ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
Most coaches I know hate to lose a game, whether it’s football, basketball, cards, ping pong or tiddlywinks. Once the game is over, though, coaches let bygones be bygones. Everything is hunky dory. After all, it’s just a game. Everyone gets along just fine, right? Can’t you feel the love?
It would be interesting to know what coaches think about their fellow coaches. Coaches, like the rest of us, probably get along better with some peers than others.
I don’t know if Nebraska football coach Frank Solich has talked to Colorado coach Gary Barnett since the 62-36 debacle in Boulder, but the two men have plenty to talk about.
Given the spirit of the season-peace, joy and love-maybe the two combatants had a nice heart-to-heart conversation that went something like this:
Solich: I’ve got to hand it to you, Gary. You guys were just too tough for us. You had a great game plan.
Barnett: Thanks, Frank. You are too kind. Your players played hard. My players played hard, but the bounces just seemed to go our way. I’m sure if we played the game again, the result might be different.
Solich: I would hope so, but we’ll never know.
Barnett: Now, Frank. I doubt we’d score 62 points again. I suspect that you might hold us to 40 or 50 next time. Of course, you’d probably only score 25-30, but anything could happen.
Solich: Now wait just a cotton pickin’ second, Mr. Barnett. Your team is good, but you did lose a home game to Fresno State. And as I recall, Texas whupped you good the first time you played them.
Barnett: Thanks for bringing that up, Mr. Solich. May I remind you that you wouldn’t be in the Rose Bowl if we hadn’t beaten Texas in the rematch, if Oklahoma State hadn’t beaten Oklahoma, if Tennessee hadn’t beaten Florida or if LSU hadn’t beaten Tennessee? Talk about a run of luck.
Solich: Don’t bother me with details, Mr. Buffalo-breath.
Barnett: Details, Mr. Corncob? Not only did you fail to win the Big XII championship, you didn’t even win the Big XII northern division. You didn’t win anything.
Solich: And your point is?
Barnett: My point is, you don’t deserve to play in the Rose Bowl.
Solich: Silly me. And I foolishly thought that the goal is to be one of the top two teams in the BCS so we can play for the national championship. We finished second in the BCS rankings, so we must have done something right.
Barnett: I’ll have you know, Mr. Sore Loser, that if we beat Oregon in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, that we may well be named the national champions in the Associated Press poll.
Solich: You can forget about that if we lose to Miami in the Rose Bowl. But you make a good point, Gary. First of all let me apologize for losing my temper. I shouldn’t have gotten so personal.
Barnett: Aw shucks, Frank. I can’t stay mad at you. Besides, we need each other. Do you realize that if we both win our bowl games, we may wind up sharing the national championship? That would be great for our kids, our universities, and for the Big XII Conference.
Solich: You’re right, Gary. I hope you beat Oregon. We’ll try to do our part and beat Miami. I’m glad we had this heart-to-heart talk. By the way, what’s your home address? I’d like to send you a token of my appreciation for our friendship.
Barnett: That’s awfully nice of you, Frank. What is it?
Solich: Oh, it’s not much really. I just thought that while I’m at the Rose Bowl, I’d send you a dozen roses.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER