were completely back to normal.  I cannot imagine having that as my daily norm.  The love and strength parents like the Ledbetters and Hoffmans show is amazing and inspiring.

*   *   *

At the Nebraska – Minnesota baseball game on April, 12, the Huskers honored the 2005 team that made the College World Series.  Curtis Ledbetter was a key cog in that great team.  At the same game, the team held a “Love 4 Laney” day raising awareness for organ donation.  The team traded their traditional red hats for green ones, and fans wore neon green awareness shirts.

A clip from the local news can be found here.

Nebraskans, you can learn how to sign up to become an organ donor here.  For those who live outside The Good Life, here are some resources for you.  I’m proud to be a registered organ and tissue donor, and I hope you will join me.

*   *   *

(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

Husker Hot Takes – 2/5/15

Come bask in the warmth of the hot takes…

Mike Riley and friends can recruit a little bit.

I’ll preface this with a big disclaimer:  I don’t follow recruiting very closely.  I understand the importance, but watching highlight films and tracking the whims of 17-year-old kids doesn’t do it for me.  That said, it certainly looks to me like Mike Riley and his staff will be a recruiting force.  For a new staff coming in with less than two months to go in the recruiting season, they did an excellent job of keeping almost all of the recruits the previous staff assembled as well as filling the remaining spots with guys heavy on talent and upside.

There is a lot to like about how Riley’s staff is going to handle recruiting.  Notably, I’m a big fan of having the recruiting process led by guys who do not have on-field coaching duties.  That should really help with in-season recruiting, which tended to tail off in most years.  The use of social media with the “Paint the Nation Red” maps and tweets by the entire coaching staff is big not only for recruits, but for Husker fans who passionately follow the program 24/7/365.  It’s reassuring to know the coaches are out there working hard to ensure the #HuskersJustGotBetter.

But mostly, I’m very impressed by the final weekend before Signing Day.  The Huskers received verbal commitments from four prospects who live in Florida, Mississippi, Southern California, and Las Vegas on a weekend with a winter storm that dumped over six inches of snow.  If they can pull that off, I’m excited to see what they can do with a full recruiting cycle.

Long snappers are people too.

One of the last recruits in this class was long snapper Jordan Ober.  During his official visit, I heard a couple of local radio hosts questioning if Nebraska should “waste” a scholarship on a long snapper.  Their argument centered on the idea that the staff – especially Special Teams Coordinator Bruce Read – should be able to take an existing player on the roster and develop them into a long snapper.

I couldn’t disagree with this more.

Sure, I’ll concede that a coach at a Power 5 program should be able to identify and develop a respectable long snapper out of 85 scholarship players, but is that how you want to run your program?  Every week, games are won and lost due to miscues in special teams.  So many bad things can happen with a bad snap:  blocked punts, rushed kicks, shanks, turnovers, or quick points for the opposition.  Why would you risk that with a player who long snaps as a side job?  Would you rather recruit an “athlete” to play quarterback, or would you prefer to recruit a true quarterback?  The same logic applies here.

Much like a good referee, you shouldn’t notice when a long snapper does his job at a high level.  For almost 10 years, Nebraska has enjoyed a strong run at the position.  T.J. O’Leary, P.J. Mangieri, and Gabe Miller were excellent performers, but Miller’s career-ending back injury almost meant using Nate Gerry as the long snapper.  Instead of risking field position and turnovers, Nebraska is wisely finding somebody with the talent and ability to do the job full-time for (hopefully) the next four years.

Considering that scholarship probably would have otherwise gone to some two star prospect who may only contribute for a year or two, I think Ober’s scholarship is a wise move.

Go Big Red goes (Gretna) green.

Two of the preferred walk-ons in the 2015 class are from Gretna High School:  linebacker Jared Brugmann and fullback Austin Hemphill.  This brings the number of Dragons on the NU roster to five (TE Jared Blum, FB Andy Janovich, and DE Mick Stoltenberg are the others).  The five Gretna Dragons ties Lincoln Southeast Knights for the school with the most players on the roster (side note:  the only other school with more than two players at NU is Edna Karr H.S. in New Orleans with three).

As an unabashed lover of fullbacks, the only thing better than a walk-on fullback is a walk-on fullback from your alma mater.  Here’s hoping that offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf has a double fullback formation for the fall.

Give ’em hell, Dragons!

Gymnasts are messing with perfection

The #7 Nebraska Women’s Gymnastics team is off to an impressive start.  Coming off of a Super Six final appearance in 2014, they are 5-1 this year, with the lone loss at #4 Michigan.

But one of the highlights of this season has been sophomore Ashley Lambert, who has recorded a perfect 10.0 on the vault.


The Huskers have a strong lineup with All-America caliber performers in every event.  Plus, every gymnast will “throw the bones” at some point during her floor routine, which I enjoy.

Their next meet is this Saturday (February 6) at 6 pm against Iowa at Devaney.  My family has become big fans of this program over the past few years, as it is cheap entertainment (free admission with a popcorn box top), the team is fun to watch, and they are pretty damn good.

Baseball weather is here

If there is eight inches of snow on the ground in February, it can only mean one thing:  Nebraska Baseball is starting their season soon.

Sure enough, the season starts next weekend (February 13) at UNLV.  Hopefully, the snow will be all gone when the Huskers have their home opener on March 10.


The Best and the Worst of America

Tonight, my daughter woke up crying.

A dry diaper, a few ounces of formula, and some gently rocking on Daddy’s chest got her calmed down and back to sleep.  While I waited for her to get into a deep enough sleep so I could move here back to bed without waking her, I scrolled through Twitter on my phone.

My Twitter feed was dominated by two topics.  Both are taking place in the same state, and are only separated by about three or so hours on the interstate.  But, they are worlds apart.  They show us how great we can be, while demonstrating how bad we are.

*   *   *

I’ve been a fan of the Kansas City Royals for most of my life.  It just made sense – Kansas City is the closest Major League team to my eastern Nebraska home, and when I was in the formidable years when a boy picks the teams they like, the Royals were winning.  Granted, since that World Series title in 1985, being a Royals fan has been an exercise in masochism, frustration, and pity from friends and family.

Now imagine being a lifelong Royals fan born and raised in South Korea.

That brings us to the happy side of my Twitter feed.  SungWoo Lee has been a passionate, hardcore Royals fan since the 1990s – all while living in South Korea.  His dream has been to come to KC and watch his beloved Royals play.  Thanks to the efforts of some KC fans on social media, SungWoo has been living every baseball fan’s dream for the last week:  meeting players, throwing out the first pitch, hanging with Hall of Famer George Brett, and watching the Royals go on an eight game winning streak to move into first place.

One of the guys responsible for bringing SungWoo to KC is a guy I follow on Twitter, The Fake Ned (@TheFakeNed).  He has been tweeting about SungWoo’s visit pretty much non-stop.

Basically, the whole SungWoo experience has been one magical fairy ride that has made the most jaded of Royals fans believe.

*   *   *

Meanwhile, 230 miles east on I-70 sits the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.  For everything good and wonderful going on in Kansas City, something ugly and scary is going down in Ferguson, MO.  A young black man was shot and killed by police, which has led to civil unrest, protests, police attacks, and a racially charged powder keg of a town.





*   *   *

I’m seeing and reading about these things while my not yet one year old black daughter sleeps on my chest.  I think that is what makes it so real and so difficult for me.  Someday I’m going to have to explain this world that we live in to my children.

I’m going to have to tell my children that sometimes you can follow all the rules and still be arrested – or worse.  Explain to them that in many parts of the greatest nation on earth, the color of their skin entitles them to the right to be treated poorly.  Try to instill a respect for an authority that sometimes has no respect for them.  Attempt to raise good, honest, hard-working adults who are not jaded and disillusioned by racism and prejudice that I’ll never truly know.

And I have to balance that brutal honesty while hopefully getting them to believe that there really are good people in the world too.  People that will open their arms for a guy from the other side of the globe, treat him like royalty, and make us believe in the inherent good in people – even if he’s of a different race.  All because he’s a fan of the same historically crappy baseball team that we like?

*   *   *

Since I’m struggling to put a pretty bow on all of this, I’ll let The Fake Ned have the last word:


Top Ten Ways to Help the Royals Win Again

My poor Kansas City Royals.

They are in historically bad slump – which as any Royals fan in the last 25+ years will tell you, is really saying something.  They have lost eight in a row, and 19 of their last 23.  After spending most of April in first place, they are now in last.  In short, something needs to change.

Sure, they could fire Ned Yost, one of their two hitting coaches for a team with several starters hitting below .250 with absolutely no power, or they could replace those lousy batters with a bunch of guys from the minor leagues.  Any of those things might work.  Or they might not.  Given that we’re talking about the Royals, rational changes will probably just make things worse.

The Royals need to think outside the box.  Unconventional.  Drastic measures.

Fortunately, I know how the Royals can win again.  And no, I’m not referring to a “slumpbuster” as infamously described by Mark Grace.  Here are ten ways to help get the Royals back on a winning track:

10.  Through use of wigs, fake mustaches, costumes, and fat suits, Alex Gordon bats twice an inning.

Not really relevant, but I love this picture.

9.  Royal batters only need three balls to walk, but get four strikes.

8.  Opposing team must chug a Boulevard beer at every base.

7.  Cork.  Lots of it.  In the bats, the baseballs, the opponents gloves, in the hotdogs.  Anywhere.  Everywhere.

6.  Manager Ned Yost is replaced with a Magic 8 Ball.

Do the Royals have a hope of winning again?

Do the Royals have a hope of winning again?

5.  The fences are moved in 20 feet whenever KC bats.  No wait, make that 40 feet.

4.  Mascot Sluggerrr arranges lap dances for player who gets game winning hit.  (I shouldn’t have to mention this, but obviously that link is considered NSFW).

3.  Don Denkinger comes out of retirement to umpire Royals games (especially the interleague series with the St. Louis Cardinals).

Close enough.

2.  Longtime play-by-play man Denny Matthews broadcasts in the nude until the Royals win.

1.  Kansas City reschedules a 7:10 pm game for 7:10 am, and “accidentally” forgets to tell the other team.

Royal Review – April

As a baseball fan, I always look forward to the start of the season.  You’ll hear announcers and writers talking about the “hope and potential of a new season” and bunch of other clichés about how everybody believes their team can win the World Series in April.

As a long time Royals fan, my response to that is “Yeah, right.”  The Royals may start in first place on Opening Day, but I’ve seen enough seasons to know that KC’s April will usually go one of two ways:

  1. The Royals get off to a respectable start, flirting with first place for a day or two, before a six game losing streak drops them back in the standings.  They continue to find new ways to lose, and they’re out of realistic contention by May.
  2. The Royals stink out of the gate, a lousy collection of washed up vets who don’t care and quadruple-A players who could not start for most major league teams.  They may not go on a prolonged losing streak, but they probably will – just because they can.  Any hope of contending is gone by Tax Day.  After that, the focus shifts to not finishing last in the division and guessing who the token All Star representative will be.

But the 2013 season might just be different.  General Manager Dayton Moore has built a young, but strong core of position players and spent the offseason bolstering a pitching staff that was painfully bad in 2012.  The Royals dominated the Cactus League during spring training, and are a trendy dark horse pick to win the American League Central.

One month in to the 2013 season, and the Royals have been different.  Good different.  Like, a real big league team with pitching, hitting, and defense different.

And I’m not sure what to do with it.

Let’s not kid ourselves…there is still a ton of baseball to be played.  Five full months and over 135 games, to be exact.  But as I type this on May 1, 2013, the Kansas City Royals are in first place.  They have won at home, won on the road, beat good teams, pounded bad teams, and have generally looked good doing so.  At the risk of jinxing the team, I’ll say it:

If the playoffs started today, Kansas City would be in for the first time since 1985.

But that is looking too far down the road.  I’m sticking to the same thing I said at the beginning of the year:  I will be happy – hell, I’d be thrilled – with 82 wins.  Get over .500.  Anything beyond that is gravy.

Will it happen?  I want to say yes, but history says no.  Regardless, it should be a fun ride.

*   *   *

Three Up (or “Why you might want to set aside some cash for a playoffs fund”)

  1. James Shields, Ervin Santana, and Jeremy Guthrie have brought stability to the starting rotation.  Shields and Santana were the two key offseason acquisitions, and in April they were worth the price.  Guthrie came to the Royals in 2012, and has been quietly dominant.  Combined, these three are 8-3, with a 2.68 ERA.
  2. The offense is has serious potential.  The majority of the lineup is capable of delivering an extra base hit at any point.  Ned Yost has not been afraid to run – the Royals are third in the AL with 19 stolen bases – which has helped put guys in scoring position, and put pressure on opposing defenses.  They’re not clicking on all cylinders, but if they do….look out.
  3. There is noticeable excitement and chemistry on the team.  This is my favorite.  For the first time in ages, the team is playing with passion.  They look like they care, and they are having fun.  Fans are starting to expect this team to win, instead of finding a way to lose.

Three Down (or “Why you should consider focusing on the NBA and NHL playoffs instead of baseball”)

  1. There is no consistent power threat.  The Royals are last in the league with 14 home runs (the Yankees have 35).  While several Royals can take you deep – nine guys homers in April – up and down the lineup there is not a guy who you fear going yard in every at bat.
  2. Will Moustakas and Hosmer produce?  Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are two cornerstones of the Royals youth movement.  In order for the team to contend, each needs to be a key cog in the offense.  So far in 2013, the two are batting a combined .221 with one homer and 13 RBI.  Moustakas has been especially bad with a dreadful .195/.276/.299 line.  At the end of April, both showed signs of heating up, but if they cannot produce, the offense will be challenged.
  3. It’s still the Royals.  April was one of the better months in recent history to be a Royals fan.  It has been a blast to watch the team play good baseball, beat good teams, and get our hopes up for what the rest of the season will bring.  But let’s face it:  the die-hard fans who have been through the 100 loss seasons, puzzling roster moves, and bizarre moments that can only happen to Kansas City are waiting for the other shoe to drop.  As much as I want to believe in this team and their chances, an eight game losing streak would not shock me.

Extra Innings

  • I’m trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but man, Rex Hudler is brutal.  Especially when paired with the ultra dry wit of Ryan Lefebvre.  I don’t necessarily miss Frank White providing a continuous Dr. Julius Hibbert laugh track every time Ryan made a joke, but surely there is somebody better out there.
  • I’ve never understood why there are so many scheduled off days in April.  You’d think a ballplayer would rather save those days off for August when the season is starting to grind and their bodies need extra rest – not five in the first 22 days of the season (not counting rain outs and the Friday the City of Boston was on lock-down).
  • Jeff Francoeur:  What the heck, dude?

Call to the Bullpen

“So, the Royals playing dominating baseball and the impending snow in May in KC don’t have anything to do with the apocalypse right?” – TJ Carpenter‏ (@TJCarpenterWHB)

A Sports Fan’s Bucket List

I went to a college gymnastics meet last night.  During the meet, Nebraska senior Janelle Giblin scored a perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars.

Even though Nebraska is a top ten team, it was quite unexpected – the 10.0 was Nebraska’s first in any event since 2011, and only the second in school history on bars.

It was also pretty cool to witness; one of those things that as a sports fan I’ll be able to claim for the rest of my life.

The perfect 10 got me thinking:  what other accomplishments and feats should every sports fan aspire to see?  A sports fan’s bucket list, if you will.

I’m not talking about sporting events you want to attend (Super Bowl, The Masters, Olympics, Game 7, etc.), but the moments and feats that every sports fan should hope to witness.

My sports fan bucket list is broken out by sport.  I’m going to try to limit this list to the universally known items (a walk-off home run) and avoid the obscure, once in a blue moon events (like the one point safety in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl).

Feel free to leave any other suggestions in the comments.


  • Walk-off home run
  • No hitter or perfect game.
  • Batter hits for the cycle.
  • A triple play.*

*A personal aside:  back in the mid-90s, I went to a Royals – A’s game with some buddies.  In the top of the 3rd inning, I headed to concession stands when Oakland was batting (as a lifelong Royals fan, I wanted to watch the Royals bat). 

While in line, I heard a loud roar from the KC crowd.  I returned to my seat to learn that the Royals had just turned a 5-4-3 triple play.  My friends who saw it were, of course, the ones that didn’t care about baseball.  They knew they had witnessed something special, while I, the baseball fan, had unwittingly traded a once in a lifetime opportunity for a hotdog and a Coke.

I am still very bitter about this. 


  • A triple-double.
  • Game winning buzzer beater from well beyond three-point range.


  • A hat trick.
  • Goal scored by a goalie.


*I really struggled coming up with bucket list worthy football items.  What I came up with were more about the game than individual performances, which is not what this list is about.  

Sure, game winning field goals can be exciting, but they can also be rather automatic and generic.  I’ve seen some amazing individual accomplishments (a 300 yard rusher, a 500 yard passer, a receiver who had 400 yards in a game) but those are more arbitrary numbers than true bucket list items.  Regardless, here is what I came up with:

  • A tear down the goal posts win.
  • A back and forth, multiple overtime game (high school or college)
  • A touchdown involving three or more players touching the ball (trick plays, multiple laterals, etc.).

Other Sports

  • A perfect 10 in gymnastics
  • Hole in one or a double eagle (witnessing one, not hitting it).
  • A world’s record in any Olympic event (track & field, swimming, etc., but not necessarily AT the Olympics)
  • A 300 game in bowling

What items are on your sports fan bucket list?

Miscellaneous Corn

Some random thoughts about things related to the Nebraska Cornhuskers…

*I don’t really care too much about the NFL Draft.  Between the endless yapping, the avalanche of on-screen graphics, and the fact that I don’t have an NFL team that I root for, my interest in the draft mainly centers on when Nebraska players are drafted, and which team takes them.

On that front, the big news was Alfonzo Dennard sliding clear into the 7th round, after being projected to go much, much earlier.  Dennard may become a case study in how NOT to spend the four months before the draft.  Let’s review:

January – gets ejected from the Capital One Bowl for fighting.
February – performs poorly in practices for one of the college all-star games.  Does not play in the game.
April – less than a week before the draft he gets arrested outside of Lincoln bar at 2 am for (allegedly) punching a cop.

I’m not sure there is much more he could have done to hurt his draft stock.  Hopefully he can prove himself and earn a big payday through free agency.

*I wonder how much the low draft picks for Dennard and Jared Crick will impact future Huskers looking at coming out early.  After the 2010 season, there was talk that both players could have been late first to second round draft picks had they left school.  But both chose to come back for their senior seasons to a) improve their draft stock and b) help the team.

Obviously, when it comes to the decision to stay in school or turn pro, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  It really is an educated guess based upon where the NFL experts (and your family/friends/advisors) think you’ll go, the other players at your position in the draft, the perceived weaknesses that can be improved with another year in college, as well as the financial needs of you and your family.  For a player like Ndomukong Suh, coming back for this senior season was a brilliant, life-changing decision.  Unfortunately, Crick’s injury (and his relatively lackluster play before the injury) definitely took some of the shine off of his breakout junior season.  And while Dennard rebounded from an early season injury, it is pretty obvious that he cost himself a lot of money by coming back to school (and by not controlling his anger).

*I just don’t understand why Aaron Green would choose to transfer.  Yeah, I get that every kid – especially those who come in with loads of recruiting hype – want to be the starter, the star, The Man.  And we all know that for 2012, the roll of The Man will be played by Rex Burkhead.  But here’s the thing:  by transferring, Green must sit out the 2012 season before trying to earn playing time at another school (presumably closer to his home in Texas).  Had Green opted to stay at NU, he still might lose 2012, but he would definitely be in line to be a starter in 2013.  Heck, since Nebraska will have a new QB in 2013, Green could have been a cornerstone of the offense.  But now he has to start all over somewhere else.  It’s his choice and I won’t bag on a kid for choosing happiness/family/whatever, but it is not a decision I would have made or advised.

*I think the bigger issue with Green’s transfer is how Nebraska (under) utilizes talented freshmen.  Nebraska does not have a real good history with a) playing highly touted freshmen, and b) getting a lot of production out of them (Niles Paul, Harrison Beck, Aaron Green come to mind off the top of my head).  Yes, there are some exceptions (Ahman Green), but it sure seems like a true freshman skill player (RB, WR, QB) would almost always be better off taking a redshirt season.  And no, this is not a knock on Pelini or the complexity of the Callahan/Watson/Beck offenses.  This trend definitely dates back to the Osborne days.

*The video of the rain delay dance-off between Nebraska and Cal-Bakersfield is nearing “viral” status, which is pretty cool.  I love the idea of college kids having fun, blowing off steam, and doing something creative to pass the time during a rain delay.  While I’ve seen clips of other teams doing similar stuff, I really enjoyed the “curling” bit the Huskers brought out. as well as some of the other classics both teams performed.  One question:  are these bits and routines made up on the fly or are they practiced and rehearsed for such an occasion?

*Speaking of Nebraska baseball, I really, really dug the camouflage uniforms they wore during the Purdue series.  Yes, yes, I know this is completely at odds with my decidedly old-school position on the football team breaking out an alternate uniform this fall.  But there are a boat load of differences between the two programs, including (but not limited to):  tradition, history, number of games in the season, precedent for alternate jerseys, and much more.  And as much as I’m dreading the inevitable disappointment from the release of the football alternate jersey, I’ll really be bummed if it is some camo thing just for the sake of being camo.

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