||Sunday, December 30
Sneaking a peek at a Rose Bowl diary
By Gene Wojciechowski
ESPN The Magazine
My Rose Bowl Diary:
Monday, Dec. 24 -- Nebraska Arrives.
Cornhusker linebacker Jamie Burrow wrestled Barnett to the ground, which if you think about it, is the first time a Nebraska defender has tackled a CU guy since the 2000 game.
Tuesday, Dec. 25 -- Christmas.
What better way to spend Christmas than practicing from 10:45 to 12:45, then having a team dinner that night at a hotel. Later that evening the Nebraska players gathered around a full-size likeness of Gary Barnett and sang BCS carols.
Wednesday, Dec. 26 -- Miami Arrives.
Where's Warren Sapp when you need him?
On the news front, Nebraska's Solich confirmed that reserve defensive tackle Patrick Kabongo didn't make the trip west because of a violation of team rules -- or as it's known at Nebraska, "The Lawrence Phillips Collection."
Thursday, Dec. 27 -- Team Day at Disney's California Adventure Park.
The players seemed to have a good time, especially the Nebraska players. You'd have a good time, too, if you weren't in Nebraska anymore. I couldn't help but overhear one Husker lineman ask a Disney official, "Excuse me, sir, but what is that bright globule form in the distance?"
"You mean, the sun?" said the escort.
"The sun. . . interesting," said the player.
Later, nine Cornhuskers stars were scheduled to play a simulated game of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," with host Regis Philbin, who is doubling as the grand marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade. We missed the actual game, but we understand the Huskers requested a lifeline with BCS chairman John Swofford. It was disallowed by Regis, what with NU already using the lifeline after the Colorado loss.
Meanwhile, Coker ended his day by confusing NU quarterback Eric Crouch with Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch, Dickens' Tiny Tim and the movie, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." This is understandable, what with Coker almost three whole weeks removed from watching Crouch win the Heisman Trophy.
Friday, Dec. 28 -- The First Official Press Conferences.
No, not really. Solich said the trip "so far has gone well." Coker said he appreciated "the opportunity to be here and participate in the Rose Bowl." Thrilling stuff.
Then again, the press didn't offer many interesting questions. In fact, questions were in disturbingly short supply. Instead, there were a lot of, "Can you talk about (fill in the blank)?"
The "Can-You-Talk-About. . ." inquiry is short for, "Can you talk about the fact that I can't construct a legitimate question, so I'll lob you this open-ended mush?"
That night the Hurricanes participated in the 46th Annual Lawry's Beef Bowl. Freshman offensive tackle Carlos Joseph won the team eating championship after chowing down five prime rib dinners. As an added bonus, Joseph also won a gift certificate from the UCLA Medical Center for a complimentary angioplasty special.
Meanwhile, about 100 members of the Nebraska team took in a Los Angeles Lakers game at the Staples Center. When they introduced the players, the crowd booed. At halftime, they were booed. When they showed a few Huskers on the big screen, they were booed. When they left the game, you guessed it, they were booed.
Saturday, Dec. 29 -- Tensions rise.
As for the Cornhuskers and Hurricanes, they practiced and then enjoyed a media-free day.
Sunday, Dec. 30 -- Media Day at the Rose Bowl.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Hurricanes will retreat to the Rose Bowl stands and try to look as if their goose bumps aren't the size of lug nuts.
There is a half-hour break between the Miami and Nebraska interview sessions, which is probably done to prevent any accidental skirmishes between the two teams. If there is a skirmish, it likely will be blamed on Kabongo or former Ohio State coach John Cooper, who gets blamed for everything.
Monday, Dec. 31 -- More Talk.
When NU is done, Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon and five defensive players will go on and on about Crouch. And they should.
Tuesday, Jan. 1 -- Happy New Year.
Wednesday, Jan. 2 -- Tensions Rise. Seriously.
Coker will be gracious. "I just want to compliment Coach Osborne and his team. . ."
Thursday, Jan. 3 -- The Granddaddy Is Played.
Sure, I say -- about 28-27, in favor of Miami.
Gene Wojciechowski is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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