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Nebraska Baseball's Road Trip From Heck

Nebraska's travel problems mean one less game for the Big Red in Omaha
Nebraska's travel problems mean one less game for the Big Red in Omaha

The storm system that shortened Nebraska's 4-1 victory over Michigan State to seven innings on Monday directly led to the cancellation of Tuesday's game against Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park. It wasn't the weather in Omaha...the sun was out all day. The storms caused flight cancellations through the upper midwest, stranding the Huskers at the Lansing, Michigan airport all Monday evening.

What they originally hoped was a delay turned into a cancellation, and with the number of flights that were cancelled, rebooking a party of thirty wasn't going to happen quickly. So Nebraska turned to plan B: finding a bus. Which was easier said than done.  Nebraska actually had to coordinate three busses:  one to take the team from East Lansing to the Chicago area, another to get the team to the Quad Cities, and then one last bus to get them across Iowa.

Of course, no buses were on standby late Monday night, so it took time to get going.  So in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Huskers began the slow trip home.

Once the Huskers reached Joliet, they attempted to crash at a Holiday Inn for a few hours to get a little sleep before the next bus arrived.

Except that bus was late.

Which was double unfortunate for the Huskers because they were woken up after a brief nap, only to sit around waiting for bus #2. And as noon approached, it became clear that the Huskers weren't going to make it to Omaha until game time.  With almost no sleep. So the decision became academic at that point.

Of course, they still had to switch to their third and final bus for the trip across the scenic state of Iowa.

Finally, around 8:30 pm, the Huskers finally arrived in Lincoln safe and sound.

At least Del Griffith wasn't handling the alternative travel arrangements for the Big Red.

Creighton is hoping that Tuesday's game can possibly be rescheduled for Sunday. Nebraska plays Illinois Thursday through Saturday, while Creighton travels to Xavier those same days. The question is whether Nebraska wants to play a game on Sunday, with the Big Ten tournament starting on Wednesday.  The potential of playing up to six games in five days will stretch a pitching staff, so that extra day of rest might be very valuable.

It's understandable why Creighton wants to play: they've sold over 10,000 tickets and a weekend game against Nebraska could draw an even bigger crowd in Omaha. Creighton is also looking at the RPI; although the Jays are ranked 30th by Collegiate Baseball this week, they are only 79th in RPI. A victory against Nebraska and their RPI of 34 could prove beneficial.

If Nebraska wanted to roll the dice on sweeping through the Big Ten tournament and upsetting Indiana, could another victory over Creighton somehow boost Nebraska's RPI into position to host an NCAA regional?  Never say never, but that's probably a reach...and a risk that Nebraska probably shouldn't take.

Nebraska has played well enough that they should be an at-large selection for the NCAA tournament if they make it to Saturday in Omaha. I don't believe that Nebraska needs this game against Creighton, considering what sits in front of them.

Not playing that third game in the Creighton series will no doubt disappoint Husker fans, but Husker fans should also be looking a the big picture, and focus on filling TD Ameritrade Park for the Big Ten tournament next week.