Published Friday, November 1, 2013 AT 1:22 PM / Updated at 2:16 PM
Mad Chatter: Keeping an eye on Sparty, the quirky Legends, Creighton/Husker hoops
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in 10 little bites. We cover Creighton and Husker hoops, MLB’s conclusion and NBA’s beginning, Johnny Cash and the Tunnel Walk. But first, the Battle for Michigan.

Nebraska is only focused on Northwestern. Nebraska isn’t playing well enough to worry about any team but itself. Nebraska still controls its own destiny.

All statements are true. But if the Huskers still intend to meet their postseason goal of winning a Big Ten championship, they better put on their maize and blue undershirts (or underwear).

Michigan travels to Michigan State on Saturday and it’s basically an elimination game for the Wolverines. Lose, and it’ll be a long November for Brady Hoke (at least until Ohio State shows up).

But the real target for Nebraska (2-1 Big Ten) is Michigan State (4-0). If the Spartans move to 5-0 with remaining games at Northwestern and against Minnesota, it’s suddenly possible the Spartans could win the division without winning in Lincoln. (Remember, that happened in 2011).

Let’s say Michigan State goes 7-1 with a loss to Nebraska. NU would need to run the table, including wins at Michigan and Penn State.

The Huskers’ margin for error shrinks with every Spartan victory.

>> November is basketball season in Nebraska. Seriously. With Bo Pelini’s team struggling, I’ve talked to several people the past few weeks who are dulling their pain with Creighton or Husker hoops.

The Jays open tonight with an exhibition against Northern State (Which northern state, I’m not sure…North Dakota? Idaho?). Bad jokes aside, I’m ready to watch Creighton’s newcomers, specifically Devin Brooks and Zach Hanson.

CU returns the core of the rotation, but it could really use an infusion of perimeter athleticism and interior muscle.

>> Good Creighton basketball email this week from Jay (seriously, that’s his name):

“Of the following four names, who is most responsible for getting Creighton to the Big East:

1) Dana Altman

2) Bruce Rasmussen

3) Kyle Korver

4) Doug McDermott

It’s a tough one…..”

It’s sorta like asking who was most responsible for Nebraska’s three national championships in the 90s — Devaney, Osborne or Frazier.* It depends how much we zoom in on the situation.

* Creighton fans hate when I compare their program to NU football.

Korver was most responsible for building the fan base in the early 2000s (it basically doubled). And without CU’s impressive attendance, the Big East doesn’t call. Altman and Rasmussen were most responsible for turning the program around in the 90s and giving it consistency. Without them, Georgetown wouldn’t know who Creighton was.

But if we zoom in, my answer is Doug McDermott. I don’t think the Catholic 7 was naturally inclined to choose Creighton. Too far away, too little history with the Jays.

What needed to happen was two years of national buzz distinguishing Creighton from schools like Saint Louis and Dayton. Doug made that happen.

So I’d rank the four names like this: Doug McDermott, Altman, Rasmussen, Korver.

>> I realize you’re eventually judged by wins and losses, not quips and smiles, but Tim Miles continues to draw positive attention to Husker basketball. His performance at Big Ten media day was just the latest example — he was trending on Twitter Thursday morning!

A sampling:

Nicole Auerbach, USA Today: “I wish every coach did press conferences like Tim Miles.”

Matt Charboneau, Detroit News: “If I was forced to cover Nebraska basketball, that would be fine just because Tim Miles is the most entertaining coach around.”

Sean Morrison, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “Nebraska coach Tim Miles is the funniest coach I’ve ever met. He’s great at the podium. I should frame that transcript.”

Hopefully for the Huskers, his sense of humor works as well on recruits as it does on national sportswriters.

>> Why aren’t kids watching baseball? The Wall Street Journal looks at a topic that should concern the next commissioner.

>> Yes, the game may move too slow. But the scene at Fenway was incredible. How cool would it would be to see the NFL equivalent — the Packers winning a Super Bowl in Green Bay?

>> The NBA is a hard sell in October and November. Games are almost meaningless. But man, the product is fun to watch. Knicks/Bulls was good, but Clippers/Warriors was like old-school ABA. Chris Paul and Steph Curry combined for 80!

I may have to purchase NBA League Pass just so I can watch Golden State every night.

>> How did the Chiefs turn things around so fast? Deadspin examines. Kansas City’s remarkable defense is chiefly responsible, but the schedule is about to get tougher. I think the Bills break the Chiefs’ streak Sunday in Buffalo.

>> Miami and Florida State are undefeated in November. To get you in the mood for Saturday night, how ‘bout the CBS preview from 25 years ago. Goosebumps.

>> Back to the Big Ten Legends. It’s terrible, right? Maybe the worst major-conference division in the country (though the ACC Coastal isn’t giving away that title without a fight). But let me present a strange scenario:

Every Legends team is 4-4 or better right now. If Nebraska and Iowa win one more game and if Northwestern wins two more, every Legends team will be bowl-eligible. That’s rare for even the best divisions in college football (the glass half-empty viewpoint would be that it takes a special kind of mediocrity to make sure everybody gets to .500).

Northwestern faces the toughest road to 6-6. The ‘Cats have road games at Nebraska and Illinois. They host Michigan and Michigan State.

>> Here’s an excellent analysis of Michigan State’s phenomenal defense. The key word: aggressive. Look for Nebraska to take plenty of shots downfield on Nov. 16.

>> Shout-out to Peru State. My dad’s alma mater is 7-1 and ranked ninth in NAIA football. It’s their best season since winning a national championship in 1990 (I remember listening to that playoff run on the radio).

Peru State is doing it all while playing their home games in Auburn, Nebraska City and Falls City. Why? The school is building a new stadium that isn’t finished. Saturday’s homecoming game is in Nebraska City against Missouri Valley College.

Keep it rolling, Bobcats.

>> Finally, let me throw my two cents in on an always-hot topic: the Tunnel Walk. Nebraska plays its first home game in four weeks Saturday. Which means “Sirius” will bump from the North Stadium speaker.

A few years ago, Lincoln radio personality (and all-around good guy) Jack Mitchell pushed for this Johnny Cash song to be played on the big screen before the fourth quarter. For whatever reason, I hadn’t heard the song ‘til this week. I loved it and think it’d make an even better Tunnel Walk song.

My question to you: If you had to replace Sirius, what would be your perfect song? I’ll post a few suggestions in next week’s Chatter.

>> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

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