THE BOYS ARE BACK FOR CINCO DE SEMANA!
It’s Week 5 of the high school football season, which is the apex of our regular season schedule here on KSCJ. This week, the boys are at Memorial Field to bring you all the action as the Bishop Heelan Crusaders welcome the visiting LeMars Bulldogs. The Crusaders are led by head coach Jerry Steffen. The Bulldogs are coached by Gabe Tardive.
Visitors to Memorial Field this season will see the brand new field turf installed during late Summer. This was an $800,000 effort by both Heelan and Briar Cliff, made possible through major donations from local businessmen Leonard Gill, Irving Jensen, Jr., and Eldon Roth. It is quite a sight to behold. The turf is pristine. In fact, our broadcast team received a memo earlier this week asking us to remove our shoes before we walk on it.
Speaking of $800,000…that’s just a bit less than the check written by the University of Nebraska to Northern Illinois University last week. In return, NIU handed the Huskers an embarrassing 21-17 loss at home, sending Husker Nation into meltdown mode. In fact, NIU received $1.27 million from Nebraska last year when Nebraska backed out of a scheduled match-up at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Following the loss, the post-game call-in show was crazy. Callers blamed AD Shawn Eichorst, head coach Mike Riley, recruiting, the eclipse…anywhere several inebriated minds could find to place blame.
Every school has its celebrity fans. USC has Will Ferrell. Notre Dame has Vince Vaughn. Iowa has both Tom Arnold and Ashton Kutcher.
Nebraska has….Larry the Cable Guy. He was not amused about his beloved Huskers not gittin’ ‘er done last Saturday. He tweeted, “AD has to go. Nothing personal but College football is better when Nebraska, a top 5 all time winning team) is better. The fact that we were.” (Not worded the goodest, but you get the idea.)
Eichorst has taken a lot of flak from Huskers fans. But nearly 3 years ago, it was the Iowa Hawkeye fans who were taking the Nebraska AD to task after he fired head coach Bo Pelini. It wasn’t the firing that upset the black and gold. After all, Pelini’s Huskers had just beaten the Hawks on Black Friday at Kinnick Stadium. But in announcing Pelini’s firing after a 9-3 season, Eichorst said, “I had to evaluate where Iowa was.” This was the AD’s PC way of saying, “Sure, Pelini beat Iowa, but Iowa sucks.”
Since Eichorst made those comments, Iowa has gone 23-8 overall, while Nebraska has gone 16-14. In head-to-head competition, the Hawks are 2-0.
Of course, Nebraska can certainly right the ship. But the mediocrity of the first 2-plus years of the Riley Administration is weighing on the Husker fans’ patience. Eichorst quietly extended Riley’s contract prior to the NIU game, signing him through 2020. At 1-2 now, Nebraska has yet to face Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Penn State this season. All 3 of those game are at Memorial Stadium, but they are all against top-ten opponents.
Eichorst has already lost Larry the Cable Guy. The university president may not be far behind. But if he is like most AD’s, the head coach will be the sacrificial lamb.
UPDATE: 16 hours after this piece was initially published, the University of Nebraska announced it was parting ways with Shawn Eichorst. In the immediate future, Nebraska will be paying an aggregate of more than $2.4 million/year to Bo Pelini and Shawn Eichorst, both former employees of the university.
On Saturday, the Iowa Hawkeyes will be back at Kinnick Stadium to face Penn State. Kickoff is at 6:30. Join Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak for the pregame beginning at 4:30 on KSCJ. This is the big ABC-TV prime time game, with the A-crew broadcasting team of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. The Iowa State Cyclones are off this week.
All three boys will be crammed into the booth this week. Justin Barker will bring you the play-by-play, with Dan Vakulskas joining him as the color analyst, judging the game one play at a time. Brian Vakulskas will be there, too.
It’s been a rough week for JB.
In 2016, JB was working at radio station KOKC in Oklahoma City. He accepted an offer to come to work for KSCJ.
Last Sunday night, Twitter user @ColeCashwell asked JB to “give me one legitimate reason” for leaving KOKC for KSCJ. Here was the actual tweet: “@jgbark2 man I respect the hell outta you but give me one legitimate reason for leaving KOKC other than getting a Marconi”.
Using the third person, JB replied: “He didn’t like the organization or broadcasting with [morning co-host] Tod Tucker. The programming lineup wasn’t that good. It was just him and Rush.”
In another tweet, he said, “Imagine taking Rush off that broadcast lineup, see how bad they are. JB can’t win with those cats.”
Those tweets have since been deleted.
JB’s use of the third-person in the tweets prompted much speculation that he thought he was using another account, perhaps as a sock puppet to get his point across anonymously. JB immediately denied that, although he admitted, “It did kind of look that way.”
Two days later, JB addressed the situation.
“I played a little too much, and that (expletive) really hurt me,” JB, who first addressed the situation on a TechCrunch panel about radio broadcasters and branding, told USA TODAY Sports afterward. “To know that I affected Tod Tucker and KOKC – like I love those people and I don’t never (want to hurt them).
Kickoff is set for 7:00 Friday night, with the Knova’s Carpets Pregame Show at 6:00.
Pregame interview with Bishop Heelan head coach Jerry Steffen:
Pregame opening segment:
Davenport Cleaners halftime interview with Bishop Heelan alum and Iowa Hawkeyes catcher Tyler Cropley: