Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Creighton Fans Feel Threatened By Sadler

I'm not sure if it's humorous or pathetic, but it appears that there is a faction of Creighton fans who are feeling threatened by Doc Sadler and Nebraska basketball. I'm not sure that it's a particularly large group, but it's probably some of the more recent bandwagon fans who have never heard of Rick Johnson. They don't remember the days when the Bluejays drew Ak-Sar-Ben Knight-sized crowds to the Civic. They hopped on the Dana Altman bandwagon a few years ago, and never bothered to look back.

On one hand, I can see why they've jumped on the bandwagon. Creighton's become a regular in the NCAA tournament under Altman, and attendance has tripled in recent years. It's surpassed UNO hockey as the #2 sport in town. Altman and Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen have done a wonderful job building up the Jays program.

At the same time Altman arrived in Omaha, the implosion of Nebraska basketball was just beginning. In the early to middle 90's, Husker hoops was king of the winter time around these parts. Regularly packing the Devaney Center, Nebraska frequently knocked off ranked teams like Kansas and Oklahoma on national TV, gaining at-large bids to the NCAA tournament. Even won the old Big Eight basketball tournament in Kansas City once. Then, Nee lost it... one day, his players walked out on him and protested to then-athletic director Bill Byrne. Byrne stood behind Nee, but the damage was done. The program began to flounder as the team grew more and more undisciplined until Nee was finally fired. Byrne hired Barry Collier who restored some fundamentals but struggled to put together a competitive team in the Big XII.

Creighton finally snapped a 7 game losing streak to Nebraska, and went on their own 5 game winning streak. The tide had turned...Nebraska was now the team floundering, and Creighton was enjoying success. And thus was born two new types of Creighton fan: the "BrieJay" fan who wants to jump on the Altman bandwagon at the new "it" thing to do, and the "BratJay" fan who can't enjoy his own team's success unless he's kicking someone else at the same time. And in this case, it was Nebraska who was the most convenient target. Nebraska, because they are 50 miles away. Nebraska, because they are part of the BCS conspiracy against mid-majors like Creighton.

Now, enter Doc Sadler as head coach of Nebraska. Danny Nee once asked Sadler to be an assistant at Nebraska. He knew what Nebraska basketball once was, and wants to aspire to exceed that. Which doesn't sit well with the BratJay fan. You see, they are like any other bully... they get their enjoyment out of others pain. And suddenly Sadler seems to be easing Nebraska's basketball pain. The idea that Nebraska is somehow catching up with Creighton is something that can't be tolerated. So they take offense at everything. Nebraska wants to rent out Omaha's Qwest Center for a game? Outrageous! Sadler wants to make the Huskers the basketball team of the entire state? No way!

So imagine the reaction of these fans when Nebraska beat an Elite 8 team from the year before in Omaha... You guessed it...change the subject. Nebraska hasn't won an NCAA tournament game before...Nebraska hasn't won their conference regular season title since blah blah. We beat Nebraska... blah blah blah. Creighton is superior to Nebraska. Always has been, always will.

Except for one little fact that BratJay fan conveniently forgets. All time, Nebraska leads the Bluejay-Husker series 23-18. That is the ultimate "scoreboard" when you compare the two programs.

So what's the point? Creighton has a great coach, and they've had great success in recent years. The future for Creighton looks bright. So why feel the need to try and throw dirt on Nebraska? Will that somehow make Creighton look better? Nope...just makes the BratJay fan look like a bully.

It's not all Creighton fans...probably not even most Creighton fans. And that's not to suggest that these two schools aren't entitled to a little bit of a rivalry. But when you take offense at every little thing that happens in Lincoln, that's not a rivalry...that's paranoia.


Ryan said...

I'm a Creighton fan, but am not threatened by Sadlar. In fact, I pay no attention to him when he's not publicly bashing Creighton fans ("10,000 of Creighton's fans are just there for the social event?").

I felt like that was an unnecessary cheap shot.

I realize that many Creighton fans take cheap potshots at NU, but it NEVER comes from the coach.

Husker Mike said...

You might consider it a cheap shot, but it's more true than you want to admit. I went to a Creighton game a couple of years ago, and thought I was at mass at St. Johns on campus. Heck, even your own fans talk about people who could care less about the game.

You do realize that Sadler complimented Creighton for having 7K fans who do care about the game. A few years ago, Creighton was doing good just to drawn 5K to a game. That shows growth in the fan base.

Sadler knows that when Nebraska plays Creighton at Rosenblatt, it's usually around 3 Husker fans to 1 Jay fan. He knows there are a lot of Husker fans in the Omaha area.

Anonymous said...

How many fans showed up to watch the Jays play in the NIT?

That is how many TRUE fans they have