Published Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 4:03 am
Shatel: Huskers' bowl fate a possible Big Eight remake

Think the Nebraska football season is over? Stick around.

The Huskers' possible bowl game scenarios are shaping up, and they look delicious.

» Nebraska vs. Missouri in the Outback Bowl: I don't know if the folks in Tampa would know what they would have here, but this would be over-the-top good.

Could it happen? Yes. A few things have to happen. Nebraska can't lose out. And Mizzou can't win out. If MU wins out, makes the SEC title game and loses to Alabama, it could go to the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar could also take a two-loss Auburn.

Also, Wisconsin or Michigan State would have to make a BCS bowl, likely the Orange Bowl. That's more likely now after Stanford's loss to USC.

This would be desirable on two fronts: an old Big Eight rivalry but also the circumstances of Big Ten vs. SEC. MU wanted the Big Ten bid that NU received; this would be an opportunity to show it's better off in the SEC.

Imagine the atmosphere in Tampa with both fan bases. Wow.

» Nebraska vs. Oklahoma in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: I know there's a majority of Husker fans who would rather play this game. I get that. It would be wonderful. It would be nostalgic. It would be in Phoenix, where Huskers haven't been since 1999. And they'd rather hang around Sooners than Tigers any day.

It would be the best time you could ever have at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

A source close to the Fiesta Bowl, which holds this game at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Dec. 28, says this would be the bowl's first choice. But NU has to fall past the Outback pick and OU might have to fall past the Alamo, which reportedly wants the Sooners.

Imagine a sold-out Sun Devil Stadium, a week of fun in the desert sun with our old Sooner friends. It would be a blast, but it wouldn't be a first.

Hopefully it would be a better experience than the 1979 Orange Bowl.

» Nebraska vs. Texas in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Could happen if the Fiesta folks don't get OU for Tempe. Would that be appealing to Husker fans? I would think they'd want one more shot at Bevo, with or without Mack Brown and DeLoss Dodds.

» Nebraska vs. LSU in the Outback Bowl: It's been a long time since these two old names squared off, but it's got big appeal. Throw in Les Miles vs. Bo Pelini and you got a date.

» Nebraska vs. Texas A&M in the Outback Bowl: Probably a long shot, because the Cotton may grab Johnny Football. Watching Pelini try to defend Johnny Manziel would be intriguing.

» Nebraska vs. South Carolina in the Outback Bowl: Yuck.

Truth be told, I would prefer either of the first two options. A bowl game against Missouri would be more electric than the OU matchup, which would feel like a social outing, an old-school reunion. The Outback is also on Jan. 1 and it's an SEC opponent, one that Bo Pelini knows he can beat.

Any of the first five would make for a compelling bowl season around here, and that's a good thing.

» Have Nebraska women's athletics ever been better? The Big Ten soccer champs host an NCAA regional this weekend. Women's hoops is 3-0 and ranked 11th nationally and just signed the best recruiting class in program history. Volleyball keeps rolling to a league-title showdown against Penn State on Nov. 30. All that after softball made the College World Series last June.

I guess what they're saying is, if my girls want a scholarship one day, they better get to work.

» UNO has CJ Carter (Benson) and Nebraska has Deverell Biggs (Central). Creighton had Josh Jones (Central). Love to see the Omaha Public Schools kids doing well here at home. That's a pipeline that could serve well in the future.

» Louisville coach Rick Pitino had some fun with some of his players at the Cardinals' tipoff lunch back in October, including Akoy Agau, the former Central star. Pitino told the audience that Agau was from Nebraska and noted, “He plays defense like he's from Nebraska.” Agau has played a total of six minutes in two games so far, with zeros across the stat line.

» Poor Derrin Hansen. After scaring the big boy pants off of Iowa and UNLV, I suppose his Mavs won't be able to sneak up on South Carolina State tonight.

» I have a feeling about Ethan Wragge this year. I think he's going to have a big year, shooting and helping out inside. I don't think it's the last time he'll make a bushel of 3-pointers to help out a win. I don't think it's the last time he'll have to either, with Big East defenses daring everyone else but Doug McDermott to beat them.

» Was that just Ohio State being Ohio State all over Marquette, or is there reason to think Creighton might win this Big East?

» So Kansas City was exposed on Sunday night? I prefer to say Peyton Manning is that good. So is Denver at home. Manning neutralized the Chiefs' pass rush and it was probably the most impressive thing that's happened in the NFL this season. The Chiefs should have a different pass rush at home, where it's loud, in two weeks. Denver has to go to Belichick Town this week and then Arrowhead after that. Home field is still doable for the Chiefs. We might get a third Denver-Kansas City game, in the AFC championship. Wouldn't that be nice?

» If Ameer Abdullah rushes for 162 more yards this season, he'll pass Ken Clark (1,497) for fifth place on the Huskers' all-time list of rushing yards in one season. He'll join Mike Rozier (2,148), Ahman Green (1,877), Lawrence Phillips (1,722) and Rozier (1,689). That puts things in perspective.

» Tommy Armstrong taking ownership of his turnovers doesn't erase the turnovers. But it's what I want a quarterback to say and do. That's what a leader does.

» Every NFL game should be played on that Soldier Field turf from Sunday. If you can't see a player's number because of the mud on his jersey, that's a football game.

» I like the Nebraska-Michigan State series, a lot of respect there, and I wish it could be an annual series. Would be a great trophy game.

» Have to say the new Nebraska Crossing is pretty impressive. But on behalf of national college writers everywhere, I still miss that old Ashworth store.

» Glad to see Hilton Magic hasn't left Ames, Iowa. Fans stormed the court and why not. That win over Michigan will hold up until March.

» One more and I'm outta here: In my column on Nov. 2, I told a story about former Missouri football coach Al Onofrio, who was fired in 1977 after losing to Kansas in the season finale. In that story, a drunken Mizzou fan called Onofrio a lousy coach and, in response, Onofrio called the fan a “lousy drunk.” The fan said, “Yeah, but tomorrow I'll be sober.”

An astute reader sent me an email and mentioned that that scene sounded like a version of a famous quote credited to Winston Churchill many years ago. The reader wondered if the Onofrio exchange really happened.

Just to be clear, I did not witness the story. It was told to me by Cal Fussman, my sports editor at the Missouri college newspaper, The Maneater. Fussman covered that KU game for the Columbia Missourian and the Savitar yearbook.

Last week, I contacted Fussman, now a writer for Esquire magazine. When I asked him if he remembered that exchange, he quoted it word for word.

I have to admit that I had never heard that Churchill quote. According to, a website devoted to tracing the origins of widely used phrases, Churchill had the exchange with British politician Bessie Braddock, who said, “Sir, you are drunk.”

To which Churchill allegedly said, “And you, Bessie, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning and you will still be ugly.”

Interestingly, the website speculates that the quote may have originated from a W.C. Fields movie “It's a Gift.”

This may be the only time you see Winston Churchill or W.C. Fields in this column.

Contact the writer: Tom Shatel    |   402-444-1025    |  

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



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