Published Wednesday, January 9, 2013 AT 2:11 PM / Updated at 2:38 PM
Mad Chatter, Jan. 9
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

An abbreviated Mad Chatter starts with Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, who tackled the “Greatest Dynasty” debate today in his mailbag. He gives a slight edge to Alabama.

“For one thing, Nebraska’s run came before there was an official national championship game. Only one of its three title-clinching wins came in an actual 1 vs. 2 game (the infamous 62-24 beatdown of Florida in ’95). In both ’94 (Penn State) and ’97 (Michigan) the Cornhuskers avoided facing undefeated Big Ten teams that were ranked No. 1 or 2, instead beating No. 3 Miami (10-1) in the Orange Bowl in ’94 and No. 3 Tennessee (11-1) in that same bowl in ’97.”

Mandel continues…

“It’s easy to glamorize eras the more distance we get from them. I know when I think of the Tommie Frazier-era Huskers I think of nothing short of utter dominance. In researching this answer, I’m now realizing those memories are primarily due to the ’95 team, arguably the most dominant in the sport’s history. The truth is we’re not even certain the ’94 or ’97 teams were the best in the country. Thanks to the BCS, Alabama had the opportunity to prove so more definitively, and when it did, dominated all three of its championship games. To me that somewhat negates the fact that the Tide, unlike Nebraska, had those one-loss championship seasons.”

I think Mandel’s point is logical (even if I don’t agree with his ultimate conclusion). No, Nebraska didn’t face the true No. 2 in ’94 and ’97. But how do we know the Crimson Tide was better than Oklahoma State last year? How do we know they were better than Oregon this year?

When you lose a game — and need good fortune just to get a title shot — you sacrifice some benefit of the doubt. If Kansas State beats Baylor, for example, Alabama would’ve been the proud recipient of a Sugar Bowl bid.

>> More coverage of Saban and the ‘Bama dynasty.

>> Bob Valvano, an ESPN Radio host based in Louisville, went on a 30-minute rant the other day that’s as good as anything I’ve heard in a long time. He picks apart so many of college football’s faults, especially the way the media covers the bowls… I admit I’m occasionally guilty of his charges. He pulls no punches, even when talking about colleagues Kirk Herbstreit and Mike Greenberg. Trust me, it’s worth a listen.

>> T.J. Simers gets remarkable access to Lane Kiffin, who opens up about his failure in 2012.

>> Brent Musburger crossed the line Monday night in talking about A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, but this defense of Musburger from Clay Travis is still entertaining.

>> I don’t know Urban Meyer, but it’s widely known how competitive he is. Which is why I couldn’t help but watch Meyer on the post-game set Monday night as Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack gushed about Nick Saban and Alabama. On and on they went about Saban’s abilities. Meyer sat there and listened to every word. Urban wants balance in his life? Monday night won’t help. I guarantee he woke up Tuesday morning wanting to work harder than ever. We’ll see a Saban v. Meyer national championship match-up within two or three years.

>> Deadspin investigates Mike Leach’s first year at Washington State and finds a program in turmoil.

>> The latest from SI’s Pete Thamel says the Catholic 7 is still expected to grow to 12, but may start at 10. Xavier and Butler are eight and nine. Dayton and Creighton are next in line. Saint Louis is the 12th.

>> Tom Verducci’s column on why he won’t vote for steroid users is a good read. My interest in the Hall is almost zilch, but I will say this: Voting for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens because they would’ve been Hall of Famers without PEDs is sorta like saying Ben Johnson would’ve won the gold medal without steroids. You took ‘em, you own it. You’re still in the record books, but you don’t deserve to be in the Hall.

What about the argument that says, “Well, a bunch of other players took them too, they just didn’t get implicated.” To me, that’s like saying we’re not going to hold Ohio State, USC and Miami responsible for indiscretions because we all know cheating is rampant in college football.

>> The Sacramento Kings are likely going to Seattle, which probably means the death of the “Kings” name. That’s a gut punch to NBA nostalgia in Omaha. Goodbye, Tiny Archibald.

>> Mike Shanahan’s predicament was a lot more complicated than it appeared Sunday, Jason Whitlock writes. And RG3 is as much to blame as his coach. (Griffin had surgery on his LCL and ACL this morning). Pulitzer winner Gene Weingarten disagrees, saying Shanahan failed miserably. He also has some harsh words for his Washington Post colleagues.

>> Finally, the Seahawks’ loudmouth cornerback, Richard Sherman, was mic’d up during Sunday’s win at Washington. The video includes Trent Williams punching him in the face.

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