Published Friday, January 25, 2013 AT 2:33 PM / Updated at 2:52 PM
Tom’s Friday Tailgate
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

1. All is quiet on the Hilltop. Maybe too quiet? After a Nebraska football loss, the email rings off the hook. Fans demand answers. Creighton loses two, including a bad one at Drake, and I haven’t heard much of anything, except from a Husker fan wanting to know why nobody goes after CU after a loss like they do Nebraska. Sigh. Basketball is different, plain and simple. One or two losses don’t wreck a season. I get that. I also think the expectation level is different with CU hoops. I’m holding off until Sunday’s game to see what the Jays do next. But the loss to Drake will leave a mark. That puts CU in position of the hunter in the Valley race. Do we expect Wichita State to win out? No. But now Creighton has to keep pace. This season is all about winning the Valley and making the Sweet 16, and the regular season record directly impacts the seed, which impacts the odds of hitting the 16. The Jays are still on track, but they need to find other ways to score when the 3s aren’t raining down, and they need to get some defense and rebounding back into their diet. Regain the swagger. Used to be, you went to Carbondale, Ill., and lost your swagger. Now, it looks like a place to find it.

2. Let me get this straight: Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, wide receivers, were upset that the Super Bowl game plan was changed to pass the ball more. Sure. Makes sense. Here’s the thing: this isn’t the first time Brown and Rice have publicly ripped Callahan. There’s something else at work here. Callahan obviously made them mad, cut them deep, somewhere long ago. Maybe he didn’t bow down and kiss their rings. I don’t know, but the assertion that Callahan would tank a Super Bowl because he hated the Raiders and wanted his friend Jon Gruden to win is beyond ridiculous. I didn’t get close to Callahan when he was at NU, but I knew him well enough to know he was competitive and hated to lose. I also watched enough of his offenses to know he liked to out-think himself, make that one extra chess move to show how smart he was. I haven’t defended Callahan much over the years. I’ll do it here. That’s preposterous.

3. Manti T’eo is this year’s Jeremy Lin, the story that fills gaps in an otherwise slow time of year. Enough already.

4. I chatted with Dave Hoppen the other day for almost an hour. I could have talked to him about the old Big Eight basketball days for five hours. There’s some leftover stuff I’ll use in Tuesday’s first downs and second guesses.

5. I’ll be attending the Nebraska-Northwestern game tomorrow, a rare Saturday afternoon game. That’s one of the few drawbacks of the Big Ten. To me, conference hoops should be played on Saturday afternoons. Northwestern is sneaky good. So is that 1-3-1 zone. This is a game Nebraska can win, but they’ll need Ray Gallegos to heat up early.

6. Why isn’t there a sports version of Oprah or Katie Couric for celebs like Lance Armstrong or T’eo to talk to? And what does that say about ESPN?

7. The big concern I heard after Creighton’s loss to Drake was what the Jays’ seed would be now. That’s college basketball for you. Everything now is about March and about the seed. Why would you even try to predict that in late January? So much ball left.

8. With three of their last five series at home, UNO hockey has a chance to make a late-season run. The Mavs gotta get at least two points out of this weekend’s series at Bemidji State. Four would be better.

9. Will Sunday be the last Pro Bowl? Better question: Will anyone watch?

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at tom.shatel@owh.com.