This Nebraska-Boise State series should be easy. But it's not. Blame the BCS.
Boise officials have been slow to act on a Nebraska offer for a two-for-one series — the common offer for a non-BCS school, with two trips to Lincoln. Reportedly BSU gets these offers a lot. The Broncos' attitude is that they're above that now. Maybe they are. Boise could be ranked high in next year's preseason polls, probably top five.
A source at NU told me recently that Boise wanted a $1 million guarantee to come to Lincoln one time. Maybe that's Boise's way of separating itself from other non-BCS schools. Sorry, that's a bit high. Most non-BCS schools get about $600,000 to $800,000 to come to NU.
Meanwhile, NU has a deal with BCS schools like Virginia Tech or Washington where they will pay for the travel expenses and hotel, etc., when a BCS school comes to Lincoln and NU keeps all of its home gate for that game. Then the reverse happens when NU travels to the BCS opponent stadium.
I'd be tempted to offer Boise a similar deal — home and home in 2015 (Lincoln) and 2016 (Boise) — with the visitor getting all expenses paid. But that offers a dangerous precedent for other non-BCS schools wanting that deal. And NU needs its two-for-ones to get those seven home games a year.
What's the answer? I don't know. Maybe a third game, played in Dallas or Kansas City or Chicago or Denver, where the two split the gate. NU should play Boise. But not for $1 million.
• Last week's Outland Trophy dinner was the best one — entertaining, emotional and expedient — in 12 years in Omaha. If you were fortunate enough to be in attendance, you got a front row seat to the culture Bo Pelini has instilled in Lincoln. There was a little razzing and lots of love and respect from both NU coaches and the players there. There is some serious chemistry going on. At one point, after Ndamukong Suh took a playful jab at assistant Marvin Sanders, assistant coach Mike Ekeler tapped me on the shoulder and said, “That's why this thing works.''
• I received several e-mails from folks who were frustrated because they and their kids got left out at the end of the autograph line after Thursday's Outland banquet. That's too bad they couldn't stay a little longer and sign. But it's also too bad so many adults jammed up the autograph line. Autographs were always something I got as a kid, usually outside the locker room area of a ballgame. I don't understand so many adults rushing up to get signatures. Maybe they didn't get them as kids.
• So now that Creighton has some momentum, what keeps it going? The Jays are 9-9, they would need a monumental collapse from a veteran Northern Iowa team to have a shot at the Valley title, and they can't even think about the NCAAs until the Valley tourney tips off in six long weeks. This program is in a place it hasn't been in a long time. With no immediate carrot out there as motivation, this will be a test for Dana Altman and his team to grind away and try and peak on March 5. Might be just what the program needs to get some toughness back and grow.
• Remember when Michigan was the game that was going to change Creighton's season, be that validation game? Even with Sunday's upset over UConn at home, Michigan is now 10-7 with an RPI (realtimerpi.com) of 122. So you never know when you schedule the behemoths. Heck, Xavier (14) and Dayton (29) are the meat on CU's schedule.
• Congratulations to Ben Robert and the Lancers on getting the largest crowd in franchise history on Saturday night. The move to the Civic Auditorium has worked out well. The Lancers have the best record in the USHL, including a 13-5 home mark. And attendance (3,072 average) is up from last year (2,539).
• Maybe there's something in the Qwest Center water. UNO hockey has also had trouble finishing things this year. The Mavs outshot Lake Superior State in two games last weekend 82-56 and lost both games, 2-1 and 5-4 in overtime. I have a hunch coach Dean Blais will take care of that on the recruiting trail.
• It's too bad Shonn Greene didn't come back for another season in Iowa City, and as a San Diego Chargers fan, I mean that sincerely.
• Tell me, Cubs fans, how do you do it?
• I've got the Saints vs. the Colts in the Super Bowl. The ghost of Archie Manning vs. Peyton Manning.
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