Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012 AT 7:39 AM / Updated at 9:19 AM
Mad Chatter, May 29
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

A special Tuesday edition of Mad Chatter begins with a philosophical fan question: What is the value of a conference tournament championship in assessing an overall season?

I ask because Creighton culminated a remarkable surge Saturday night with a Valley championship. In some leagues, the eighth-best team doesn’t even qualify for the conference tournament. But CU made the most of its opportunity, refusing to drop a single game in Springfield.

Prior to last week, the Jays were a big disappointment — they’re one of only two teams in the NCAA tournament with a losing record. Did the Valley tournament run save the season? Or as a fan, would you rather have a more consistent year that falls short of the NCAAs?

In other words, Creighton (26-28 with an NCAA bid) or Nebraska (35-23 without one)? Who had the better season?

My answer is Creighton — barely. I think the NCAA tournament is a big enough deal that, to a large degree, one phenomenal weekend scrubs clean three months of frustrating baseball. But I didn’t have to sit at TD Ameritrade Park all spring as Creighton struggled to score runs.

What do you think?


>> Aaron Fitt of Baseball America breaks down the Selection Committee’s decisions. Interesting that Michigan State got an at-large bid after a fifth-place finish in the Big Ten. Fifth!?! Looks like the Huskers were closer to an at-large berth than some of us thought.

>> Very interesting that the committee matched Oregon and Purdue as potential super-regional opponents. Looks like they wanted to do everything possible to get a northern team to Omaha. (Unfortunately for the Big Ten, I don’t think the Boilers get past Kentucky.)

>> Also very interesting that Texas didn’t make the NCAA tournament. What is going on in Austin? Football, basketball and baseball are all struggling. How is that possible with UT’s resources?

>> Some Big Ten traditions (the Rose Bowl and bad rivalry trophies, for instance) annoy me. But since Nebraska joined the league, my appreciation for Michigan-Ohio State has grown. A Michigan recruit received a letter from Ohio State. He did what seemed natural — he burned it. And then he snapped a photo of the letter burning.

>> In case you missed it Sunday, what inspired former Blackshirt Dion Booker to join the Army at age 29? Here’s his story from Sunday’s World-Herald. I received this email from a reader: “Pass this along to Dion. Plain and simple: Thank you. You are a man!”

>> As I mentioned on Twitter Sunday night: Before Woody Harrelson accepted the lead role in “White Men Can’t Jump,” Manu Ginobili turned it down. #urbanlegends …Ginobili is old (34). He’s bald — what other NBA player has a bald spot that big but won’t shave his head? He’s not terribly handsome, either. But man, Manu took over Game 1 of the Western finals the other night. Can LeBron stop him? We’ll probably find out.

>> Does Chris Bosh have to come back to Miami? LeBron and Wade look so much more comfortable without him. I admire Boston’s tenacity, but the Celtics don’t have enough offense to win this series.

>> Bruce Feldman’s 10 toughest college football schedules. No surprise that Notre Dame is No. 1. Michigan is No. 4.

>> Some Wolverines, by the way, are preparing for Alabama by working out with Navy SEALS.

>> This is the best baseball catch I’ve ever seen. The column about the catch is great, too.

>> Should the NFL ban football helmets? This author thinks so.

>> Remember all those draft analysts who thought the Lions got a steal when Nick Fairley fell into their lap during the 2011 NFL Draft? Well, one month after he got arrested for possessing marijuana, Fairley got arrested for DUI. He drove 100 mph in an effort to elude police — at least he was smiling for his mug shot! The Lions, according to this columnist, are the new Bengals.

>> Phil Mickelson is very serious about joining a group to buy the Padres.

>> Tom Osborne weighs in on the college football playoff. He supports the plus-one, but is concerned that a playoff would diminish the value of the regular season. (As you know, I disagree.)

>> One more thought on Bob Boozer, who died last weekend. This is from Marlin Briscoe, the first black quarterback to start a professional football game:

“He was the catalyst for a lot of the kids coming up after him, including myself. Per capita, you can’t find a city that — in such a short period of time — had the careers and success we had. I’m talking about major stuff: Heisman trophies (Johnny Rodgers), All-Pros (Gale Sayers), Super Bowls (Briscoe), Cy Young awards (Bob Gibson).

“C’mon now. Where you gonna find that in one community? And a lot of that was because of Bob Boozer.”

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


  1. Go Gegini says:

    Phew! That’s a lot of brunch bites!

    Burning and posting your offer from another school seems to be pretty low-class IMO.

  2. Joe in L-town says:

    Playoffs are all about tv, not the traveling fan who enjoys the atmosphere.

    But sportswriters like Dirk don’t care….they have a free-ride to these events through the newspaper, media outlets, etc. Can fans realistically travel 2-3 weeks in a row on short notice to “neutral” destinations and afford overpriced airfaire, lodging, meals and tickets? Not really. The Husker traveling fan base is well known, but even we couldn’t keep up. How many empty seats then would your lesser traditional programs leave behind? Quite a number. But let’s keep this playoff thing going for tv ratings….the “fans” who don’t understand home Saturdays are an event, not just a time to get the lawned mowed 5 min beore kickoff.

    So Dirk….if it wasn’t for your job, how many away/road games would you attend on your own as a fan? Could or would you want to spend the money to make these trips? Would like a realistic answer to this one, not the typical answer of determining a champion or other strawman argument.

    1. hskrpwr13 says:

      Agreed, Joe. Nice post.

      1. CDad63 says:


    2. Bill says:


      I don’t like playoff games at neutral sites, either, but it’s miles better than what we’ve got. If they were smart they’d have the higher seeds play the first round of the playoffs at home. The campus experience is one of the best things about college football, and the powers that be are foolish to ignore it. Can you imagine the atmosphere of a home playoff game in Lincoln? The NFL is able to do stage important games with a week’s notice pretty well, and it’s the most popular sport in America by a huge margin. If college football had home playoff games, it would solve both the problem of the unfairness of the BCS, as well as the travel problems you mention.

    3. Homer Sampson says:

      What, so the better option is to continue with the current ludicrous bowl system so someone like you can plan a vacation to go watch a football game that essentially means nothing? (Unless your team is in the mythical bcs championship that is). Don’t get me wrong, doing that has some plusses for sure. But all the other sports, of every other division of collegiate competition, has playoffs. If you want to find which team is the best in the land, play it off. Then there are no excuses. The bowl system long ago became a complete joke, which the NCAA has tried graft the invented BCS NC into, but it doesn’t really work. Except for the bowl CEO’s of course.

  3. Dos Passos says:

    Joe, I’ll make it real simple for you: it works for basketball and it will work for football

    1. hskrpwr13 says:

      Dos, the dynamics of the NCAA tournament and college football playoff are apples to oranges.

      1) 20,000 fans to fill a bball arena. 70k+ to fill a fball stadium.
      2) Mulitple teams at one bball site. A “few” fans from each school and locals can come close to filling 20k seats.
      3) Expect, at very best 20k football fans, to make two separate fly-to, hotel-stay destinations. So, 40k for two teams. Guarantee 30k+ local “fans” don’t make up the difference for a half-full at best semi-final.
      4) Football playoffs, can and will work for TV just like Joe said. If semis are within a few hours driving distance to one team’s home (now giving that particular team a home advantage), then perhaps we’ll get mostly full stadiums. Of course, this has little benefit to fans of any B1G team if the current argument of using the bowls for semi’s comes to fruition.

      1. Bill says:

        There won’t be empty seats. Like you and Joe said, it’s a TV show, and networks will do everything in their power to make sure that TV show is a success–even if it means giving away tickets to make sure all the seats are filled. This does little to help the casual fan, but when was the last time the NCAA did something with the fan’s interest in mind?

        1. Grizzo says:

          Dos, how many NCAA MBBall games do you watch mid December? How many NCAA CFB games do you watch Mid September? The NCAA MBBall regular season has become irrelevant and many fans don’t watch until March. The regular season in college football is still relevent. Furthermore nothing will be resolved. Those not in the Top 4 or 8 will argue that they should’ve been included, etc.

  4. Erik says:

    Your opening question is a joke, right? Yes, I sat through many frustrating games at TD Ameritrade Park; but my team is still playing. Your team is sitting at home. Heck, this may have been the most satisfying conference tournament title this year because it was so unexpected.

    Oh, and I think Nebraska fans will become fans of 8-team conference tournaments as soon as UNL finishes 7th or 8th in the Big Ten.

  5. NU Alum says:

    Way to stay classy Dirk and comment on Manu’s physical appearance.

    We are nice enough not to comment on your journalism skills and that’s something that should be controllable.

  6. Another arrogant CU Fan says:

    I see Erik is another arrogant CU fan. CU winning the conference tourney speaks volumes to how weak a baseball conference the MV is. Yes, even weaker then the B1G. A putrid conference is the only way CU gets in to any conference.

    1. Erik says:

      Facts say that the MVC is a better conference than the Big Ten. MVC is 5 and Big Ten is 10 in RPI, and MVC is 4 with Big Ten 8 in alternative measure NPI.

      So I guess CU winning the MVC tournament goes to show how deep the conference is, and your quick judgment with no facts shows how arrogant UNL fans are.

    2. Jim says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHA Another Clueless UNL baseball bandwagon fan. Little 10 baseball has an RPI of 10 the MVC is a 5. Nice try clown.

      1. Grizzo says:

        How does Creighton fan have every frickin’ RPI of every sport memorized all the time? How annoying is that?

        1. Sam says:

          Not as annoying as being an arrogant, BCS bottom-feeder

        2. Tom says:

          Yes, how dare Creighton fans read! Better to wander through life completely unaware of what goes on around you like Grizzo. Then, when you say something stupid that has no correlation to any fact, ridicule the informed for, darn it, being informed!!!

        3. Jm says:

          Yeah doesn’t CU fan know no matter how bad UNL athletics are we are supposed to act like they are national title contenders in every sport and worship the ground they walk on. COME ON!!!

  7. BC says:

    Unless you have a very special regular season (winning regular season title or contending to the end), than getting to the post season is better.

    As a coach, once you know you going to have a mediocre season…(both Huskers and BlueJays this year), you need to treat the regular season as preparation for the conference tourney to try to get to post season.

    You try some things in games that might result in a loss, but might give you some knowledge for the tourney…because who remembers a 5th place finish…they will remember making the tourney and once you are in, you never know.

  8. BC says:

    Regular season being diminished by playoffs….that is such a straw mans argument…right now College football has the most meaningless games of any sport….come November only about 3 games a week matter….as most teams have been eliminated…

    Does Iowa vs Minnesota matter….No, because both teams can’t win the national title…but if they can make the final playoff by winning their division and then winning the conference championship…That game might be meaningful if one of the teams still has a chance to win their division.

    Also, if you no matter what you do…you can’t make the championship game…than your regular season does not matter…TCU and Boise St…they had no chance even when they went undefeated, so their regular season was meaningless.