Creighton’s first Big East game was the talk of the college hoops world last week. And it had everything to do with the crowd.
Mostly, about that song.
Some traditions happen by accident. Adrian Rider, CU’s assistant athletic director for marketing, said he was just hoping to add to the atmosphere of the New Year’s Eve game by putting a singalong number into one of the timeouts.
Rider said “Sweet Caroline” was chosen at random. It’s a song fans like to sing along to. Ask Boston Red Sox fans. More about them later.
“We had no idea that would happen,” Rider said.
What happened was the song was turned off but the fans kept singing while the game resumed. Nobody can ever remember that at a Creighton game, or at many other games. It put a frame on the evening, made it memorable.
So now, should they do it again? Should it be a new tradition?
“We’re talking about that right now,” Rider said. “Should we do it every game? Should we do it for games that look bigger than others? Should we do that same song? We heard from some Boston fans who weren’t too happy. They said that’s their song.”
I like the idea of this tradition. Fans singing together at a game is so corny ... so old-school ... so Omaha. I like the idea of Creighton’s crowd being a force in the Big East; that’s a worthy identity. To have fans sing every game, even better.
I also like live singing during a timeout to fuel a crowd, as opposed to halting the momentum of a game for a video trick or a putting contest.
But I understand the downside, too.
“I’d like to see us start new traditions, because we don’t have many (at games),” Rider said. “But sometimes you can force a tradition, and we don’t want to do that, either.
“If you do it again, and it doesn’t work, that could ruin what happened last week.”
Don’t think they could ever ruin it. Maybe if they played “Love on the rocks.”
» Terry Joseph, we hardly knew ye. Have to think this has more to do with money — and a chance to get closer to Louisiana — than a statement about Nebraska.
» Doug McDermott has 2,562 career points, which ranks him 40th on the NCAA’s all-time career list. He has time to move up several more spots.
But McDermott’s mobility is limited on other charts. He ranks eighth (2,216) all-time on the Missouri Valley Conference career points list, with no chance now to move closer to leader Hersey Hawkins (3,008).
Meanwhile, McDermott will enter the Big East record books for what he does this season, but his career marks won’t count. Why? According to Big East Assistant Commissioner John Paquette, the league recognizes career records in conference games only.
That’s why Syracuse’s Lawrence Moten (1,405 points from 1991-95) is recognized as the Big East’s all-time leading scorer, though others recognize Troy Bell of Boston College (2,632 in all games) as the conference leader.
McDermott could end up being the leading scorer in both conferences, but won’t get the recognition. Today’s fun fact.
» The BCS gave us No. 1 vs. No. 2 more often than most other systems and introduced us to computers, Boise State and Central Florida. It also did some damage to the traditional New Year’s Day bowls. Maybe the best thing it did was provide a bridge to the playoff.
» I complain about Central Florida being in the Fiesta Bowl, and yet I couldn’t take my eyes off that game. These offensive displays aren’t always good football. But they’re a darned good TV show.
» With that, however, we bid adieu to the mid-majors of the college football world. Your path to the playoff will be set up with schedule roadblocks. You may still make a “major” bowl, but once the playoff goes to eight teams — and it will — the swag of the major bowls will be like the felt Orange Bowl pennants on my wall: faded memories.
» One of the best ideas I heard last week was a caller to a Jacksonville, Fla., sports talk show on Thursday morning, suggesting that the Gator Bowl leave Jan. 1 and set up on an earlier date and play the game at night. A lot of these bowls will have to adjust once the four-team playoff takes over Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. To survive, the bowls should be allowed to pick who they want, without conference interference. These have always been exhibition games, based on community tourism.
I’m not sure a new date would have helped the Gator Bowl this year. Maybe a new weatherman.
» The years I spent covering Big Eight basketball in the 1980s were the best times of my career. I give most of the credit to a man named Johnny Orr, who along with Billy Tubbs made Big Eight basketball into a glorious nightly show. I can’t think of a figure in Iowa State sports history more important, and I love that ISU has it rolling this year. Every time I think of “Coach” Orr, there’s a smile on my face, and I know I’m not alone. That’s a hell of a legacy for anyone.
» What’s the Michigan State blueprint? Find an identity. Execute. Get yourself into two big games and execute some more. Collect trophies.
» Remember when Ohio State and Michigan were going to run all over everybody in the Big Ten?
» The celebrity portion of UNO’s basketball schedule, where the Mavs travel around and play underdog to the big boys, is over. The grind-it-out part, where everyone in the Summit League knows who they are, is about to begin. Have the Mavs, 10-5, done enough to get the attention of one of the two lower postseason tournaments? A lot will depend on a winning league record. And maybe how much is in the bank after the season.
» Johnny Manziel is the college version of Joe Namath. There, I said it.
» No, I don’t know how the Chiefs lost a 28-point second-half lead in the playoffs or how San Diego won a playoff game. I’m still trying to figure out how the Bolts beat the JV Chiefs to end the regular season.
» I don’t often promote Twitter timelines, but if you are a fan of football, history, Lombardi or all things Green Bay — and you are on Twitter — please direct your attention to @davidmaraniss (author of “When Pride Still Mattered”) and his timeline from the past few days. You’ll be glad you did.
» Creighton senior McKenzie Fujan wowed everyone with 38 points, including 28 in the second half, to lead CU past Big East power DePaul on Saturday. And she did it without anyone singing “Sweet Caroline.”
» Stadium Journey, a website and magazine that rates sports stadium experiences around the world, apparently likes us. The magazine ranked TD Ameritrade Park No. 16 on its list of top 100 stadium experiences (No. 1 was Amsoil Arena, hockey home to the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs). It also ranked the College World Series No. 2 in a category called “special event” — ahead of Churchill Downs and the Rose Bowl — and behind only Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Remind me to put that on my bucket list.
» The Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame will induct a class of six on Feb. 9: Ed “Scotty” Orcutt (Omaha), Ron Kelley (Falls City), Jeff Hunter (Omaha), Bob Schneider (York), Glen “Red” Neujahr (York) and Mickey Stubblefield (McCook). The event will be held at the Hall of Fame at Aunt Mary’s Event Center in Beatrice, Neb. For tickets ($25 for adults and $10 for students), call 402-469-4789.
It’s not every day you get to put Aunt Mary’s Event Center in your sports column. That sounds like a fun event. Congrats to the inductees.
» One more and I’m outta here: Nebraska will miss Don Gill, who was sports director at KLIN, a voice of Husker football and the host of the weekly Husker Highlights show for many years. He was a role model to many and a gentleman to all.