My wife is about ready to kill me. 

Her kindness and patience are extraordinary, but I obviously test all of it. I mean, you can only watch so much Netflix. Eventually people have to talk to each other, right? 

On the other hand, there's something to be said for quiet contemplation. For some of us, though, quiet contemplation quickly spins completely out of control. So, in the spirit of spinning completely out of control, I have an idea.

I'm thinking ahead now to autumn. OK, you might say I'm actually just fantasizing. Stay with me here. You hear the talk out there in regard to how the coronavirus could affect college athletics this year. You hear college administrators even raising the possibility of playing football games this coming fall with no fans in the stands.


That sounds awful. It sounds like terrible TV. Penn State versus Nebraska on a cold, windswept November day with no fans in Memorial Stadium? That seems about as appealing as kidney stones. 

You know what doesn't sound awful? You know what sounds like intriguing TV? Consider this: Penn State versus Nebraska in Milford (population 2,080), at Milford High School, 25 miles west of Lincoln. 

How about South Dakota State versus Nebraska in Crofton (population 680), a stone's throw from the South Dakota border? You get the idea. If possible, Nebraska should avoid playing its home games in a vacant freaking stadium. Doing so would be almost as depressing as World News Tonight, but maybe not as depressing as Jake Tapper's exceedingly dour mug on CNN. Hey, Jake, the world isn't ending, last I checked.

You know what would be gorgeous Americana in a Norman Rockwell sort of way? Cincinnati versus Nebraska at picturesque Pawnee Park in Columbus, amid the pines. 

No, I don't have the virus. I feel fine. And get this: Husker athletic director Bill Moos didn't summarily dismiss my idea. Or perhaps he was just being kind, mindful of the distinct possibility that a global pandemic has sent a local columnist off the rails. Whatever.


"Hey, I've made a career out of thinking of absurd things, and carrying some of them out," Moos said with a chuckle.

Yeah, Moos is a kindhearted soul. But I needed someone to snap me into reality, and I found that person a short time later. He's been involved for years in helping with the gameday organization at Memorial Stadium, and he wasn't overly receptive to my idea of having Minnesota play Nebraska on Nov. 27 at, say, Beechner Stadium in the heart of Lincoln. God, I thoroughly love that idea. 

"It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say," the official told me. 

Oh, c'mon. I've had crazier ideas. 

"There's literally not the infrastructure at a high school stadium needed to put on a big-time telecast — in terms of power, in terms of camera location," the official said. "Are you going to have instant replay? Because if you are going to have it, you better have a system ready. Do you have the ability to have headsets (for coaches) wired from the press box to the field? Do you have coaching booths for both staffs? 

"Do you have proper medical facilities? Memorial Stadium has an X-ray machine on site. Are the locker rooms big enough?" 

OK, OK, OK. I get it.

"Granted, there wouldn't be 80,000 people at these games, but there would be friends and family," the official continued, my grand fantasy evaporating with his every word. "So there's going to be 500 people at these games. What if there's a thunderstorm? Do you have a command post for severe weather?

"I don't know why you'd even bring this up. I mean, they already play bowl games in empty stadiums, right?" 

Exactly, and that's a bad look. But Nebraska playing South Dakota State in Crofton — "This is Kevin Kugler alongside Matt Millen, live from Crofton, Nebraska!" — would be a fresh and intriguing look. I'm not saying this fantasy would work well for every team in the country. But man, it would play well in our state if the networks would only try to make it work.


How about Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler rolling into Milford on a crisp autumn Saturday? What a memory for all involved. Talk about a charming scene. Talk about a great memory from an awful time in world history. On the other hand, I'm not exactly wild about turning on Michigan-Ohio State on Nov. 28 and watching the heated rivalry play out in an empty Ohio Stadium (capacity 105,000). Tell me that's appealing TV. Give me break. 

Give me Michigan playing Ohio State in a small high school venue in rural Ohio. That would be fascinating TV, novel TV. 

I bet Jim Harbaugh would embrace it.

Yeah, it's probably just a fantasy. Guess I'll go back to watching "Ozark" on Netflix. 

Thanks for listening, and you're welcome for the visual.