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Tipsheet: Nebraska turns showdown into showcase

Tipsheet: Nebraska turns showdown into showcase

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Tipsheet was looking forward to the Nebraska-Kansas State game, expecting the Wildcats to take a good run at their neighbors to the north.

This was the final Cornhusker visit to Manhattan, Kan., before leaving the Big 12. Wildcats coach Bill Snyder was celebrating his 71st birthday. The stage was set for exciting Thursday night showdown on ESPN.

But it never materialized. The Cornhuskers leaned all over K-State 48-13. Quarterback Taylor Martinez, a redshirt freshman, ran for 241 yards and four touchdowns.

Hello!

“The fans were saying some pretty harsh things when we got here,” Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul told reporters, “so we had to shut them up.”

The Huskers are certainly making the most of their final Big 12 season.

Here is how Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger put it: “This Big 12 breakup already felt like Nebraska moving on to a better relationship, and after a 48-13 debilitation of Kansas State here in front of a national television audience on Thursday night, it looks like the Huskers will get our shiny football championship trophy in the settlement. It’s like they’re leaving us for the hot yoga instructor, and taking the good car, too.”

As for the Wildcats, it’s back to the drawing board.

“Happy birthday,” Snyder said as he opened his postgame news conference. “I hope yours was better than mine.”

HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE UMPIRING

Postseason baseball brings out the best in TV crews. We get extra camera angles and terrific slow-motion replays.

We get an up-close look at Our National Pastime – and how bad umpiring can screw up a good thing. Yahoo Sports columnist Jeff Passan took aim at that:

Good ball-and-strike umpires are difficult to find, sure, but not so much that MLB should be forced to stick bad ones in vital games. On the day Tim Lincecum threw an all-time postseason gem, and a day after Roy Halladay threw the first postseason no-hitter in more than 50 years, baseball couldn’t escape the umpiring screw-ups that have plagued it for three seasons running.

This is a matter of integrity. Umpires, as Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, “aren’t robots, and they don’t have X-ray vision.” They must, however, live up to a high standard, and those who don’t ought to be jettisoned. Forget the union. MLB broke it once. Forget the politics. Baseball need not kowtow. There is too much at stake.

STOCK CAR RACING HARDER THAN IT LOOKS

Why did Danica Patrick jump to NASCAR before she mastered the IndyCar circuit? Well, she’s got a pretty face. And she has a great marketing team.

So what if she had no chance to succeed racing with the big boys in the big cars? This is America. Image is everything.

Now, belatedly, Patrick has gained an appreciation for stock car racing. Her average finish on the Nationwide circuit is 31st. Most recently she finished 35th at Dover.

It’s time to get this lady some help.

“We talked about a month or two ago about having a driving coach and nothing ended up happening,” Patrick told the Los Angeles Times. “After Dover we all just kind of went, you know what? We need to get this program together.”

MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE

Questions to ponder while waiting for the Reds to get going in the playoffs:

Could the Cardinals get a nice return for Colby Rasmus? And would that deal have the desired impact on team chemistry?

Will Tiki Barber ever figure out why nobody likes him?

Can former Rams receiver Kevin Curtis come back from his most serious malady yet?

Is it any wonder that many suburban parents steer their sons toward soccer and not football?

Since when is the NBA cracking down on playful spanking?

Will Saturday's Brett Hull ceremony make you wonder what might have happened if the team kept Adam Oates?

QUIPS ‘R US

Here is what some of America’s leading sports pundits have been writing:

DJ Gallo, ESPN.com: “(Jaroslav) Halak carried eighth-seeded Montreal to the Eastern Conference finals last season. The 25-year-old's reward? Getting traded to the Blues for prospects. Too bad. If Garth Snow had been his GM, he would've been signed to a 40-year contract.”

Peter King, SI.com, picking the Rams in Motown: “Toughest game to pick this weekend. Don't laugh. It is. I think the Lions shut down Steven Jackson, but Sam Bradford makes enough throws to put the Rams over .500 for the first time in October since the Cro-Magnon walked the earth.”

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times: “You can try to plot out a season until you're Boise State blue in the face, but the joy is running smack-dab into things you never see coming. We offer this week No. 17 Michigan State (5-0) at No. 18 Michigan (5-0), a flower that sprouted from a dump. It would have been maize-boggling a month ago to think this Big Ten Conference stinker in Ann Arbor would have implications beyond the campus police station or an NCAA appeals board.”

Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle: “The NBA says it will crack down on players whining at refs. "Our fan research shows that people think NBA players complain too much." Really? On every call is too much? Now forbidden in the NBA: Air punches, waving off refs, sarcastic clapping, waving arms and jumping up and down in disbelief. And no more combining all those elements into the Full Rasheed.”

Greg Cote, MiamiHerald.com: “NBA.com's annual general manager survey is out, 28 GMs participated, and the Lakers are the pick to win the title, with 63 percent to the Heat's 33 percent. Kevin Durant is the strong pick for MVP with 67 percent to Kobe Bryant's 26 percent. Not much love for Miami in these numbers and even less for LeBron. Then again, NBA GMs are the guys who wish they could have accomplished what the Heat did accomplish, so this vote being slightly flavored with sour grapes is a possibility, it says here.”

MEGAPHONE

“To all the Vikings fans that are coming to the Metrodome, pull your 84 jerseys out, man. I think this is going to be a fun ride.”

Randy Moss, trumpeting his return to Minnesota.

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