This week’s Drake’s Takes focuses all on the current excitement of sports, including a very intriguing Nebraska football game this weekend.
Finally, some excitement
After last week’s close loss to Oklahoma, I’m the most interested in a Nebraska football game that I’ve been in a while.
The last two weeks, the Huskers have looked good against legitimate teams. No other way to put it. This defense has shown that at very least, it’ll be able to keep Nebraska in most, if not every game remaining. The offense still has to work out some things — it’s struggled to finish drives and the running back spot is still a question mark — but there’s been competence shown that we haven’t seen in a little while.
Adrian Martinez has played really well, and his first interception of the season came on a superhuman fourth down play by a defender. The wide receivers still have to prove themselves in Big Ten play, but they’ve shown reasons to be hopeful.
No. 20 Michigan State will be a great test for Nebraska. You may have heard the number 8.6 quite a bit this week, as that’s how many yards per carry Spartan starting running back Kenneth Walker III averages. A win here would undoubtedly be the biggest of Scott Frost’s Nebraska career, and I don’t think it’s out of reach.
Funny enough though, I don’t know if it’s as important as I’ve seen it made out to be this week. The Huskers can afford to lose this game. The needle doesn’t move much for me if they lose by a score or two. If they get blown out and look awful, then we might have to talk about that, but I don’t think it’ll go that way. If the Huskers come up short of bowl eligibility at the end of the year, this won’t be one of the games we look at being a missed opportunity.
The high intrigue doesn’t come from the idea that something drastic will happen if Nebraska loses, but the fact that interest in this team will skyrocket if it wins. I’ll pick Michigan State, but a Husker win doesn’t feel out of reach.
Great things are happening in sports
Maybe I’m the only one here, but the altered pandemic college sports schedules last year made me forget just how many sports things usually happen at once. Now, I’ve been overloaded (in a good way).
There are a lot of things to be happy about. The MLB is heading toward the end of its season. The WNBA playoffs began last night with a pair of great games. It’s hard for me to say this after watching the Texans and Panthers play an uninteresting game yesterday, but the NFL season has been incredible thus far.
And a fully normal college sports schedule has been added into the mix. I’m a bit disappointed by the performances of top college football teams that aren’t Alabama, but we’ve still gotten a bunch of great games with more to come. College volleyball being back to a fall schedule is great as well, even with Nebraska’s recent struggles.
Off the field, name, image and likeness deals continue to range from hilarious to important. I’m not sure even an NIL deal could make me go to Arby’s, but the #ArbysRBs campaign they’re doing is a fun one.
Former Husker Wan’Dale Robinson is making large impacts on and off the field as well with Kentucky. The receiver had over 100 yards in each of the Wildcats’ first three games. He also announced a deal with Ford recently and said that a portion of every NIL deal he gets will go to a foundation that assists kids with incarcerated parents. That’s great to see.
On top of all this, the NBA starts in a month. It’s a fun time to like sports.
Stop being nerds
One of the best moments from the Oklahoma game, in my opinion, was Sooner defensive back DJ Graham’s insane one-handed interception.
While this was undoubtedly a cool play, some on the internet rushed to point out that it cost Oklahoma field position. It did. If Graham batted it down, it would’ve been better for the Sooners.
However, if you are one of those people, I encourage you to stop being a nerd. OK, I guess I can word that better.
I’m aware this is a silly discussion to some extent, and there’s nothing actually wrong with having that reaction to that play. Still, I think there’s value in encouraging people not to dismiss the insanity of Graham’s play because of the slight disadvantage it created.
I’m a big proponent of operating off vibes in certain instances. In any form of entertainment, whether that be sports or a TV show or otherwise, I do enjoy having more serious thoughts and thinking critically about things. That being said, the vibes have the power to overrule that.
When I see Graham make a superhuman interception, or Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson flip into the endzone to take the lead against the Chiefs, or King Kong land a big ‘ol punch on Godzilla, the absurd greatness of those things is all I can care about in that moment.
I don’t mind that Oklahoma sacrificed field position, or that Jackson risked his health a little bit, or that the plot of Godzilla vs Kong was not good. I am going to make excited noises that I don’t really understand, because that makes me feel good.
Oftentimes, I try to strike a balance between serious analysis and jokes. This section here is kind of an example of that in itself. It’s not easy to have a nuanced take about running around the room when you see something crazy happen. There’s a lot of value in both sides, and this is very situational and not a mindset you can apply to everything.
For me, a few slight downsides won’t stop me from prioritizing the good vibes of sports and other forms of entertainment.