Published Monday, November 28, 2011 AT 1:57 AM / Updated at 11:23 AM
Dirk’s Brunch Bites, Nov. 28
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

Bring on the SEC!

It’s been five years since Nebraska tangled with college football’s preeminent conference. That drought will apparently end on New Year’s Day. The Huskers are likely headed to the Capital One Bowl or Outback Bowl. An SEC opponent awaits in either place.

Chances are, it’s Arkansas, Georgia or South Carolina. My money’s on the Gamecocks in the Capital One (in Orlando). Steve Spurrier gets another shot at Nebraska, 16 years after Florida’s Fiesta Bowl humiliation.

Going toe-to-toe with a 10-2 SEC team may sound a little daunting, but it’s exactly the kind of measuring stick Nebraska fans should welcome. A bowl win over a team like South Carolina would be a huge confidence booster heading into 2012 (when NU should win the Legends Division if it can beat Michigan at Memorial Stadium).

Nebraska last faced an SEC foe in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day 2007. The Huskers outplayed Auburn, yet couldn’t convert offensive opportunities. (Considering what happened in 2007, I know it’s hard to believe, but the problem at the end of the ’06 season was Bill Callahan’s offense, not Kevin Cosgrove’s defense).

The past three seasons, NU faced Clemson, Arizona and Washington in bowl games — none were rated in the top 20. It’s time for a bigger stage. Nebraska vs. the SEC. Unlike a year ago, motivation shouldn’t be a problem.

* * *

>> I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Unless Iowa becomes a top-15 program sometime soon, the Hawkeyes will never be the biggest game on Nebraska’s schedule. Of course, Kirk Ferentz could give the so-called rivalry a boost if he would, occasionally, try to score a touchdown.

>> Rex Burkhead wasn’t the only Husker hurdling defenders this weekend. Check out Roy Helu at Seattle — a highlight that Rex Grossman called “one of the most impressive runs I’ve ever seen.” Helu had a huge day, piling up 162 total yards. He did it against Pete Carroll, who said last week that he should’ve recruited Helu harder in high school. “You miss so many guys over the years, but we definitely missed on Roy,” said Carroll, who was at USC at the time.

>> Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune and Big Ten Network tweeted this gem Sunday:

“By the way, this crazy-arse BCS system is part of the reason why @cbfowler has 102,751 followers — and why networks love cfb reg season.”

That’s sort of like saying the reason I go to a Springsteen concert is because of the traffic jam outside the arena. Look at all these cars! He must be here because he loves waiting in parking lots! No, no, no. People don’t love college football because of the system, people love college football in spite of the system. We love the GAMES, plain and simple.

Yet every year at this time, a few playoff opponents use BCS controversy as evidence to support the status quo. If we didn’t have these debates, they say, people wouldn’t pay attention to college football. It’s laughable. Is the NFL somehow less popular because it determines its champion via playoff? Does anyone really think it’d be more entertaining if Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger sat on their couches and waited for computer rankings to decide the AFC’s Super Bowl representative?

>> Speaking of desperate attempts to defend the BCS, here’s Stewart Mandel’s excellent critique of the BCS mantra: “Every game counts.”

>> You know who might have a really interesting argument for inclusion in the BCS title game? Georgia. Bulldogs starting quarterback Aaron Murray tweeted this on Sunday:

“BCS makes no sense! If your not the best team in your conference(don’t win conference championship) then how can you be considered the best”

Georgia started the year 0-2 (losing to Boise State and South Carolina). It hasn’t lost since. If it beats LSU in Atlanta, it would have a similar argument to Colorado in 2001. The Buffs also were a two-loss team (with both losses early in the season) that came back and beat the top-ranked team in America (Nebraska) at the end of the year. Of course, Colorado won another big game the next week — against Texas in the Big 12 championship game. Let’s see how Saturday plays out. If Georgia somehow beats LSU by 14 points, it may be difficult for voters to put two SEC teams (neither of which won the conference) in the BCS title game.

>> Did Ferentz really take a knee at his 28-yard line trailing 10-0 with two timeouts and 27 seconds left in the first half, knowing Iowa would kick off to start the second half? OK, just checkin’.

>> Urban Meyer, who will reportedly take the Ohio State job any day now, may be a great coach. But he has zero credibility, says Pat Forde.

>> Who will Kansas find to replace Turner Gill? One of the hot names is Mike Leach. In fact, Sunday night the media caught wind of a private plane coming to Lawrence from Key West (where Leach resides). So a throng of reporters showed up at the airport — just to make sure Leach wasn’t on the plane. He wasn’t. But a family of five was. Imagine their surprise.

>> CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel on the mess at Syracuse. Jim Boeheim may be in big trouble.

>> How often do you see columnists calling for a coach’s head after one season? Check out John Feinstein going after Maryland’s Randy Edsall.

>> The NBA season will be 66 games long. It will begin on Christmas Day. You know what? That’s exactly how it should be every year. Let’s make it a tradition. Eighty-two regular-season games is too many.

>> This got lost in the weekend shuffle, but MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement hurts small-market teams like Kansas City.

>> With the football regular season over, I’ll be scaling back the Brunch Bites from five weekdays to three or four (depending on the week). The good news is, with fewer helpings, hopefully I’ll be able to make them a little more nutritious. As always, thanks for reading. And don’t hesitate to drop me an email.

)))

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at dchatelain@owh.com

Comments

  1. Steve Halter (NU 1964) says:

    Mr. C: Thanks for your excellent “bites” Living here in the wilds of Herndon, VA outside of DC in the Virigina “burbs,” I count on you and the rest of the W-H staff for my “Husker fixes.” Three or four “bites” a week aren’t as great as five or more, but I’ll settle for what I can get. Keep up the good work! (and see what you can do about NU’s annual “at least one game a year” letdowns)

  2. johnheffner says:

    I AMA TRUE HSUKER FAN LIVING IN THE PHOENIX AREA DURING THE WINTRER. BEEN HERE FOR 3 MONTHS AND ENJOY GOING TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GAMES IN ARIZONA. THE HIGH SCHOOL SEASON JUST ENDED. ARIZONA AND ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITIES BOTH ARE IN TURMOIL AND HIRING NEWS STAFFS FOR THE 2012 SEASON. THIS IS A GREAT CHANCE FOR US TO GET IN ON THE FABULOUS TALENT IN THE VALLEY. ANDRUS PEAT AND AVERY MOSS FROM CORONAL DEL SOL, DJ FOSTER FROM SUGUARO, REGGIE DANIELS FROM HAMILTON AMONGST MANY OTHERS. WE PULLED IT OFF FIVE YEARS AGO WHEN WE GOT PRINCE, ERIC ETC. LETS GET THESE GREAT PLAYERS AGAIN.

    1. huskerj says:

      Good Points John, thanks. Be sure to park your car outside the Peat’s house again this year, it works.

  3. Michael says:

    I don’t understand how the champion a playoff crowns is inherently “fairer” than the bowl system. It’s totally about preference. Most soccer leagues have no playoffs, and I’d say they do a better job of crowning the most deserving team champion.

    I don’t mind the “I prefer playoffs” argument or the “most college fans prefer playoffs” argument, but anyone who suggests playoffs are better at determining the best team in the country are kidding themselves.

    I don’t care if BCS stays or goes, but I pray if playoffs do come they elect to keep them small. Let’s face it…casual college basketball fans don’t really watch the regular season. Double-digit seeds don’t belong in the final four. +1 system? Fine. 4-team playoff? Fine. 8-team? Fine. But if you get much bigger than that, you run the risk of crowning an undeserving champion.

    1. Skytown J says:

      A team that wins a 4, 8, 12, whatever, team playoff is an undeserving champion? What the heck does that mean? So the Packers last year were an undeserving nfl champion, because they weren’t ranked #1 or #2 at the end of the regular season? This is maybe the stupidest comment regarding a playoff vs BCS that I’ve seen.

      1. Michael says:

        No need to be a jerk about it. I said “run the risk”. Packers last year was fine, but how about the NY Giants in ’07? How about UConn last year (and for that matter, were Butler and VCU really the #2 and #3 teams)? If you prefer the excitement of a tournament, that’s great, but people should stop trying to sell playoffs as if it’s more accurate in identifying the best team in the country.

        1. Skytown J says:

          C’mon man. Run the risk of what? Letting the top 8 teams play it off to see who is left standing at the end? Yeah, you’d hate to have that. Much fairer to vote for it. That an underdog could get hot at the end of the year and at least have a chance to win a championship is the beauty of sports.

          1. Michael says:

            You’re missing my point. First of all, I said explicitly in my original comment that I’d be fine with an 8-team playoff. My point was never BCS = good; playoffs = bad. I’m just saying that the argument that playoffs are better at proving who’s best doesn’t hold water. A team that went .500 in league play and finished 9th in their conference was crowned national champion last year in basketball. You may say that system is more exciting or that it’s fun watching an underdog get hot — that’s totally valid. But “prove” the best team? Clearly not.

            I don’t really care much if the current system stays or goes. If I had to choose, I’d probably vote for a 3, 4, or 8-team playoff. I don’t think we’re in total disagreement, J.

  4. HansJ says:

    Not to be redundant Dirk, but a win over a team like Northwestern would have been a huge confidence builder going into 2012. But one can always dream of a brighter future for the B1G RED, right?

  5. Ballfield78 says:

    RE: “but the problem at the end of the ’06 season was Bill Callahan’s offense, not Kevin Cosgrove’s defense”

    I agree NU’s offensive was a bigger problem, NU had an excellent line on D, however, Cosgrove could not prepare well for a good team who paid attention to the weaknesses. For example, in both the OU and Auburn games, NU had them pinned at their own goal. In both cases, an average quarterback tossed a little sideline pass for a first down, made it look easy. We either weren’t ready for it, or just not capable of defending it, take your pick.

  6. Brett says:

    A tournament just increases the chances of a totally illegitimate “champion” winning it “all”. Could you imagine a ninth place team, in their CONFERENCE being allowed to be a NATIONAL Champion in NCAA hoops??? …Oh…wait… Nevermind.

  7. andy says:

    would the Packers have been selected for the Super Bowl if it came to a vote at the end of the regular season? No, end of discussion. We clearly need a playoff, anyone who speaks to contrary is either under educated or over educated.

  8. sinc79 says:

    Let’s see….they vote on No. 1 and No. 2 before the season even starts. And they vote on No. 1 and No. 2 before the season’s even over. And they want us to accept it? How can I vote to change the system? Oh yeah it’s easy. Don’t watch the Rose Bowl and don’t watch the BCS Title game. X1million people maybe we can finally be heard.

  9. Kevin Abromaitis says:

    Dirk, This has nothing to do with how the Huskers will play in the future, but can someone PLEASE make Kenny Bell wear either a red, white, or black shirt under his jersey, and not that blue shirt he keeps wearing?

    1. cbiz says:

      Probably are superstition thing. ;-)

    2. mosier says:

      I don’t love it either, but it’s his old scout team jersey and he wears it to remind himself of where he came from and uses it as a motivator so I’m ok with it.

  10. kevin says:

    I don’t know who we will play, but excited fo a NewYears day bowl, especially against the SEC team. I will wait for Corndevil, and High deaf to break it down for me, they have all the knowledge of our Huskers weaknesses. I’m sure the SEC team we play in the bowl will probably read these blogs and quickly Identify High deaf / Corndevil as experts, sure they will take notes off of what these two post. Good luck again guys at the National second guesser /arm chair QB tournament in Peoria

    1. tony says:

      why do you need someone to tell you the Huskers weaknesses,have you not watched them play all year.9-3 3 losses against mobile qb’s.We can not stop a mobile qb,end of story.

      1. kevin says:

        tony it was a joke. If you start reading these post you’ll get it.

        1. tony says:

          I see my bad,I was like what!LOL!

  11. Smokey says:

    I am going to go alittle off topic and rant about the very under-belly of the UNL athletic department failure. I am an old fan and go back to the wooden bleachers in the end zones that used to go for 50 cents. I was walking to the game Friday and walking with a couple who had two granddaughters in town and thought they would treat them to the game. As we walked along and talked about the availability of tickets on the street we saw several people with many tickets. Much to our shock they were priced at $150.00 each. We continued to the last intersection before the stadium where we found a bunch of people with a bunch of tickets. They too, were priced through the roof. I watched as a father with two small boys tried to get tickets with the same result. We waited with these people until after kick off and the grandpa offered $75.00 a ticket, that’s all he had and these gutter snipes refused him even then. I can’t believe that the athletic dept. and T.O. allow this to go on. I am so upset by this group of pond scum. This group of low-life losers have no interest in the Huskers or the program. Iowa fans were standing around in shock as well. I realize things change but to have this sort of disgusting event take place right under the nose of the athletic department is against all that Huskers fans value. I hope the athletic department or the legislature gets involved and puts an end to this practice. Thanks and sorry for the rant. Keep up the good work.

    1. mosier says:

      Understand your disappointment but this thing happens everywhere. If your trying to go to a sold out game at the last minute these days expect to pay way above regular prices, this really doesn’t have anything to do with the athletic Department in my opinion.

  12. WA Husker says:

    Hard to see this team better next year in a conference that will be. I agree with Shatel’s assessment that Bo looked exhausted. He apparently had enough energy for his interview with O-State. Right now this “marriage” has problems. Still not sure this will work out? Me either….

    1. mosier says:

      He’s probably tired because he’s getting attacked by NU “fans” all the time who make stuff up or overreact to a 5 special teams turnover game.

  13. mosier says:

    Shouldn’t there be a bunch of people on here eating crow? I thought we were terrible and Pelini was the devil? We dominated a decent team and will now have an opportunity to prove ourselves in a big bowl game.

    1. tony says:

      A big bowl game?

  14. FloTrey says:

    @tony If all plays out right we will be in the best bowl outside the 4 bcs bowls and the nat. title, the cap. 1 bowl