It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in 10 little bites. We hit Creighton hoops and the AFC West, Ndamukong Suh and Ernie Johnson, the craziest golf hole in the world and Big 12 nostalgia.
But first, Saturday is the midpoint of the college football regular season. The eighth of 15 weekends, culminating Dec. 7 with conference championship games (and Baylor scoring 100 on Texas).
With the exception of Alabama’s win over Texas A&M, Georgia’s weekly thrillers and Stanford’s upset loss to Utah, the national championship picture has been pretty quiet.
Is it possible the last season of the BCS will go by with Alabama and Oregon 1-2 the whole way, a la USC-Texas 2005? Maybe. But the Crimson Tide must still face LSU and the SEC East champ. The Ducks have a tougher road with UCLA, a road trip to Stanford, then likely the Bruins again.
Team No. 3 — the top challenger to Alabama and Oregon — will emerge Saturday night in Death Valley. Clemson or Florida State? Tajh Boyd or Jameis Winston? I look forward to watching a big game that doesn’t involve the SEC.
Meanwhile, 500 miles north, Ohio State hosts Iowa. The Buckeyes must be wondering how many breaks they’ll need to land in Pasadena on Jan. 6. The answer: Many.
Can you imagine Urban Meyer coaching back-to-back undefeated teams and not even getting a sniff of the national championship game?
Each Saturday, it looks more and more likely.
>> “We’re getting no respect” is a lousy way to motivate a team, especially one as smart and experienced as Creighton basketball. But I was shocked when the Jays were left out of the coaches preseason poll.
Creighton, you might remember, was a seven seed in the NCAA tournament and was ranked 21st in the final coaches poll in March. And somehow they got worse, even though they return a two-time, first-team All-American and three other starters?
Of course “they got worse” isn’t the real reason. The real reason is coaches aren’t sure Creighton can hack it in the Big East. And maybe they can’t. But there’s no way there are 27 better teams in the country right now.
In other words, it’s yet another reason not to pay attention to preseason basketball polls.
>> Will the ACC seize the tag of “nation’s best basketball conference” from the Big Ten? Yes. Of course it doesn’t hurt having 15 teams instead of 12.
>> The best division in the NFL this year is … the AFC West? You better believe it. Not only do the Broncos and Chiefs, the last undefeated teams in football, reside there. But the AFC West is 14-4 against other divisions.
The second-best mark belongs to the NFC West: 11-5. After that…
AFC East: 10-7
NFC North: 8-6
AFC North: 8-9
NFC South: 6-11
AFC South: 7-13
NFC East: 3-12
>> Ndamukong Suh occasionally steps over the line, most notably when people were digesting turkey in 2011. But man, what is the guy supposed to do? He got fined for this hit?
>> “America has turned on the St. Louis Cardinals.” That may be overstating things a bit. I still prefer to see a Cards win tonight, but I will say the furor over the Dodgers’ “intensity” is ridiculous.
>> This story out of Grambling is unbelievable. The school Eddie Robinson once lifted to national fame is on its third head coach of the season. Players are even boycotting practice.
>> Check out the most extreme golf hole in the world. It only drops 1,400 feet.
>> Incredible story about Ernie Johnson, one of my favorite people in broadcasting.
>> Finally, our last installment of Big Ten buyers’ remorse. The question — Would Nebraska be better off in the Big 12 right now? — has stirred strong opinions the past week. If I had to summarize fans’ take, it would be this: NU made the right decision based on the information in 2010. But it hasn’t worked out as well as expected.
Richard says: I’m 50 years old and strictly from a fans point of view if I had a wish, I would put us back in the Big 12 in a second.
Trading road trips to Purdue and Illinois for all the days trips I made to Kansas and KState, no thank you. I won’t drive 10 hrs for a road trip. Michigan and Ohio State do not have the same feelings that I had playing Oklahoma and even Texas. Adding Maryland and Rutgers, I doubt any Husker fan cares about that.
I find myself watching other Big 12 games on TV and I could care less about other Big 10 games. I have more apathy for Husker fb than I have ever had in my lifetime, and joining the Big 10 is the major reason for it.
Keith says: BIG vs Big 12. Naw… it’s a “no-brainer.”
Let me see…hm-m-m. Beer & urine hurled at “N” fans, tires slashed, caps & hats ripped off your head, Okies shooting off a “blunderbuss” in your O-lineman’s face, & #%# yard signs by the “MeanFarmers” of KS. That’s before “sharing the love” in Boulder and gettin’ hooked by them thar’ “horns”.
For now it’s the dumbing down of “N” FB. The BIG is a good place for this program to retrograde while it continues to idle in neutral.
Justin says: I’ve been living in Texas close to a year now and am often asked by both Longhorn and A&M fans how Nebraska likes the Big 10. After being asked a handful of times I’ve collected my thoughts and have come to this conclusion.
Nebraska had to make the move. In a hypothetical world we could have stayed and I believe most Nebraskans would have loved to stay. But at the time the Big 12 had poor leadership (Dan Beebe) and was bullied into doing what it’s most profitable/largest national branded member (Texas) wanted it to do. …
The Big 10 is a fine conference. I agree with you on a lot of points about the conference and see them needing to embrace change beyond adding more teams. Night games in November, Thursday night games, good in-conference games every week, NO TEAM SHOULD PLAY NOTRE DAME (why play’em if they’re too good for your conference?), etc.
Until Jim Delany and Co. decide to embrace new ideas, enjoy your 11am Saturday line ups and a boring but stable conference.
Brett says: One of the reasons I’m in favor on the Big 12 is because of rivalries and familiarity.
Even towards the end when I didn’t feel that Nebraska had a true Big 12 rival to play every year it still seemed that the Big 12 was capable of producing memorable games. …
Even in the Solich years when Nebraska didn’t have some of their top teams, the Texas/Nebraska game in 2002 at night in Memorial Stadium was a classic. I just don’t feel like Nebraska has games like that anymore because they have no history with these teams. …
Nebraska was a rival to Colorado, Missouri, etc., even when many Nebraska fans felt their rival was OU or Texas. Nebraska doesn’t have a rival in the Big 10. Rivalries can not be manufactured by conference commissioners. Rivalries are developed on the field over years of play and memorable moments.
Iowa doesn’t feel like a rival yet, Wisconsin might turn into a rivalry but its not a rivalry yet, nor is Ohio State or Michigan. I guess I just don’t feel like Nebraska is part of the Big 10 yet. …
I feel like the Big 10 is a novelty that is wearing off. It sounded good in the beginning to make road trips to Michigan and Ohio State and now that the new factor has worn off its time to go back to the Big 12.
Bottom line is I think those that want to go back to the Big 12 are feeling a sense of apathy setting in for the Nebraska fan base. They may cite 11 am games, lack of rivalries, travel distances, recruiting, etc. I wrap all those reasons for anti-Big 10 and lump it all into one issue and its the apathy I feel setting in for Nebraska fans (or at least me).
Paul says: Ultimately I think it was an offer NU could not refuse. Not the way things were looking at the time, NU had to solidify its place in a conference and in a conference without a team or AD trying to play by its own rules.
Do I wish we were still in the Big 12? Well, let me put it this way… I wish the conference was stable enough and unified enough not to be forced to make such a move. Right now we are just another team in the Big 10. OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin are the darlings right now, and certainly that has something to do with our performance on the field. But, would we have been the 11am game or 11:30 four times by now? I don’t think so.
To me that’s a sign of where we rank right now with the Big 10 powers that be. We were a leader in carrying the Big 12 brand… even in losing. It’s not the case in the Big 10, but winning will help that.
I do miss the old friends in the Big 12. I think our fans do as well. There was no real excitement for the Illinois game, unlike if Iowa State rolled into town with similar circumstances. I was at Purdue, and I’ll compare it to KU. However, KU was always a bit of a party. KU was excited to see us, we were excited to be there. Purdue was a bore.
Bottom line… I miss the Big 12, miss being in the Big 12. But given the circumstances of college athletics at the time, we had to move.
Bob says: Guess I was in the minority wondering what all the high fivin’ was about when NU left the Big 12 for the Big 10. I guess the desire to get away from Texas was so great that everyone forgot that we made fun of Big 10 football back then.
I had Big 10 fatigue last year when our ABC regional coverage gave us some Michigan St-Indiana match up rather than Kansas St-Texas. Most of Big 10 football makes my eyes bleed.
How long before it gets old to drive to some crappy Big 10 game that is 12 hours away rather than the old familiar crappy games in the Big 12 that were only 4 hours away.
Gotta hand to Osborne though, trading in membership from the worst division in a BCS conference to the NEW worst division in a BCS conference. Always nice to be able to brag about how many “championship” games you played in. All the while knowing full well that fans will pay to watch it no matter what.
>> Thanks for all the feedback. Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.