To the office of
Mark Emmert, NCAA president:
Happy New Year, sir. Long time, no see.
I heard you gave Urban Meyer a fake “NCAA” tattoo for Christmas. Pretty clever. Is it true that Chip Kelly sent you a new pair of Air Jordans, signed by MJ himself? I won't hold my breath on those Oregon sanctions.
Anyway, as you know, football season is over — hope you enjoyed that riveting BCS title game. In most parts of the country, basketball fills the void. The jam-packed arenas. The pep bands. The buzzer-beaters.
It's not easy in Nebraska, especially this year. I want to call your attention to a predicament we face — and ask for a favor.
You see, we have two established Division I basketball programs in our state. Creighton has one of its best teams in school history. Nebraska has one of its worst.
Creighton plays with such offensive skill and chemistry, it's a wonder to watch. Trouble is, most games are over by halftime. The CenturyLink Center is on pace for an NCAA attendance record: most fans on the concourses.
Tuesday night, the Drake Bulldogs drove two hours to Omaha, then spent two hours with their tails tucked. The Jays won 148-17, or something like that.
The next night, Nebraska went to Michigan to face the unbeaten Wolverines. The Huskers played their tails off ... and still lost by 15.
Tim Miles is doing his best, but his roster isn't cut out for his environment. Recently, I heard a Husker fan say, “How are we going to survive without that walk-on from Alliance?” NU is considering a new promotion: free pizza when the Huskers hit 50 points.
Next up is a trip to Michigan State. A single-digit loss would feel like the night Jamar Johnson beat Kansas.
Two years from now, Creighton and Nebraska will be much, much closer. Doug McDermott will be starting alongside Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City. Tim Miles will be tweeting pictures from the living room of the next Shabazz Muhammad.
But right now, you can walk down to 72nd and Dodge and get even odds on this bet: Which happens first, a Creighton loss or a Nebraska win? (Keep an eye on Jan. 19, when CU goes to Wichita State and Nebraska goes to Penn State).
Anyway, I write you today not to highlight our strange circumstance, but to seek an unprecedented NCAA waiver.
Nebraska is competing in college basketball's toughest conference — a league that rivals football's SEC. Creighton is competing in college basketball's version of the MAC. (You don't know anybody in the Catholic 7, do you?) As a result, basketball fans here are going to see more blowouts than a day care provider.
My request: Let us swap the two schedules, just for this season. Give Creighton the Big Ten slate. Give Nebraska the Valley schedule.
Instead of watching CU go 17-1 while NU goes 3-15, my guess is they'd both finish fourth or fifth in their new leagues. We'd give Creighton a real chance to stretch its legs. We'd give Nebraska a real chance to gain confidence.
Can you imagine Doug McDermott going into Assembly Hall to battle Cody Zeller? Or seeing how Grant Gibbs would handle Brandon Paul? Or watching Gregory Echenique go chest to chest with Trevor Mbakwe? Can you imagine the anticipation when the Huskers go into Carbondale or Evansville? OK, never mind.
The point is, this is good for everybody, Mark. No longer do national analysts have to wonder how good Creighton really is. No longer does the Big Ten Network have to worry about coming to Lincoln and leaving with a football score.
Give it some thought. If you say yes, we'll stop whining about Rosenblatt, I promise.
— A basketball fan in Omaha
P.S. We had nothing to do with that lump of coal in your stocking. It was all Bill O'Brien's idea.
Contact the writer:
402-649-1461, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/dirkchatelain