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The Inside Track | T.J. SIMERS

Corn-Fed Remark Gives Nebraskan a Bad Taste

January 01, 2002|T.J. Simers

It seems there was a misunderstanding when I wrote recently, "I know the women in Nebraska are corn-fed and a little more substantial than ourstarlets ... "

I'm kicking myself now, of course, because when you're busy writing a column, you make a number of changes until you finally send it in to be printed, and originally I had written that line to read: "I know the women in Nebraska are corn-fed and little more substantial--OK, a ton more substantial--than our starlets ... "

I chose to be concise, and now some people think I wasn't as flattering as I could have been, when you can see I had every intention of nearly going overboard to give the women of Nebraska their due for being more well-rounded than our starlets.

Tracey Kenny apparently mistook my compliment for some kind of derogatory comment, which goes to show you she must not read Page 2 very often. Kenny, who uses the e-mail moniker bighuskerfan, and I have no doubt about that, wrote to say, "Comments like this are really out of line. Take potshots at the BCS, but leave comparisons like this one out of your column."

Now I'd like to stop right here, and make a New Year's resolution to take better direction from e-mailers this year--not starting my column every day until I've been told what I should write about and what I should leave out. This will render sports editor Bill Dwyre useless, of course, so Happy New Year, indeed.

Under Dwyre's guidance, I've only made people mad.

"What you have written demeans women," wrote bighuskerfan, "and suggests all Los Angeles women are starlets, which they are not, or all women in Nebraska are huge, which they are not. I know women from Nebraska that are model beautiful and women in Los Angeles that have lots to lose. What does that have to do with the national championship game?"

I'm afraid this has everything to do with the national championship game.

There are going to be more than 92,000 fans in the Rose Bowl on Thursday--with half of those people sitting on benches built with the expectation that each one of them will have a rump no wider than 17 inches--and with as many as 35 people to a row, if the rump runneth over, you're going to have fans on the end of each row falling into the aisles. If some Cornhusker decides to stretch in the third quarter, we're looking at a major pileup.

Considering the average rump of a Nebraskan, well, wouldn't it be a fun Southwest Airlines ride to Omaha in the middle seat between two Cornhusker fans. USA Today reported Monday that the Cornhuskers are squeezing out Miami supporters--claiming 50,000 Nebraska fans may be sitting in the Rose Bowl at game time.

Imagine the chaos after the national anthem when a whole row of 25-inchers try to sit down at the same time. Once seated, and someone gets up for a restroom break, we're talking about a real Nebraska land grab here.

Some of this, of course, hits close to home. We have one of those curving couches that takes up two walls so that my wife has some place to sit. It also doubles nicely as a bed when you make the mistake of asking your wife if you can measure her rump to help out the column. I told her there might be some starlets out there a little more cooperative, and you know where she told me to go--Nebraska.

Now frankly, I hadn't given any thought to this until bighuskerfan misinterpreted my remarks about the substantial women of Nebraska, but if she really means what I think she means, it does raise the question: Do 50,000 fans from South Beach-Miami need less sitting room than 50,000 corn-fed Nebraskans?

I asked Darryl Dunn, general manager of the Rose Bowl, "What happens if there's a rump runover?" and he said, "That's when customer service comes into play."

I think I know their solution, but this could delay the start of the national championship game and make quite a ruckus if Rose Bowl customer service has to start rearranging the fans--putting a Miami fan next to every Nebraska rump.

*

SAN DIEGO Charger General Manager John Butler told reporters he made up his mind Sunday night to fire Coach Mike Riley, although everyone in the NFL knows that Butler had come to that conclusion weeks ago.

Butler refused to let Riley play rookie Drew Brees down the stretch because it might have upset Doug Flutie, the Mission Bay Shrimp finishing the season with nine consecutive losses.

Butler was the GM in Buffalo, and before leaving that team a shambles, he had been at the center of the Flutie-Rob Johnson controversy.

The Chargers still owe Flutie millions in guaranteed money, so Butler must find a coach willing to pamper Flutie, which bodes well for Jet defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who worked with Butler in Buffalo.

Some thought Norv Turner would be the next Charger coach, but Flutie has been badmouthing him behind the scenes.

Aren't you excited about the Chargers moving to L.A.?

*

ODDSMAKERS SAY it's 6-4 that Anna Kournikova wins her first official tennis tournament this year. I intend to keep my eye on her to see if she can do it.

*

TODAY'S LAST word comes in an e-mail from Sid:

"I've been in the newspaper publishing business since 1957. Perhaps you should stop trying to be so cute--and I might add, ignorant--and seek a new means of employment."

My bosses--they're such kidders.

*

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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