Published Wednesday, October 3, 2012 AT 12:28 PM / Updated at 6:59 PM
Mad Chatter, Oct. 3
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

There’s one man saving the Big Ten from even bigger embarrassment this season. One man the fans of the SEC and Big 12 and Pac-12 wouldn’t dare mock. One man who could walk into Bryant-Denny or Owen Field or the L.A. Coliseum and turn heads immediately.

You can laugh at the Big Ten’s 40-yard dash times and bowl records and 20th-century offenses. You can’t laugh at Urban Meyer.

He’s the Big Ten’s No. 1 source of credibility during a nightmare year. Meyer’s program is also the only Big Ten power — sorry, Northwestern — without a loss. He waves the Big Ten flag, even in a season when he can’t compete after November.

Here’s the irony: In Big Ten country, people want Urban Meyer to fall flat on his face.

If you’re a fan of Michigan or Wisconsin or even Purdue or Minnesota, the worst thing that could happen in 2012 isn’t three non-conference losses to Notre Dame or another Rose Bowl blowout. It’s Ohio State going undefeated. It’s Meyer doing a halftime interview during the Big Ten title game, fielding questions about who should be the real conference champs.

That scenario would give Ohio State momentum for 2013. It would signal a return to 2005-10, when the Buckeyes won (or shared) six straight Big Ten titles. It would hand superiority over to a man who isn’t exactly Mr. Rogers.

On Saturday at Michigan State, Meyer immediately irked Sparty when he instructed his players to run onto the field through the Michigan State flag corps, which stood in two lines awaiting the national anthem. That came after his video crew allegedly doctored the film it sent to Michigan State coaches, removing Ohio State’s pre-snap movements. And before Meyer accused a Spartan of eye-gouging.

That was Urban’s first Big Ten game! He’s making enemies faster than a parking meter officer.

In other words, Nebraska is no longer the new kid on the block everyone wants to beat. Saturday night, the Huskers may be entering the most hostile environment they’ll face all season. The Horseshoe will be hopping with 100,000 Meyniacs. But temporary Nebraska fans will outnumber them. They’ll be scattered from the Missouri River to the Poconos, from the Ohio River to the Great Lakes.

Who claims the tag of the Big Ten’s best team in 2012? To many, if it can’t be their favorite team, the answer is “ABU.”

Anybody but Urban.

>> What does it say about my (lack 0f) appetite for Big Ten football when Tom Osborne mentions on his radio show a new Nebraska-Oklahoma series and I get the warm and fuzzies. We had reason to believe NU-OU was coming back 50 years after the Game of the Century. So I’ll assume this is a home-and-home in 2020-21, or 2021-22. Allow me to be greedy, though, and suggest four games, not just two.

>> The Big 12 plays zero defense. We know that. So here’s my question: How are we supposed to choose a Heisman Trophy winner when statistics are so skewed? Geno Smith will put up the best numbers in 2012. That’s almost indisputable. But are his 500 yards against Oklahoma State, for instance, better than Braxton Miller’s 300 against Wisconsin? I don’t know the answer. I do know that if we go by statistics, we’re gonna have a Big 12 Heisman winner every year.

>> Nick Saban threw a bucket of cold water on college football’s high-octane offenses this morning. “Is this what we want football to be?” he said.

His primary concern is player safety. “I think that the way people are going no-huddle right now, that at some point in time we should look at how fast we allow games to go in terms of player safety,” Saban said. “You can’t substitute defensive players, you go on a 14-, 16-, 18-play drive and they’re snapping the ball as fast as they can and you look out there and all your players are walking around and can’t even get lined up.”

I get Saban’s point. But the more the sport swings toward offense, the more dominant he will be. Alabama is one of the only defenses in the country with defensive personnel good enough to stop teams like West Virginia.

>> Saban or Snyder? This columnist says it’s not easy picking the best coach of this generation.

>> Gene Smith and Ohio State want to play only BCS schools in non-conference play. Now that is bold.

>> Oregon State is No. 1 in two of the BCS computers. And unlike many critics, I have absolutely no problem with it. The Beavers are 3-0, with wins over Wisconsin, at UCLA and at Arizona. I recognize that other teams (Alabama, especially) have looked better. But those are three excellent wins.

>> Steve Spurrier is feuding (again) with a local sports columnist in South Carolina.

>> Bruce Feldman’s 10 biggest disappointments of the college football season.

>> North Carolina is looking more and more guilty of academic fraud. Read about a Naval Weapons Systems class full of Tar Heel athletes.

>> The NBA will discipline players for flopping. Good grief. I hate flopping, too, but is this really the type of thing that should earn a suspension? Are we going to start disciplining baseball players when they act like they got hit by a pitch?

>> Miguel Cabrera, Triple Crown front-runner, might sit out tonight’s game in Kansas City. Are you kidding me, Jim Leyland? One of baseball’s great nights and you’re not gonna play him? Baseball always finds a way to screw things up.

>> OK, not everything. The Adam Greenberg at-bat last night in Miami was the best of sports.

>> Raul Ibanez’s ninth-inning homer last night may have paved the way for a Yankee playoff run. It also may keep him from the birth of his child.

>> But if the Yankees lose and the A’s win tonight, Oakland is the No. 1 seed in the American League. Let that soak in.

>> What a great sports week. Ryder Cup Sunday afternoon. Tony Romo throws five interceptions Monday night. Three top-10 match-ups Saturday in college football — not including Nebraska-Ohio State. And the start of MLB playoffs. October is about as good as it gets. Check back Friday for more chatter. Thanks for reading.

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. Mike says:

    Dirk, must be hard being a Redskin fan. So much jealousy for the cowboys. You can’t go a week without mentioning them in a state where college football rules.

  2. Matt says:

    This article vastly overstates the importance of Meyer. Ohio State isn’t going undefeated either. Somehow the media has invented this narrative that OSU is a great team. They aren’t, not even close. They might beat NU, but OSU is not a great team, they are a good solid team.

    1. A Fan says:

      OSU is the only Big 10 “power” this year. If they go undefeated, it just adds to Meyer’s greatness as a football coach.

      They are favored to beat Nebraska. That’s more than a “might.”

      1. Gumpa says:

        nah, you know what – I’d say being favored is a ‘might’, not being favored would be a ‘could’. Sounds like you are getting a little defensive there.

        1. A Fan says:

          Defensive? Just pointing out the Buckeyes are favored to beat Nebraska in Columbus. Matt stated they might beat Nebraska. That’s different than saying… they’re favored to beat Nebraska.

          1. blackshirtslive says:

            Favored by three at home at night tells me Vegas thinks Nebraska is a four point favorite on a neutral site.

  3. One Last Thing... says:

    October WOULD be as good as it gets if the NHL players and owners would stop acting like spoiled children and work out an agreement to start the season. THEN it would be as good as it gets. Oh yes, and the NBA was to go back on strike immediately and FOREVER!!

  4. mac says:

    Braxton Miller is flat out dangerous in his strength, ability to make people miss, get yards with his feet and extend plays to let receivers get open. MSU contained him pretty well, but they have one of the best D’s in the country, and NU not so much, at least yet. Contain him, or else it’s gonna be a long night. Pretty much everyone recognizes that had he not gone down last year there is no way NU makes that comeback. The other element that must be contained is NU’s penchant for turning the ball over. OSU’s defense is much deeper (and better) than Wisconsin, so NU will need to sustain drives to wear them down…and score. Lastly, if the NU defense plays well, there’s probably no way that OSU has the chops to stay with NU’s offense.

    1. Seymour says:

      For once I would love to actually see the Huskers put together a total game and dominate OSU. The window exists now to win the B1G this year and next.

  5. Seymour says:

    Urb has really gone out of his way to irk his B1G brethren. Hating the Suckeyes is easy enough on it’s own, but now that this lying, win at all costs of a sleaze coach is at the helm, the Suckeyes are just plain insufferable and despising them is mandatory. We’ll see how fast Urb’s health issues return once he is the one getting his brains beat in by an SEC team in the BCS and once his golden child Braxton leaves. All of a sudden, Urb didn’t look like an invincible genious once Nick Saban got Bama rolling and his boy Tebow graduated.

    1. A Fan says:

      Meyer is a great CFB coach. You foaming at the mouth about him doesn’t change that. In fact, it supports it. Otherwise, why are you getting so upset about him… and his winning ways?

  6. Seymour says:

    Dirk, one last thing…how can you use Big Ten and Power in the same sentence?

  7. Chunky says:

    Sorry to say it but Urban is the only reason that any team from the Big Boring would ever get any national cred. Beat Urban you must be good.
    He said it himself, its not fun maintaining, only building. Heres to OSU getting good in a hurry and the one that threatens reporters retiring again.
    The fun thing will be when his beloved ‘Eyes get downgraded for playing in the Braut & Beer league and some p-ant school like Purdue upsets them.

  8. Jeff says:

    >> Gene Smith and Ohio State want to play only BCS schools in non-conference play. Now that is bold.

    This actually isn’t really bold. Which would you rather have: Michigan St. vs Boise St. or Michigan St. vs Syracuse. Top BCS programs have avoided the teams like Boise St and TCU (in the past) because there was more to loose than gain. Playing teams like Idaho St or Sun Belt is being decentified in the new system while playing the good programs from small conferences still doesn’t have advantages. That means you fill in games with poor programs in the BCS. Is it really that bold for Ohio St to start adding Kansas and Temple to its schedule?

  9. Waskel Wabbit says:

    “He’s the Big Ten’s No. 1 source of credibility during a nightmare year” and his name aint Bo!!!

    1. VanCleef says:

      And it sure as hell isn’t Waskel!!!

  10. Buckeye bob says:

    Urban isn’t suiting up is he? If he was, I would take Bo in the Oklahoma drill every time. OSU vs. Nebraska may be the next OU vs. Nebraska series. Don’t know enough about the villan called Urban but I do know he is a darn good coach. Should be a solid game if both show up to play.

    1. A Fan says:

      Agree. If both teams show up, should be a good game.

  11. Stephen Johnson says:

    This is what makes college football the best and most exciting sport out there.Coaches are important. Ohio State has looked OK but not unbeatable. That said, Nebraska’s defense has ALWAYS had a problem with mobile quarterbacks. Of course, this is no surprise and I EXPECT BO to have prepared for Miller. That said, Miller is probably the best QB in the Big 10. The benefit Urban Meyer has is that Ohio State was not destroyed when he walked in the door. He had a lot to work with and he is a good head coach. It will be an exciting game. The real question is how many times will Nebraska turn the ball over? Will the offensive line really be able to move the Ohio State defense line? Could be a lot of runs around the end.

  12. Canton Ohio Buckeye says:

    I’ve been to Memorial Stadium in LIncoln three times, including last year’s OSU game. NU has the most gracious fans in CFB and the school adds class to the whole conference. Hope the Buckeyes play their best game of the season for a big W. MSU did not worry me nearly as much as Huskers do. Safe travels for NU fans and Go Bucks!

    1. VanCleef says:

      Glad you had a good time! You’re always welcome back.

  13. Reggie Osborn says:

    Hey Dirk,
    I love your column, try to get to it everyday. Typically I agree with most things you talk about, but I would disagree with a couple things. First, the whole hurry up offense is going to cause more injuries…is it not true that the offense doesn’t really substitute either? Last time I checked the offense wasn’t running their lineman in and out during the middle of a drive…if the offense can make it through an entire drive, then the defense should be able, too.

    Second is about Cabrera not playing tonight. He did play tonight, so it doesn’t really matter, but he only missed 1 game this entire year. One game out of 162 games…not too many can say that. Also, what’s wrong with getting rested up for the post season? He wasn’t looking to coast in to the finish line or back into the triple crown.

    Quick question…why does it seem like the Husker defense is running around like they have no idea who is on who and substituting at the last second before the ball is snapped? Is the play call coming in that late or are they running an audible at the last second??

    Thanks & GBR!!!