Published Monday, November 26, 2012 at 9:56 pm / Updated at 1:20 am
COLUMN
Shatel: If no Rose, Florida return likely will bloom

Remember those good, old days when Nebraska was going to Miami if it beat Oklahoma or New Orleans if it didn't?

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN's prolific Big Ten blogger, came up with a formula for Nebraska to make a BCS bowl, even with a loss to Wisconsin on Saturday.

TCU beats Oklahoma. Kansas State beats Texas. Georgia Tech beats Florida State (devaluing the ACC and dropping Clemson out of the top 14). Nevada beats Boise State. And, finally, Northern Illinois beats Kent State.

The Huskers' bowl fate is now tied to what Kent State does? Yikes. Hey, isn't Kent State a baseball school?

Nebraska is ranked No. 12 in the BCS. Get beat by a five-loss Wisconsin team and you fall out of the top 14. Heck, lose to a five-loss team and maybe you should fall to the Whataburger Whatabowlgame in Whatatown, Texas.

Nebraska's road back to a major bowl is one not-so-easy step: beat Bucky and win the Big Ten.

Maybe next year, the Huskers can jump into the BCS at-large pool. Southern Mississippi is strongly considering moving its “home” game with NU to Lincoln for the money. That would give Nebraska four home nonconference games, including UCLA. The Huskers also trade Wisconsin for Purdue and Ohio State for Illinois (or vice versa).

While a 10-3 record wouldn't be enough to secure a trip to Phoenix or New Orleans, it would grab the attention of the Capital One Bowl. Yes, a second trip to Orlando, Fla., in two years. The coaches' families wouldn't complain.

It could happen because of a Big Ten rule that says the Capital One or Outback Bowls cannot select a Big Ten team with two fewer wins or two more losses than another available Big Ten team.

Rutgers and Maryland, are you writing all this down?

In other words, if NU loses and is available at 10-3, the Cap One couldn't select 8-4 Michigan, which it reportedly covets. It would choose between the 10-3 NU and the 9-3 NU (the one in Chicago).

A Nebraska football official told me on Monday that the staff had a good experience last year (except for the loss, he added) and would have no problem going back if asked.

So, if Nebraska loses to Wisconsin, it could go back to Orlando and face Alabama, Georgia, LSU or Texas A&M. If you're the Cap One Bowl, that's why you pick Nebraska.

Or, NU could fall to the Outback, which is what happened to Big Ten runner-up Michigan State last year.

Or, beat Wisconsin and smell roses and play Stanford or get another shot at UCLA.

That choice is not complicated.

» Somebody get rid of these “top 14” BCS rules and give me some bowl games I want to watch.

» What happens at the Vegas Invitational doesn't stay at the Vegas Invitational.

That's the best part about Creighton's big weekend wins over Wisconsin and Arizona State. They are wins that will keep on giving.

Oh sure, if you look at the RPI website warrennolan.com — a popular site for bracketologists — the Badgers are ranked 85, while ASU is 98.

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The Jays may or may not have beaten upper division teams in the Big Ten and Pac-12. Time will tell.

For Creighton, the beauty of it is that Wisconsin plays in arguably the No. 1 conference in college hoops. The Badgers' RPI will gradually rise with every game. That, in turn, will boost CU's RPI.

The Pac-12 isn't as good, but the same effect could take place with ASU. Also, the Jays have a game at Cal, which is currently ranked No. 22 by Nolan. This Saturday, No. 40 St. Joe's comes to Omaha.

Meanwhile, the Valley has four teams in the top 100.

Hey, it's never too early to get out the slide rules.

» UNO hockey coach Dean Blais could have a sentimental journey back to Mariucci Arena at Minnesota this weekend. This might be the last time Blais coaches in the barn where he was a player.

If so, it's another victim of realignment, this time college hockey style. UNO and Minnesota both are leaving the WCHA for different leagues next season. It's too bad, in many ways. The WCHA looked ripe for good rivals for UNO. Now, we'll never know what would have blossomed.

Don't look now, but UNO-Denver could be a hot series of the future. Denver is already a member of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. On Monday, DU reportedly joined the Summit League, where UNO has all of its other sports.

Isn't realignment fun?

» Several Iowa Hawkeye fans, and Iowa media types, said last week there's some talk that Iowa wants to move the Nebraska series to Saturday. Heck, if the games don't get any better, the Big Ten and ABC might do the honors.

That would be too bad. Nebraska has always enjoyed the Black Friday stage, when most husbands, if not recruits, are looking for a TV set. Iowa football needs all the juice it can get right now. The Hawks should be embracing national TV exposure. Of course, they probably will want to embrace a new offense first.

» Wish I could vote for Tommie Frazier to win the Heisman Trophy this year. Some years you have too many candidates, some years not enough. This is a year when somebody has to win it, and a freshman with a cool nickname is apparently the leader. Touchdown Tommie wasn't a bad nickname. Maybe he should have called himself Tommie Football.

» I was glad to see the NCAA split up Creighton and Nebraska in their volleyball first-round sites, but wish they both could have been on the road to Omaha. Maybe the NCAA doesn't think CU has earned that right yet. Maybe the committee thinks Nebraska will be all it takes to fill up the CenturyLink Center on Dec. 7 and 8. I agree with NU coach John Cook that the NCAA needs to find ways to promote college volleyball. Maybe next time. The way coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth has built her program, there will be a next time.

» Gene Chizik gets fired two years after winning a national championship. Jon Embree, two years after being hired at Colorado. Jim Tressel gets a huge ovation at Ohio State. Win, win, win, win, win, win, win.

» One more and I'm outta here: You know me, I like to read books with lots of pictures. But here's a recommendation to buy the new World-Herald book, “Unbeatable.” Staff writer Henry Cordes did a terrific job of digging out details of the Nebraska football glory years of 1994-97 and then telling the story of Nebraska's greatest era. You will learn a lot. The book would make a great Christmas present to family, friends — or yourself. I won't tell.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1025, tom.shatel@owh.com; twitter.com/tomshatelOWH

* * *

>> Video: NU coach Bo Pelini



>> Video: NU quarterback Taylor Martinez:



>> Video: NU I-back Rex Burkhead:

Contact the writer: Tom Shatel

tom.shatel@owh.com    |   402-444-1025    |  

Tom Shatel is a sports columnist who covers the city, regional and state scene.

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