Updated: Friday, May 26, 2006

Not again...

I have to stop doing this. I should have learned my lesson last thursday. This time, I wind up in the middle of freaking Colorado thanks to Frank "the Tank" Solich. I don't call him "the tank," he kind of self-applied the label in the middle of last night's karaoke finale. "No Sleep till Brooklyn" quickly morphed into "No Sleep till Denver!" as Frank did a body shot off a Hooters waitress and stormed out the door. He was my ride, so my hands were tied.

Next thing I know, we're barrelling into Colorado in Frank's old Cutlass, and he's going on and on about how there's opportunity in town, where the beer flows like wine. I figure out what he's yammering about as we pull up to the Broadmoor resort, host of the annual Big 12 commissioners meetings. Opportunity indeed. I can get a head start on gunning for some kind of commentator gig while Frank sleeps off his tequila buzz in the car. I move him into the passenger's seat, and I give the valet $10 to get us and spot with easy out, I figure we'll need it.

Founded as a gambling casino in 1891, you'd think the Broadmoor would have seen this coming.

I guess when your athletic programs can cash in on over $100 million dollars in revenue, you can class it up in a hotel like the Broadmoor. Whew! I'm sure I've been escorted out of nicer places, but only a few. They've got everything, golf, tennis, schvitz, and a 19th century English pub, The Golden Bee. Its right around the hob-knobbing hour as I get there, so I straighten out my tie and make sure I don't smell too much like spicy chicken wings.

Bellying up to the bar, Nebraska's Steve Pedersen and Bill Callahan recognize me immediately. They break off their conversation and roll up beside me. Bill gets us all a round of Coors, and we start to talk about old times, Bill with the Raiders and me still with ESPN. The guys are convinced the program is set to step it up this year, especially with another pushover game to prop up the old bowl resume. Bill's convinced 10-2 with a North division title is very doable. We're all brimming with confidence when Frank decides to show up.

Things start off very civil. No love lost between Steve and Frank, you can see it in their eyes. Frank buys the next round and conversation quickly turns to how he's turning things around in Ohio, how 9 wins shoud be a reachable goal, and maybe he'll get to play the Huskers by Christmas. Ouch. At this point, voices are raised, bottles are broken, and I have to keep Frank back from shiving these guys. Frank's screamed, "Oh so, 10 wins is good enough for him, eh? I never got embarrassed by ISU or Kansas! I will cut you, Callahan, and that is for real!" Simply stunning.

With that, a couple of large security officers entered the Golden Bee. Frank drops his broken bottle and charges right for them. He jacks the one on the left head on. Bull rush, perfect technique. He follows up with a well-timed swim move and breaks free into the open lobby. I quickly say my goodbyes to the Huskers and start sprinting after him, he's still my ride.

I get to the parking lot, and there he is, splayed out on the roof of the Cutlass, all tuckered out. That tip to the valet really came in handy, as he slowed down the pursuing security long enough for me to get Frank in the car and peel out. We finally got back home sometime around 11 a.m. "The Tank" wouldn't shut up about getting some McDonald's breakfast, but I didn't have the heart to tell him it was too late.

Trev Alberts is a former ESPN analyst. He really could have used a schvitz.



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