Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 1, 1978)
friday, September 1, 1978
Skywriters part of annual media push to kickoff season
Forty -four of them filed into the.
lounge of UNL's South Stadium. They
had just arrived from Ames, Iowa where
they had critiqued Iowa State Univer
sity's football squad.
Now it was time to look at the Corn
huskers. The group was a strange mixture.
One wore a tee-shirt reading "Super
Cyclones", and another was wearing
shorts, white socks and white tennis
shoes. The man, who stood about 5 feet
5 inches and weighed 200 pounds, re
minded one of Buddy Hackett.
Waiting for Osborne
All forty -four men, however, had one
thing in common: all were carrying small
notepads ready to jot down proverbs
from Tom Osborne.
They were on the Big Eight- Sky
writer's tour which evaluates each Big
Eight team and relays their findings to
The sportswriters from six states
listened to the optimistic Osborne and
twenty minutes later most of them either
swarmed players I.M. Hipp, Tom Sorley
or Rick Berns. As one writer put it they
"were out to bring interesting stories to
Football mania everywhere
All across the nation, sports pages have
been filled with college football propa
ganda for the last two weeks. ABC Sports
prepared its viewers for the season with a
one hour special program.while Sports
Illustrated will soon come out with its
annual college football report.
College football mania, almost as
American as fast food chains, sweeps
the nation every fall. Magnifying the
situation are sportswriters and broad
casters, bringing the same script with
different actors every fall.
The hardest hit areas of this craze
include Birmingham, Alabama;
Columbus, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Michigan;
South Bend, Indiana; Austin, Texas;
Norman, Oklahoma; and Lincoln, Neb
raska. "Bear" is Bama idol
' In Birmingham, thousands idolize
a "Bear" (Bryant), while in Columbus,
they follow a coach (Woody Hayes)
who uses sideline markers for javelin
In South Bend, those who cheer for
Notre Dame's Fighting Irish believe that
God's hair is green, in Norman, thousands
long for Longhorn blood while in Austin,
Longhom fans are out for Sooner blood
even though they may not know what
a Sooner is.
And in Lincoln, diehard Husker fans
will be glued to the tube for the Ala-bama-UNL
game Saturday night, while
others will make the trip to Birmingham
for ABC Sports' grand opening of the
college football season.
The Skywriters, who were in Lin
coln last Saturday, were searching for a
story of interest to their readers. Buck
Turnbull, of the Des Moines Register,
who has been on the Skywriter's tour for
16 years, told his Iowa readers about how
badly UNL wants to beat Iowa State.
The headline to Turnbull's story read,
"Husker's Number One Priority: Beat
Win Soriey' needed
Even though Osborne mentioned little
about the Iowa State game, Turnbull
based his story on Tom Sorley's quotes.
Sorley told Turnbull that Eastern
Nebraska fans would rather beat ISU than
Oklahoma because of their friends and
relatives across the Missouri River.
"We (Skywriters) try to get a story of
interest to our readers," Turnbull said.
"I'm sure they could care less who
the third string fullback is."
Only first string backs seemed to get
the attention Saturday. Hipp, Berns,
Sorley were answering questions until the
reporter's bus left.
On the tour for nine years with the
Wichita Eagl&Beacon, Charlie Smith said
he has learned that it is the same story
Same thing every year
"That's why we asked Osborne all the
Oklahoma questions, it's interesting to our
readers" Smith said. "It's the same every
year, just look at Oklahoma, and Nebraska
as the top teams."
First year Skywriter Randy York, of the
Lincoln JournalStar, said the tour is a
great way to publicize the conference and
"Every fall when you fill up a stadium
with 80,000 people, it deserves the publi
city it gets," York said.
When Osborne was asked to compare
UNL's physical strengths with Oklahoma's,
Osborne made it sound as if the sports
writers should be coaches. "You guys
probably know better than I do. You see
them more than I dQ."
So the college football season is off and
running until New Year's Day of 1979.
There will be footballs kicked, thrown
and fumbled and it will all be seen on
television, heard on radio, and read in the
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UNL's football team opens their season
Saturday night in a "Bear" of a football
game. The Huskers will be in Birming
ham to face the University of Alabama
and its legendary head coach Paul
"Bear" Bryant (right). The Crimson
Tide, led by quarterback Jeff Ru Hedge
(11), will be looking to avenge last
year's 31-24 loss to Nebraska in Lin
coln. UNLs defense returns six starters
from a year ago, including end George
Andrews (96) and tackle Bfll Barnett
The fifth game in history between
the two schools, currently tied at two
games apiece, wfll be televised by
ABC-TV at 8 p.m. tomorrow night.
Photos by Td Kirfc
Home field may help Alabama to victory
September football fever is here again and while most
colleges wait until next week to open the season, one of
the top contenders for the national title opens the season
Alabama's Crimson Tide, left out of last year's title
picture when Notre Dame romped over Texas in the
Cotton Bowl, is picked by many to move one step up
for the 1978 crown.
Bear Bryant's 2 1st edition at Bama is the No. 1 pre
season pick by AP, UPI and a host of other top 20 polls.
But tomorrow at 8 pjn. on national television, Ala
bama faces the Nebraska Comhuskers, the team who kept
the Tide from a perfect season last year.
The Huskers, rated 10th in both polls, figure to be
strong again under Tom Osborne.
Both offenses look strong with the likes of Jeff Rut
ledge and Tony Nathan for Alabama and I.M. Hipp, Rick
Berns and Tom Sorley for UNL
While Nebraska's defense may be suspect, Alabama's
may be hurting because of a knee injury to tackle David
Therefore, the game might be similar to the Husker's
31-24 win over Alabama last year. But that was ir. Lin
coln. Nebraska should feel lucky they're not playing in
Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa where the Bear is
57-1 with 42 straight wins.
Instead the Huskers travel to Legion Field in Birming
ham where Bryant is only 54-104, including 11 in a row.
So Alabama 24, Nebraska 17.
The women's basketball team will have tryouts this
weekend for anyone interested who has had a physical
examination. Tryouts begin tonight at 6 in room 313
at Mabel Lee Hall, and will continue through next
Monday. For more information contact head coach Lorrie
Gallagher at 472-1148.
The women's field hockey club will have practices
from 3:45 to 5:45 pjn. weekdays on the playing field
behind Mabel Lee Hall. Head coach Harriet Gould is
encouraging anyone interested in playing to attend.
Dave Harshman, assistant basketball coach at UNL last
season , has left to accept s similar position at Michigan
State University. Graduate assistant Tom Baack has been
promoted to take Harshman 's place.
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