Welcome back to Three Downs and Punt, this week brought to you from the second floor lounge of the Omaha Hilton. As I type I am looking out over sparkling TD Ameritrade Park as the grandstands are being power washed and the parking lot vendors are taking down their merchandise tents after the College World Series.
As I left the ballpark late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, a rather inebriated man dressed head-to-toe in Nebraska Cornhuskers gear selected me at random, pointed and shouted, "The College World Series is over! Bring on the Big Ten!"
As he stumbled up 13th Street I thanked him for the segue.
First Down: Red Storm Rising
Friday, July 1, does indeed signify Nebraska's official arrival into the Big Ten. And while it has long been standard operating procedure for the citizens of Omaha to use College World Series week as the start of their official countdown to football season, there is a genuine difference in excitement level this year.
Put it this way: On Tuesday afternoon I worked Radio Row, hitting no less than four sports talk radio stations that call Husker Nation home. On the day of the deciding game of college baseball's national championship, the first question from three of the four hosts was about what impact I thought quarterback Russell Wilson's move to Wisconsin would have on the Big Ten title chase.
The fourth station managed to hold off on the topic until its third question.
For Ryan McGee's full take on the expectations facing Nebraska, become an ESPN Insider today.