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Columnists
J O H N   A D A M S

FORUMS | CHAT | PRINT THIS STORY

Nebraska looking scary as likely Vols' opponent

ADAMS
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By John Adams, sports editor
December 5, 1999

At halftime of the Big 12 Championship Game, Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey probably was knocking on the Atlanta hotel-room door of John Junker, the executive director of the Fiesta Bowl.

Their Saturday night conversation might have gone like this:

Junker: I guess you're ready to take the early shuttle bus to the Georgia Dome. The way Nebraska is playing, Texas is lucky to be down only 15 points. This could get ugly.

Dickey: Well, this wouldn't be the first time a Nebraska game got ugly. You might remember what happened to our Vols in the Orange Bowl a couple of years ago.

Junker: Boy, do I remember it. My wife and I were watching on a restaurant television. I think Nebraska gained about 250 yards between the appetizer and the salad. I guess you're looking forward to getting another shot at the Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl.

Dickey: You bet. But you know, this isn't just about us. Certainly, we'd like nothing better than to avenge that loss.

However, after talking to our people the last couple of days, I wonder if maybe Alabama wouldn't be a better fit for your bowl, providing, of course, Alabama beats Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama fans might be a little more excited about a trip to the Fiesta Bowl since our fans were out there just a year ago.

Junker: But that would put you in the Orange Bowl against Michigan. I'm not sure Michigan vs. Tennessee would be as appealing as a Tennessee-Nebraska game.

Dickey: After watching the first half of the Nebraska-Texas game, I think Tennessee-Michigan would be much more appealing. Besides, Alabama would love to get a crack at Nebraska.

Junker: Why?

Dickey: Gotta run. I want to catch the next shuttle. Keep your fingers crossed for Alabama.

Junker: OK, I trust your judgment.

Dickey: Thanks, John. I owe you one.

In the Georgia Dome press box, Dickey makes a beeline for SEC commissioner Roy Kramer.

Dickey: Should be a great game tonight, Commissioner.

Kramer: Well, at least it should be better than the Big 12 game. Nebraska just scored again. It's 22-0.

I'm just grateful Colorado didn't lose badly to Nebraska a week ago. Otherwise, Nebraska might have passed Virginia Tech in the BCS poll and would be playing Florida State for the national championship. Then, everybody would be howling about how Virginia Tech got shafted.

Dickey: Well, it looks like everything has worked out for the best.

Kramer: For everybody but you.

Dickey: Excuse me?

Kramer: I don't envy you having to play Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl. It took the conference a whole year to get over that em ... uh, loss in the Orange Bowl.

I had to go to the restroom in the third quarter. By the time, I got back, Nebraska had scored twice.

I guess you guys are excited to have a shot at avenging that embarass ... uh, loss.

Dickey: You bet. However, I don't want to be selfish about this.

We get the feeling that our fans might not travel well to Phoenix. That's a long way to go two years in a row.

But if Alabama beats Florida, those Alabama folks couldn't get to Arizona fast enough. I know they would love for their team to get a crack at Nebraska.

Kramer: Why?

Dickey: Trust me on this one, Commissioner. And keep your fingers crossed for Alabama.

Kramer: I respect your opinion, Doug.

Dickey: Thanks. I owe you one.

One more thing: Do you know where the Orange Bowl rep is sitting?

John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adams@knews.com.

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