It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in 10 little bites. We cover Chris Petersen and the Big Ten/SEC bowl challenge, Kyle Korver and Charles Barkley, Jameis Winston and Robinson Cano and, of course, Bo Pelini. But first, in-state hoops.
Nebraska and Creighton will meet Sunday at CenturyLink. NU-CU has the making of a nice little rivalry the next few years. They should embrace it. But they should also enlarge the tent.
Derrin Hansen’s team is off to a great start, nearly beating Iowa and UNLV on the road. The Mavs have earned the right to play Nebraska and Creighton. Every year. It’s a joke that they don’t already.
South Carolina State played at Nebraska on Nov. 17, losing 83-57. Two nights later, it played at UNO, losing 91-59. Why will the Huskers schedule a low-major team from Orangeburg, S.C., but not a low-major team 60 miles up the road? They’re two public universities under the same University of Nebraska umbrella. It’s senseless.
Creighton, meanwhile, schedules Alcorn State, Arkansas Pine-Bluff and Chicago State. UMKC played at Creighton on Nov. 11, losing 96-70. Two nights later, the Kangaroos played at UNO, losing 101-71. Wouldn’t it make more sense if CU and UNO ditched the ‘Roos and just played each other?
Look, each school’s mission is to build the best basketball program possible, independent of each other. But the two big schools should also accept the responsibility to build basketball interest in Omaha and Lincoln. One of the best ways to do that is to feed off each other’s energy. Embrace local rivalries.
Unlike their predecessors, Greg McDermott and Tim Miles have given CU-NU a little juice. Finally, the two programs may be ready to admit they care about beating each other.
That’s a good first step. Step No. 2 is inviting UNO to the party.
* * *
>> Chris Petersen to Washington. Wow. Wow. Wow. He was bound to leave Boise State someday, but I figured it’d be for a school like Oregon or Texas. Would Petersen have been interested in Nebraska? Who knows.
>> Imagine how good the Pac-10 would be if it hadn’t expanded. Colorado and Utah (along with Cal) are the only weak programs in the entire conference.
With Petersen at Washington, Mike Leach at Washington State, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, Todd Graham at Arizona State and Jim Mora sticking by UCLA, the traditional middle tier (below USC, Oregon and Stanford) looks just as solid as the SEC. The Big Ten coaches aren’t nearly as accomplished.
>> I was messing around on Twitter the other night when I threw out an idea. You see the conference challenges in college basketball — ACC/Big Ten and SEC/Big 12. What if college football did it with bowl games, excluding the very elite bowls. The Big Ten, for instance, could play the entire Big 12 one year, the Pac-12 the next, the SEC the next.
So this year, let’s assume Ohio State and Michigan State go to the BCS, along with Auburn and Alabama.
The Big Ten/SEC bowl matchups:
Penn State/Vanderbilt (we’ll give the Nittany Lions bowl eligibility for this exercise)
Maryland/Ole Miss (we’ll make the Terps a Big Ten team)
I don’t like the Big Ten’s chances, but you gotta admit, it’d be kinda fun.
>> The less likely (but just as entertaining) proposal came from Todd Smith, who recommended a Study Abroad-type program in which two schools would swap conferences for a year. Alabama, for instance, would join the Big Ten and Nebraska would play in the SEC. I would love it.
>> Kyle Korver needs one 3-pointer tonight against Cleveland. Just one. When he hits it, he’ll break an NBA record for consecutive games with a 3, surpassing Dana Barros’ streak of 90. It is a phenomenal feat. I remember going to Utah four years ago when Korver’s career appeared at a crossroads — he was barely seeing the floor.
Since then, he’s broken the NBA record for 3-point percentage in a season and now stands on the brink of another huge accomplishment. At 32, he’s playing arguably the best basketball of his career. I hope people in Omaha are paying attention.
>> This timeline of Charles Barkley on the New York subway is pretty fantastic.
>> There should be a rule in every MLB front office: Thou shalt not give a $200 million contract to a player in his 30s. Robinson Cano, 31, is going to get even more — 10 years, $240 million — from the Mariners. And it’s a bad, bad idea.
Check out this tweet from Jeff Passan: “Robinson Cano WAR since ’07: 34.3. Dustin Pedroia WAR since ’07: 35.3. Cano contract: 10 years, $240M. Pedroia contract: eight years, $110M.”
>> An obituary for the BCS. Thank goodness!
>> Jameis Winston was cleared of sexual battery accusations, but nobody comes out of Tallahassee looking good.
>> Les Carpenter examines the legacy of Chuck Hughes. A remarkable story about the only NFL player who died on the field.
>> Really enjoyed this ESPN piece, with writers’ takes on what Nelson Mandela meant to sports.
>> The World Cup draw is out and the U.S. men’s national team is in Group G with Germany, Ghana (again) and Portugal. That’s some severe anti-Americanism.
>> Finally, I was digging through the World-Herald archives the other night when I found these two Husker game columns, following the ’09 Holiday Bowl and ’10 Kansas State win. I look back on them now and it feels like I was writing about a different program. But why? I’m curious what you think.
What has Bo Pelini and Nebraska lost the past three or four years? How did it go from its ceiling (in these two columns) to its floor (Wisconsin 70-31 and Iowa 38-17)?
>> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.