*Apologies for the first-person point of view, I hope after reading you find it was fair in this instance. Tim Miles and his Nebraska basketball team are having a pseudo-"Midnite Madness" tonight at the brand-new-spanking awesome Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln (one that fairly starts at 7 p.m. and not Midnite - baby steps). Yes you did read that right. However fear not hoops junkies, because given what we know about the man in charge of Nebraska Men's BBall these days, if Tim Miles is putting on an event like this I am 100% certain it will be: (1) well-organized, (2) fun, (3) educational, and (4) full of genuine enthusiasm.
So, the downside of attending is low from the beginning and, when you see Walter Pitchford (transfer from Florida - on Donovan's genuine & mutually beneficial recommendation to call Tim Miles) do a 360-degree dunk off an oop from Tai Webster - along with our other slew of athletic newcomers who have major ability and major high-school/JUCO reptuations - adding on to the surprisingly talented returning group of Shields, Gallegos, and even Benny Parker in a more limited role - the upside is quite high.
I mean, seriously - LOOK HOW FAR THIS PROGRAM HAS COME ALREADY under the guidance of Miles! We got a Top 150 recruit to commit here and I think its safe to say a lot more are coming next season. How neat given the dark blackdrop of this program that was mainly built on little effort and financial commitment from the AD and got results to match. This is really 20-30 years of bottled-up enthusiasm for NU basketball blown-up all at once. Is this in part fair because of our football team's legendary run over the same time period? Sure, but it was long overdue time to pony up for a basketball program to go with Nebraska's stable of other high-end programs across the board (and makes you wonder if TO's renowed commitment to hoops had anything to do with our fledgling football team?). Because of the just general annoyance that is our football team week-to-week these days, it helps people are desperate too for another winner beyond Volleyball & women's basketball (not saying those teams don't deserve the attention people just want MORE). Add it all together and you see there is serious wind behind these sails now that Miles is captaining the ship.
The sheer fact EVERY MAJOR CBB WRITER and NAME says how much they love Tim Miles and his coaching & program-building ability tells you how much Miles connects with the world and sells what is really important in major athletics these days - himself. By putting his traits into the minds of those discussing Nebraska basketball, Miles has sparked Nebrasketball in a way I did not think possible.
If our football team hired someone like this - and it is somewhat difficult to find a comparison on exactly who that would be (for me Art Briles could KILL at Nebraska and has same enthusiasm/vision as Miles along with key recruiting ties) - I would cry at this point from joy and relief that the never-ending (not to mention so sad) arguments on whether Nebraska FB/Bo were good could finally stop, if only for a month or two.
Go Tim Miles and GBR, I can't wait to have a legit basketball team at NU. With Miles I don't think I'll be waiting much longer.
Folks, this is the nearly the end of the worst time of the sports calendar. I love Major League Baseball but I will not be lame enough to to deny that I MISS THE NFL SO BADLY - especially when you sprinkle on Fantasy Football, the greatest invention in the history of America. To ease the pain we all bear in waiting for that first NFL weekend to start in 2013, can we please agree to to the following regarding our respective favorite NFL quarterbacks' respective positions/legacy/ability for the next few months? (okay for at least one week? Two days?)
1. There is NO correct answer to the question, "Which QB is better, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?"
2. Any one of us would be PRIVILEGED to have Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick lead our favorite NFL team (am I a 49ers homer? Probably, but I'm not stupid and watched Wilson live against my alma mater, Nebraska; he can be MY QB any day of the week).
3. Furthermore, Andrew Luck and RGIII go in the above sentence, it was just messy to write all their names out in one sentence without showing any bias - of which I have none if you are asking me to order these guys 1-4, take your pick and feel safe as a franchise for the next decade.
4. . . . . And for the record, RGIII will learn to be smarter with his running under Shanahan, just like Elway did early on in Denver when he was running a legit 4.6; AND, did.we forget just how accurate and beautiful his passes were all year to a pretty "meh" group of WR's? (one that is adding about a 90% Pierre Garcon and previous rookie RB phenom Roy Helu - he and his 4.3 speed and ability to take the read with RGIII to new heights - Morris the grinder, Helu the sprinter).
5. And shoot, speaking of Elway, Andrew Luck certainly bears an uncanny resemblance to his fellow Stanford Cardinal alumnus in both his ability fire accurate lasers down-field and also in mounting extra courage/ability in late game situations with the most on the line . . .
6. Indianapolis Colts fans do NOT get to complainabout any upcoming misfortune until at least the NFL season of 2060 - NOT AFTER the Colts were miraculously blessed by the Football gods with some of the best organizational/roster/draft timing WE WILL EVER SEE - getting to trot out Peyton Manning for his illustrious BEST YEARS (or a majority of them at least), immediately followed by new "Colt" icon Andrew Luck (only the most "sure thing" college signal caller to enter the draft since a guy named, yup you guessed it, Peyton Manning). The draft odds/league history shows that it is nearly impossible for a franchise to find ONE of these level of QB's for a significant period of years - to get BACK-TO-BACK quarterbacks of this ability is just unreal and makes me wonder if Jim Irsay has magical powers;
7. "Gentlemen" Joe Flacco was VERY GOOD in the 2012 playoffs - actually I would say perfect after the Super Bowl - and worthy of the praise heaped on him following the magical victory. No matter how much it may pain NFL fans to admit it, and so long as general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh are in charge of the Ravens, the reigning Super Bowl champs are not going to fade into the distance as harshly as many seem to think in 2013 and beyond, even with the tremendous amount of Hall of Fame leadership saying their emotional "good-byes to the Ravens * *Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Anquan Boldin represented the HEART of that Super Bowl run and 49ers fans could see that those three made the early and late difference to the victory, taking whatever advantage they could of mistakes made by SF's young stars.
8. If you want to take Flacco over (just PAID) Atlanta Falcons' QB Matt Ryan, you will be made fun of no matter what because: (1) Flacco went to Delaware and, (2) is just a little too awkward/standoffish for opposing fans or NFL pundits to grant him entry into the league's BEST QUARTERBACK CLUB, especially with all of the veteran help Flacco had/has around him since entering the league on both sides of the ball (not to mention his often horrendous regular season fantasy numbers). After Flacco's near-perfect performance over the Ravens' epic postseason run, however, it is now Atlanta Falcons fans who must worry whether their young field general Matty Ice will ever fully live up his clutch nickname and to the (deserved) franchise-QB MEGA CONTRACT he just got . . . (shockingly to some I am sure, Matt Ryan won his FIRST playoff game last year against Seattle and should have lost, then Ryan had two bad turnovers against San Francisco in the NFC title game that allowed the 49ers to erase an early 17 point deficit and march on to the Super Bowl - Atlanta may never get another opportunity like that with Ryan at the helm in what appears to be a loaded NFC over the next decade).
9. Flip a coin, heads you get Mark Sanchez and I get Blaine Gabbert, tails we . . . well, either way, this most-dangerous QB game has no "good" ending for either of us, at least so long as Sanchez or Gabbert is the one we are supposed to use as our team leader/QB1 in today's NFL - Jets and Jags fans can puke now.
10. AND seriously ESPN - you don't need to bring up the Jets' sad & inevitably awkward "QB BATTLE" every day, we understand it will be a fight to the end (or the death of Santonio Holmes, whichever is first).
11. Tony Romo is an above-average QB/golfer whose numbers always look sexy when taken as a whole-season portrayal, this is not debatable. However, after Romo fell victim to his QB "yips" AGAIN last season in the biggest moments - culminating with the three INT nightmare in Washington wiith the division on the line - supporters of "Jerry's boy" cannot use those same inflated numbers to disprove the fact that Romo is a choke artist and can't get Dallas to the next level.
12. Playoff football is a separate and distinct beast from regular season football, and if a QB you are debating about cannot, at least with his team as presently constructed (and at most plus a few decent additions), lead his team to the playoffs, he does not deserve to be argued about for more than 5 minutes by fans/TV folks- at least for 2013. Sorry to Ryan Tannehill, Carson Palmer, Brandon Weeden, Chad Henne, the Raider's QB ($5 if you guess it within 3 seconds . . . the answer, Matt Flynn, unless Terrell Pryor gets the offense figured out. Wait what, Terrell Pryor? The Ohio State kid? Didn't you have Carson Palmer or uh, Jason Campell I mean . . . . never mind this is sad because now Tyler Wilson may take the job as a rookie).
13. Kevin Kolb will always make me think of corn on the cobb, which is ironic because a piece of corn on the cob has the same chances of becoming a legit NFL-QB as Kevin Kolb does.
14. Sam Bradford has ONE MORE YEAR to prove himself with these WR's, he has shown just enough life to give the recussitation one more go. However, if he looks surprisingly just very average in 2013 (a very real possibility with the current big dogs in the NFC West), he is being demoted to captain of the Josh Freeman is Going to Replace Me Team.
15. Charlie Batch is no longer allowed to be considered an "NFL quarterback." Sure, he goes to some practices, he wears the gear, and he even got into a game this last year. Rudy also got into a game one time, and he at least avoided setting the record Batch did for "worst performance by a reserve football player, ever possible"
16. Michael Vick is always going to remind us of one thing -how sad it is when someone with so much talent let's it all go to waste because he is surrounded by so many who have no problem sucking that talent dry, along with the millions of guaranteed NFL dollars that came with it, and leaving the star athlete high & dry shortly thereafter. Vick has done everything he can to rebuild his image, and he played above our wildest thoughts two seasons ago in Philly. This will never erase the years he missed paying off his debts for his actions/those of his "friends" & the overall lifestyle choices he decided took priority over his seemingly unlimited ceiling as an NFL quarterback and community leader/icon.
17. Tom Brady will always remind us that the most dangerous man on the field is often the one who was never supposed to be playing on it to begin with - he appreciates it more and is much more willing to fight for it because he knows how hard it is to ever get back on it (Alex Smith sounds similar to this doesn't he . . . )
18. Drew Brees is a Hall of Fame quarterback, and he deserves mention any time the most talented QB discussions are brought up.
19. Aaron Rodgers quickly dispels any notion that Brees is the hands down most talented QB in the NFL, just in case you thought I forgot the Packer signal-caller. Rodgers is still in his own separate ranking tier for 2013 as "QB UNO" - don't kid yourself otherwise folks.
20. ALL OF THESE GUYS ARE PLAYING IN THE NFL RIGHT NOW - what a time to be a fan and what a time for the Red Zone channel to bless us with its beauty each week.