My Top Five Reasons Why Nebraska Football Will Never Return To Glory Unless Something Changes Other Than The Head Coach.

gates copyI knew you were thinking it.

“I wonder what that guy who used to write about NAIA football all the time and sells farm equipment now thinks about the current state of the Nebraska football program?”

Well you’re in luck! It’s cold in North Dakota today, the Bison are on the road and Nebraska doesn’t play until later. So that gives me plenty of time to throw out a bunch of polarizing ideas that will have half of my friends blocking me on Facebook and the other half rolling with laughter. Keep in mind, I’ve done zero research before writing this article.

Plus I took the under in this Mississippi State/Arkansas game and that doesn’t look promising right now. Kinda like the future of Nebraska football unless something changes, other than the coaching situation. So here you go folks! Continue reading

Nebraska Needs to Legalize Gay Marriage

same_sex_marriage_ban_in_nebraska__giacomo_cardelliby Jason Dannelly
It’s my hope that in the coming days U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon will overturn Nebraska’s ban on gay marriage.

There. . .I said it.

Anyone that knows me understands I don’t particularly like writing things that are controversial. I enjoy discussing my views with people that are close to me and don’t often venture outside of the world of sports and comedy when it comes to the written word. Mostly because I understand that once you write something, it’s there and it’s not going anywhere.

Since 1998, I’ve considered myself a journalist. I had been working in radio and when I was in college I got the opportunity to begin writing a column every few weeks in the local Blair, Nebraska newspaper. Not a college paper, an actual for profit paper. Since then I never really wrote anything that wasn’t sports related or involved some sort of comedy or entertainment.

The main reason was because of my fear that my actual opinions on “real life situations” would alienate what few readers I actually had or anger people that I worked for. Continue reading

Remembering Brad Fossberg, The Rimington Banquet and The Fight Against Cystic Fibrosis.

Brad Fossberg

The view I had of Brad every morning for two years.

This Saturday the Rocco Theater will fill up with people who adore sports and are infatuated with college football for the annual Rimington Trophy Presentation.

People much like Brad Fossberg.

They’ll want to listen to Hall of Fame Coach Bobby Bowden speak. They’ll rise and applaud the official honoring of Reese Dismukes of Auburn as the nation’s top center with the Rimington Trophy. The event itself is something I absolutely love attending and I’m certainly not a “banquet” person. The underlying message, the reason for everyone getting together will be to spread awareness about cystic fibrosis and raise funds for finding a cure for the disease.

For the last few years I have helped to select the Rimington Award for the DI-FCS, DII, DIII and NAIA levels of college football. Basically I reach out to experts and scouts at each level of college football, review film and narrow down the candidates before selecting the winners of each division. I was honored to be asked and the selection process is something I take great pride in being a part of every year. Continue reading

JD Show Podcast: We are Getting Soft.

This week’s podcast I discuss how we are all getting soft with the words we use and what we allow to “hurt” us in our lives. While some things have needed to change it doesn’t mean everything in our lives should now be soft or politically correct.

JD Show Podcast: Thoughts on Opie and Anthony and a little Lebron talk.

This week I talk a little bit about the move for Lebron from Miami to Cleveland and spend quite a bit of time talking about the Opie and Anthony Show and the decision Sirius XM made to fire Anthony. I spent time in studio a few years ago seeing OnA live thanks to Anthony and I have a hard time believing this isn’t the final months of Opie and Jimmy on the radio. The OnA talk starts at the 8:17 mark.

Listen Now:

I Met Roger Clemens in an Elevator Today at the CWS and Had Nothing to Say.

It happened again today.

There I was minding my own business in the press box at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, covering the College World Series. Some would say I’m extremely focused on my work. Others, who know me, would tell you I am completely oblivious to my surroundings.

I had to jump on the elevator so I could meet someone who covering the CWS for the first time. My plan was to grab them outside the elevator, bring them up to the media level, show them where everything is and then jump back onto the elevator so I could head to the field and shoot some photos of the start of the game.

Moving past the security I hopped on the media elevator (which BTW is 10 billion times faster than the old elevator at Rosenblatt). When the door opened on the ground level I saw the guy I was looking for and waved for him to come up with me. Three other people got on the elevator with the person I was waiting for and at first I paid no attention to them.

DING – Door Closes

I finally survey our new friends in the box. Then I notice, “huh, that guy that in the corner is a pretty big dude.”

Then I notice, “huh, he must be here for Texas because he has a burnt orange polo on.”

Then I notice, “huh, that’s a different sort of hat he’s wearing. There’s no team on it…it just says “Rocket”. Continue reading

College World Series Field Set And I Couldn’t Be Happier by Jason Dannelly

There are few things in the sports world that I truly get excited for. I don’t ever get jacked up for the Super Bowl, I could care less the NBA playoffs are going on right now and the BCS championship doesn’t cause me to clear my schedule.

However, the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. is an event that has turned from “must see TV” to must “must attend and cover”.

Growing up in Nebraska, the CWS was always a sports event as a youngster that you heard about but never really fully embraced. I can remember our neighbor, who helped my dad coach our youth baseball teams, coming back from the CWS with “new drills” he saw during warmups and practices.

Living on a farm we didn’t have cable but we were blessed with one of those GIANT satellite dishes that likely could’ve started a cable company for our neighbors. That’s where I saw my first CWS game. If memory serves it was G5/9 (Satellite G5 channel 9 for those of you unfamiliar with having to rotate the dish to get your channels in).

I never got to attend a CWS game until I got to college. My roommate’s family had tickets to every CWS game (and still do for that matter) and I was lucky enough my freshman year of college to be around for one of the rare games when his family was not using all of their tickets.

I can’t remember the first teams I saw play and I don’t think that makes me any less of a fan nor does it make my experience any less significant than one of those people with a photogenic memory who could recite from memory the entire scorer’s book from their first game. (Trust me, there are people that can. I’ve met them.)

The atmosphere, the energy, the crowd, the vendors, the people with tents in their front yards… I was hooked. Just from watching on TV I knew I’d really enjoy being at the CWS. But I had no idea what that feeling would be like. It wasn’t the same feeling I had going to Nebraska football games growing up and it wasn’t the feeling I got going to KC Royals games.

This was a feeling of ownership. Like somehow by attending the CWS that part of it had become mine. I think that’s why people from Nebraska and Iowa love the event so much. They helped build it into what it has become and in return it was now “theirs”.

Ever since that first game I’ve made it as part of an annual summer tradition. When I graduated college I was lucky enough to work with the Creative Sports Network and actually broadcast some of the games leading into the CWS. I was asked to broadcast a few games that year as well, but actually had a prior commitment that prevented me from doing it. In the years following, I’ve continued to cover the CWS as a freelance journalist for various organizations.

But nothing beats the experience as a fan. Sure there were detractors that didn’t want to see the game moved from Rosenblatt to TD Ameritrade Park and I get the argument. The “homey” feeling of Rosenblatt cannot be duplicated by any other venue in the world. Honestly the closest was probably the NAIA WS in Lewiston, Idaho and I don’t just say that as the guy who covers the NAIA as his main beat.

The new venue has grown the CWS and allowed more fans to experience what really is the greatest show on dirt. (Someone should copyright that…) Whether it’s the new slough of bars in the area, the kids play area or the general sites of Omaha there truly is something for everyone at the CWS.

Match ups this year are interesting to say the least. The first game on Saturday is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (CT), with UC Irvine playing against Texas. Saturday’s second game will have Louisville against Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. (CT). The doubleheader on Sunday features Texas Tech vs. TCU at 2 p.m. (CT) and in the evening game starting at 7 p.m. (CT), Virginia will take on Ole Miss.

The obviously storyline I am following is the return of Auggie Garrido to Omaha with Texas. I’ve always liked the way Auggie has coached his teams and embraced the CWS but after seeing the documentary about him a few years ago, how can you not love this guy. (Exhibit A – NSFW Language)

UC Irvine will obviously be the team the locals get behind. Omahans love the underdog and generally open their arms to anyone new who comes to the CWS. Plus the number of “Anteater” hats that have already been purchased from Lids in the last 20 years is probably immeasurable. Right next to those “Jimmies” and “Slippery Rock” hats.

TCU and Vandy have tradition on their side and Virginia also falls into that category with the only difference being how Omaha seems to embrace the first two a little more.

The rest of the field will have their fans and obviously will win new fans in Omaha over the next two weeks because that’s what the CWS is about. Everyone gets cheered on and everyone is loved at the CWS because once you are there you realize that while the teams and venue have changed, the sense of ownership remains the same as the first time you walked through the gates.

I’ll be covering the CWS again this year. Follow my blog, twitter or whatever for updates. Those are all linked to this article.

The Carlson Windmill – Saint Edward, Nebraska

Low Res Panoramic Version of a Windmill west of Saint Edward, Neb. Great clouds tonight for photos.

Bo Pelini Said Goodbye, Husker Fans Need to Temper Expectations.

It sounded like an officer saying goodbye to the rest of his troop. Had there been dramatic video and slow motion effects, the man would have likely wiped a tear from his eye and slowly shuffled away from the podium to silence, leaving the media to wonder what exactly just happened as they screen faded to black.

In his quotes surrounding the Penn State game, before and after, Pelini made references to it being “an honor to coach” this football team and “something special” was going on. He also went so far as to comment about his coaching staff and that it would “be a shame” to break them up.

So why all the hubbub about the Iowa post game press conference? Sure there was a certain voyeuristic thrill in it, as Tom Shatel said, “I just saw a man set himself on fire,” but isn’t it apparent that this plan was set into motion a while ago?

How else do you explain Pelini’s regression back to his old self in the postgame? On the sideline? At halftime?

If Bo Pelini wasn’t a man who knew he was fired before the game then he was at least aware of what needed to happen in order for him to keep his job.

What exactly that criteria was will not be out for a while but make no qualms about it that in order for the head coach of Nebraska to keep his job, nine wins is certainly one of the bench marks. The others likely are the prototypical graduate players, have a disciplined team and don’t call your fans the noun version of the f-bomb.

And don’t take that the wrong way. Pelini is not getting let go because he spoke like a normal college football coach behind closed doors over two years ago. Pelini is getting fired for the same reason anyone at any job gets let go; a culmination of instances.

If an investment banker takes your portfolio from leaking money like a sieve and stabilizes it, you love that guy. “Holy crap I was losing thousands of dollars every year and now I’m actually making a little!”

Then six years later, you are still only making a little money and now the brashness of your investment guy really starts to shine through and you kind of dread talking to that guy, even though he’s still making you a little money. Would you look for a new investment guy? Or just be happy with not losing any money and making just a little.

Bo Pelini is a good coach and deserves another coaching job, likely somewhere as a defensive coordinator. The one thing people do not give Pelini credit for is his knowledge of big time football and what it takes to win in today’s environment. He’s spent time at Oklahoma and at LSU in his absence from Nebraska. He has seen what those programs had to do to stay relevant in college football and to some extent some of Pelini’s frustration might come from knowing that the job in Lincoln is one of the toughest jobs in college football with the most unrealistic of expectations.

Fans expect you to win or be in contention for a conference title every year with the chance at a national championship every few years. That’s the expectation that is echoed on talk radio and in the comment sections of forums across the state. Meanwhile, no one has won a conference title in the last 14 seasons at Nebraska. That’s the same amount of time that it takes for someone living on a farm in the Cornhusker state to have a baby and that baby get a school permit.

Pelini will likely be let go soon, maybe within hours of writing this column. Whether it’s fair or not will not be for me to judge but it’s tough to argue that this relationship wasn’t doomed from the start. Nebraskan’s broke up with an old girlfriend and went running back to the one that got away only to remember maybe why they didn’t date in the first place.

Things will never be like the days of old for Nebraska or any old power of college football. Recruiting has changed, the postseason has changed and media coverage has changed. Whoever comes into Lincoln to take over this program will have success, just like Pelini, and perhaps a little bit more every few years. Coaches can win at Nebraska based on facilities, tradition and the lack of strength in the Big 10. But everyone needs to start tempering their expectations to the new world of college football and stop thinking Nebraska is a coach and a Tommie Frazier away from 94, 95 and 97.