Published Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:22 am
First downs and second guesses
Shatel: November night games might work in Big Ten

As someone who is allergic to 8 p.m. kickoffs and mid-November snowstorms, I can't believe I'm suggesting this: Maybe the Big Ten should push for November night games.

Reaction to Nebraska not getting an ABC/ESPN prime-time game in 2013? Oh, sure. But this is as much about the Big Ten's image as NU.

The Huskers' schedule isn't ready for prime time the first two months, except for UCLA on Sept. 14. But why would you want to go up against Alabama-Texas A&M that night? Assuming Nick Saban says that game will be prime time.

But Northwestern-Nebraska on Nov. 2 looks like an offensive track meet waiting to happen, and good for the Big Ten image at that. Then there's Huskers at Michigan on Nov. 9. Why not showcase that? NU at Penn State on Nov. 23 would be another candidate.

Certainly there are others. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says the league wouldn't stand in the way of November night ball. But that's hardly an invitation. Maybe the big network boys hadn't considered it because it was never available to them.

Nebraska was invited to the Big Ten to bolster the league's national profile, specifically the televised kind. The Big Ten Network has far reach but it's not the same.

Speaking of BTN, I agree with analyst Gerry DiNardo's take: move some high-profile league games up to early September. Nonconference games in November aren't preferable. But if you could have Nebraska-Michigan on Sept. 14? Big fun. Good marketing, too.

You wouldn't move Ohio State-Michigan to September (would you?). But could you play that game at night?

Sure. You could also hold a promotion: blanket night.

>> I was wondering if, and how, Creighton coach Greg McDermott was going to find room on his staff for an East Coast recruiter. Creating a personnel director spot for Steve Merfeld to hire Patrick Sellers looks smart. You bring an established recruiter on board and keep “Merf,” a valuable game-planner and assistant. Sellers will help pave CU's way back east. I still think Chicago and Milwaukee are important targets for the Jays, too.

>> The TD Ameritrade Classic turned out to be a costly weekend, in more ways than one.

Nebraska's 1-3 tourney dropped the Huskers 12 spots in the RPI, to 47. CU went 3-1, but sits at 69th.

I didn't hear many complaints about the tourney, run by Nebraska, except for the price of admission. Butch Hug, NU assistant athletic director for facilities, said the event offered a $45 ticket that was good for all three days (seven games). Individual game tickets were sold for $20 each.

That's $10 more than a reserved seat for an NU home game (general admission is $7 and $5 for kids). Tickets to a Jays' home game at TDA are $10 for adults and $7 for kids ($12 and $8 for the May 14 Nebraska game).

Attendance wasn't what organizers had hoped. That had more to do with a lack of buzz, marketing and lack of momentum due to cold weather this spring. The tourney was a good idea. Hope they can do this again. Another good idea: tweak the prices. Make it affordable for kids.

>> I agree with Lee Terry's call for a National Hockey League exhibition game in Omaha. I don't understand the timing. I'm sure there's nothing political behind it.

MECA President Roger Dixon told me on Monday that he's had several talks with the NHL about bringing a game to Omaha, but the NHL wants too much money. No wonder nobody outside NHL towns pays attention.

>> Dixon said he's tried NBA teams (Chicago Bulls last year), too, but the timing for the NBA clubs to come here hasn't worked out. I vote for a game between the Atlanta Hawks and whoever drafts Doug McDermott. You know, after next season.

>> I was surprised that the U.S. Swim Trials are coming back to Omaha's pool in 2016 and mildly surprised that Omaha aggressively went after the event. It seemed like everyone thought it was time to try something else. For Omaha to straight-up beat San Antonio and St. Louis for a third Trials is amazing to think about. Of the three times we secured the Trials, this was the most impressive.

>> Remember when San Antonio used to get everything?

>> Mr. (Jack) Hoffman goes to Washington. The story keeps getting better. The photo of Jack and President Obama is priceless.

>> I suppose Jack is now a big Cincinnati Bengals fan.

>> Does Bill Belichick know that Rex Burkhead went to the Bengals?

>> Does Jerry Jones know that ... never mind.

>> I had no problem with the name College Football Playoff. Personally, I would have gone with “SEC Member-Guest” or “Grandson of Them All.”

>> How long will the Kansas City Royals hover around first place? Until Alex Gordon's grand slam shot in Detroit falls to earth.

>> I admire Jason Collins. He'll face some thorns, but today's world is more tolerant. I think today's professional athletes are, too. Not all, obviously. I'm interested to see the public reaction. The image of the macho man athlete is alive and well but how many really care about an athlete's sexuality?

>> Loved the movie “42.” I saw it with my Brooklyn Dodger expert and my dad said it was mostly accurate. He said Leo Durocher was suspended for another reason. And the Pee Wee Reese moment happened at second base. But he approved. Harrison Ford was Oscar-worthy as Branch Rickey.

>> I'm glad my 11-year-old daughter is getting into sports. She says she's a big fan of the show “Duck Dynasty.” That's the one about the 2010 Oregon football team, right?

>> One more and I'm outta here: Terrific show put on by the Nebraska softball team last weekend, led by Big Ten pitcher of the week Tatum Edwards. The Huskers won two of three from ninth-ranked Michigan. The games were exciting, well-played. Softball plays well on TV. The games move at a fast clip; they're usually well-pitched. The Big Ten tourney is headed for Lincoln on May 9. See you there.

Contact the writer:

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

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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