Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, 1.29

Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos (left) watches the Husker men's basketball team take on Wisconsin Jan. 29 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

Things I know, and things I think I know:

If you ever wonder why major-college athletic directors are paid handsomely, consider Bill Moos' upcoming month of work.

The second-year Nebraska athletic director at some point will announce a decision on Tim Miles' future with the school. The Husker men's basketball team is 13-11 overall and 3-10 in the Big Ten, and has lost seven straight games. The Big Ten Tournament begins March 13. An announcement likely would occur in that time period.

Moos' job could get tricky, particularly if he's in a position where he feels he has to sell the program to high-profile coaches. That would be challenging because Nebraska isn't necessarily a top-50 job. 

When former Husker sharpshooter Cary Cochran (1999-2002) made that point last week on "Early Break" (93.7 FM), it gave me pause. It's not a top-50 job? Seriously? The more he talked, the more sense it made.

"I think the Nebraska job, nationally, is viewed as being just OK," said Cochran, who had stints as an assistant coach at both James Madison and Wyoming.

He's quick to point out that the Nebraska job is better now than when he played. Big Ten media rights money has helped greatly. The facilities are as good as it gets. Think about the advantages afforded Miles, currently in his seventh season, compared to those afforded his predecessors.

Even so, the Nebraska job ranks only ninth in the Big Ten according to an article published in October by college hoops insider Jeff Goodman of watchstadium.com. Goodman polled a handful of veteran coaches while also using eight categories to determine the rankings: 1. Tradition; 2. Media exposure; 3. Game atmosphere; 4. Facilities; 5. Selling pros (not only NBA players, but also those who play overseas); 6. Admission requirements; 7. Budget/resources; 8. Geographical recruiting base.

Writes Goodman: "The good news? The Cornhuskers have big-time facilities. The bad? There's virtually no players in the state. Nebraska has been to the NCAA tourney just seven times in all, and just once since 1998. It's a football school for sure, and it's a tough job to be the Nebraska men's basketball coach."

But 50 better college jobs? Upon closer review, one can get to 50 without even counting the likes of Iowa, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Washington, Cal, Xavier and Texas Tech. You probably could add others.

If Moos were to fire Miles, could the A.D. attract a high-profile coach who already has won at a high level (read: multiple NCAA Tournament appearances and several victories in the Dance)? Especially if that coach wasn't Fred Hoiberg or Dana Altman? Those two have ties to either the program or the area, or both. Hoiberg's grandfather, Jerry Bush, coached the Husker basketball team from 1954-63.

If I were Moos and decided to replace Miles, my search would start with Hoiberg, Altman and Tyronn Lue.

I agree with Cochran that if Moos makes a change, he should strongly consider a break from the pattern of hiring coaches from mid-major programs. Nebraska has tried it with Miles (Colorado State), Doc Sadler (UTEP), Barry Collier (Butler) and Danny Nee (Ohio).

"Nebraska has to look at someone who's done it before (won at a high level) with high expectations," Cochran said. "That's where there has been a big letdown with coach Miles. When there have been expectations, I think you could say there's been failure."

So, could Nebraska attract a high-profile coach or not? One natural answer is yes, if the price was right. As in $3 million annually, minimum.

Nobody's pushing Miles out the door. But Moos has some thinking to do, including about Nebraska's place in the hoops world.

* Nebraska's Red-White Spring Game already is sold out, and there's not even a quarterback race to agonize over.

Husker fans obviously have a high degree of trust in Scott Frost. Same goes for Adrian Martinez. The player I'll be most interested to watch? Let's see what sort of punch Maurice Washington packs with some additional pounds. Put Caleb Tannor in that category, too.

* In case you're wondering, the top spring-game attendance schools in 2018: 1. Nebraska (86,818); 2. Georgia (82,184); 3. Alabama (74,732); 4. Penn State (71,000); 5. Tennessee (65,098).

* The Alliance of American Football's first two games, broadcast Saturday on CBS, drew what should be considered a successful rating for its inaugural event, according to CBSSports.com. Between regional action of the San Diego Fleet at the San Antonio Commanders, and the Atlanta Legends at the Orlando Apollos, Nielsen ratings say that both games averaged more than 2.9 million viewers for the 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. CST time slot.

Sports TV Ratings tweeted that the "NBA on ABC" averaged 2.524 million viewers in the same time slot.

We love us some football in this country. Whether the AAF's TV ratings remain strong depends largely on quarterback play. If it's sloppy, folks will turn away.

* Miles' crew plays Minnesota at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. I'll bet you a hot pretzel there will be 10,000-plus fans on hand.

The fan base is intense, and loyal. Moos could definitely sell that.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


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