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If this is a Monday that deletes winter from spring and delivers sunshine all the way to Memorial Day, then maybe we really can trust that day. This Monday certainly was not everything we hoped it would be, nor was it something we could guarantee, but we still feel rather bullish about these three quick-hitters from an N-Sider’s point of view.
No 1: Congratulations to Nebraska’s Media Relations Team, led by Assistant Athletic Director Keith Mann. That hard-working group was more than worthy of another “Super 11” designation from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), headquartered in Dallas. Tim Griffin, the FWAA’s 2010 president and chairman of the Super 11 selection committee, says the award represents “the best of the best” sports information departments that support football. Griffin pointed out that Nebraska is the only school that has won a Super 11 honor from two different conferences and told me that is considered no small feat by the selection committee, which admires the NU Media Relations Team’s ability to adapt and adjust to dramatic change. If asked to choose 11 words to describe what fuels ‘Super 11’ status, the first seven would be culture, content, contacts, conduct, criteria, conferences and coaches. The last four would be media access and player accommodation, before and after practices and pregame/postgame. Nobody does it better than Nebraska, which has a long, proud, half-century history of meeting media demands. Of the 11 schools achieving Super 11 status for 2012, nine are first-time honorees in this four-year-old category. Georgia, Nebraska’s New Year’s Day opponent in Orlando’s 2013 Capital One Bowl, has earned Super 11 status in all four years. USC ranks second with three Super 11s and Nebraska is tied with three other NCAA Division I schools with two awards each. Clemson, Utah and future Big Ten member Rutgers are the only other multiple winners. Kudos to Mann’s full-time staff: Jeff Griesch, Shamus McKnight, Jeremy Foote, Matt Smith, Hilary Winter, Scott Bruhn, Annie Wood and Vicki Capazo. Mann’s team is uniquely gifted in the way it integrates the efforts of other full-time staff members and student interns to accommodate the media in every way possible. If Nebraska doesn’t serve the largest media corps that regularly covers a college football program, it would have be close to the largest. The only other three Big Ten Conference schools that have merited Super 11 honors are Minnesota (2012), Michigan State (2011) and Northwestern (2010).
No. 2: Monday’s announcement from Mann’s team that Nebraska will host two BTN primetime games struck a chord here. Love opening the season at home in a 7 p.m. CT nationally televised game Aug. 31 against Wyoming, the school that sent Bob Devaney to Lincoln and Nebraska to immediate and unprecedented heights that include the best record in college football over the last half century and 50 consecutive years of home sellouts at Memorial Stadium. A week later, on Sept. 7, Nebraska will host Southern Miss in another BTN nationally televised non-conference contest. Kickoff for that one is 5 p.m. Hey, maybe we can invite Drew Carey to the game. It will be, after all, a five o’clock world when the whistle blows, and Tim Beck will have his offense tuned up and ready because, one week later, UCLA comes to town for the third of five consecutive home games (followed by South Dakota State and Illinois). By the way, does anyone remember Memorial Stadium ever having a 5 o’clock kickoff? Mann can’t remember one, but that only means the answer will require some research.
No. 3: How do you feel about Nebraska selling out its men’s season basketball ticket allotment six months before Pinnacle Bank Arena opens its doors to big-name entertainment and big-time Big Ten basketball? Stunned is the first word that comes to mind. I mean, I know former players and even loyal donors who were shocked with that development but are only blaming themselves for failing to act. One thing seems certain. If the new season ticket holders are unavailable for just about any game in the upcoming inaugural season, they won’t have trouble finding friends, family or others who want in on the action. Tim Miles was the consummate communicator whenever he had a spare moment, and Husker fans bought what he was selling. The next step, of course, is bigger and decidedly more difficult, and Miles doesn’t sidestep what he wants to see to help hold up his end of the bargain. “I want everybody to show up,” he said. “I want everybody to stand up, and I want everybody to shout at the top of their lungs when they get inside the arena.” The fans who shared Miles’ vision will be the ones sitting in their precious new seats. Now I know what Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman meant when he said Husker fans seized this opportunity to get in on the ground floor. “You know how we’ve all watched for a long time those people who bought 50-yard line tickets to Memorial Stadium in the 1920s and how successful that’s been as an investment,” Perlman said. “It’s like buying an insurance policy for future success.”
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