Photo Credit: John Peterson

Drake’s Takes: Husker COVID Postponements and NFL Playoffs

January 21, 2022

This week’s Drake’s Takes covers recent postponements in Nebraska athletics, along with talk about the NFL Playoffs.

Nebraska hit hard by COVID

Nebraska athletics had 13 sporting events scheduled in the four-day stretch from January 20 to January 23. It seems notable that six of those events have been canceled. 

Women’s basketball had yesterday’s game against Rutgers and Sunday’s matchup with Illinois canceled due to health and safety protocols on the Husker side. Men’s basketball’s game with Ohio State tomorrow was called off for the same reason. The priority here is obviously the health of the players, but it’s also unfortunate for how it disrupts both teams’ seasons. 

On the women’s side, the 13-4 Huskers need to get back on track after dropping four of their last five games in a challenging stretch. Rutgers and Illinois, both bottom three teams in the conference currently, would’ve been great opportunities to do just that. 

Of course, Nebraska is capable of bouncing back against any team, and still has a favorable situation. If no more games are postponed, it’ll return to play against 4-13 Wisconsin, which is one of three straight home games. 

The urgency is more intense in men’s hoops. You aren’t going to find much of an easy stretch on the schedule for Fred Hoiberg’s team, but with the return of Trey McGowens, more games will be helpful when it comes to getting the guard and the team back into a rhythm. 

Nebraska should hopefully avoid a situation like last year’s, when it had to play seven games over the span of 12 days. 

The Husker rifle and women’s gymnastics teams also have had matches called off this weekend, with the latter being a result of COVID issues on the opponent’s side. 

It’s very unfortunate how big of an issue COVID still is in Nebraska and everywhere. The best we can do is continue to take the precautions necessary. 

NFL playoffs

On another note, the NFL is heading into the divisional round this weekend after an up-and-down Wild Card Weekend.

There were two close games out of six in the opening round, with the Bengals holding on against the Raiders and the 49ers doing the same against the Cowboys. 

The Cowboys’ loss was especially notable, and almost made up for the four snooze fests in the round by itself. The ending was incredibly wild, with Dallas dialing up a quarterback draw and Dak Prescott sliding in bounds with 10 seconds left.

My only compliment to the play call is that it was, well, creative. With San Francisco playing the sidelines, it was unexpected and a guaranteed big gain. However, a lot went wrong. 

Prescott slid too late, a 49ers player employed the late-game tactic of trying to sneakily slow the quarterback from getting back up, and the referee bumped into Prescott on his way to spot the ball. By the time all this wrapped up, the clock hit zeroes. 

Plenty of blame was put on the officials for not spotting the ball quickly enough. I really don’t care to talk about the validity of that. What I do know, especially from watching Nebraska football this fall, is that when you open the door for dumb things to happen, they will happen 99% of the time. That’s what happened to Dallas. 

The second round of these playoffs should be a lot more entertaining. Derrick Henry will be back against the Bengals. The Bills and Chiefs should play a fantastic, high-scoring game. The NFC matchups are impossible to predict, and I like all four teams remaining. 

There’s little chance we see blowouts like we did in the first round this weekend. At this point, I don’t even really have a specific Super Bowl matchup I’m hoping for, because I’m convinced it’ll be a high-quality game no matter what.

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