Sunday, August 06, 2006

Revisiting Pediocrity, Huskerpedia, and Husker Hockey

Yesterday's relapse with Harrison Beck's immaturity (Beck skipped practice again today, further clouding his future at Nebraska) reminded me of other, older topics that probably deserve some updating.

After last season's thrashing at Kansas, I felt that Nebraska had lapsed into a state of "Pediocrity". They always say that it's darkest before the dawn...well, that game may go down as the darkest day of Nebraska football since Kansas State shut out Nebraska on Homecoming 1968. Did Callahan and the Huskers turn the corner with the Colorado and Michigoon victories? No doubt the direction of the program is finally looking upward, though whether Nebraska is "back" is debatable at this point. 2 games simply are not enough to make that statement.

HuskerPedia has always been known as one of the most popular internet web sites for Nebraska sports. It's wealth of information led it to become the biggest home for some of the most obsessed fans, who checked out of reality opening themselves to ridicule. Over the last year, though, HuskerPedia has changed...and for the better. Some of the more obsessed, logic-challenged fans were banned for their incessent trolling and flame-baiting. These exiles went on to form their own junior-high message board, that I compare to "South Park". Ironically, they now call everyone who disagrees with them "trolls", even though they've been banned from other forums for that offense. Needless to say, HuskerPedia is not the same place I thought it was a year ago.

The idea of Husker Hockey is one idea that I've had some second thoughts about. As the debate over UNO athletics grew, a few observations have tempered my initial favorable opinion. My initial observation was based on the success Creighton has had with basketball, but the more I think about it, I'm realizing that Creighton's success is based primarily on Dana Altman's success compounded by Nebraska's lack of success in basketball. While it doesn't look like Altman is going anywhere, I think Nebraska basketball has bottomed out. What does that mean for Creighton? Well, if Nebraska starts beating Creighton regularly, much like they did nearly every time they played in the 1980's and 1990's, it will be the Devaney Center that will be packed and the Qwest Center will seem like a cave. What does this mean for Husker hockey? Well, the casual sports fan in Omaha will likely follow his natural allegience to the Huskers, and defect from UNO. And while the rivalry between the Mavs and Huskers would be interesting, it might only serve to fragment the fan base instead of expanding it. And would Husker fans support a building program that could take years to develop? Very few followed Husker baseball until they started winning conference titles, and it took several of those to get Husker baseball to the position in now enjoys.

1 comment:

torear said...

Obviously, both those factors are large components in Creighton's lasting success, but one has to also consider how much CU has capitalized on that success to set down deeper roots and build more of a solid relationship with the fans. I think most UNO fans would agree that, while UNO had so much fan goodwill when the program started, the athletic administration of the time largely frittered it away and once the losing started, the fans vanished. That said, looking at how Creighton has drawn in fans, in tough home seasons (5 losses at Qwest in year 2), up against NU bowl games (11,500), at odd times of the night (sellout) and without the benefit of alcohol sales (near 11,000 average for meaningless NIT games) - methinks the Husker fan that thinks that if NU basketball returns to respectability, they're just going to be thrown into the good graces of the Omaha based fan, they're likely mistaken.

Add to this the unproven commodity they've now brought in as a new coach and player defections all but cementing that Sadler's first impression will be a team that may rival Collier's last place finish squad in ineptitude (compounded by the expectation of big things out of Omaha this season) - they are not in line for much of a good first impression.