Things I know, and things I think I know:

Let's begin with the bright side.

Nebraska next season will get a chance to avenge its 62-3 loss Saturday night at Ohio State. In fact, the Buckeyes are on the Huskers' schedule each of the next three seasons. And get this: Michigan jumps on the schedule in 2018.

That's right, Nebraska in 2018 will play road games at Ohio State and Michigan. That's good news for the Huskers, right?


If I were Mike Riley and Shawn Eichorst, among my concerns at the moment would be falling so far behind the Big Ten East Division powers that it may begin to feel almost impossible to catch them. Let's face it, Nebraska is chasing beasts, and the Huskers just fell a few more steps behind.

At some point, Nebraska will win another conference championship in football. However, following a startlingly lopsided loss at Ohio Stadium, you feel safe saying the Huskers' league-title drought is about to reach a 17th season, even with a strong group of 17 seniors on the current two-deep.

Riley, the second-year Nebraska head coach, must somehow pick up the pieces, quickly.

His boss, Eichorst, needs to continue to find creative ways to improve the sport that drives the athletic department — and no, I don't mean volleyball.

Saturday night's debacle was just one game, I know. There's danger in reading too much into one result. But there's no doubt Riley's climb just got steeper. Just as many would tell you a win against Ohio State would've energized Nebraska's recruiting, it's fair to say the blowout loss saps energy, at least as it pertains to head-to-head battles with the Buckeyes.

Meanwhile, people like to poke fun at Jim Harbaugh. But as long as he's head coach at Michigan, he's going to push Urban Meyer and at times pass him in recruiting and otherwise. They'll likely ensure each other stays sharp and powerful, and raise the level of the entire conference.

But Nebraska can't afford to forever be on the chase, as it is now. To wit: Ohio State ranks second in the current Rivals.com recruiting rankings for the class of 2017, while Michigan is 13th and Nebraska 25th.

Riley and his staff have done some excellent work in recruiting. But let's face it, Ohio State sets the tone in the conference. The Buckeyes have produced top-10 recruiting classes each of the past four years: third in 2016, ninth in 2015, third in 2014 and second in 2013.

Nebraska, during the same period, had classes ranked 26th, 28th, 32nd and 17th. 

You saw the talent disparity in Ohio State's blitzkrieg. But it wasn't all about the talent gap. After all, Meyer's crew needed overtime to win Oct. 15 at Wisconsin, a team Nebraska also pushed to OT. The Buckeyes struggled to hold off Northwestern 24-20, a team the Huskers defeated 24-13.

Indiana put scares into both Ohio State and Nebraska.

Meyer admitted he was "a mess" last week fretting about his sputtering offense, which then put 590 yards on Nebraska.

In other words, there's no good way for Nebraska to explain away 62-3.

That said, the 59-point margin isn't necessarily an accurate representation of the gap that exists between the programs. Again, it's one game and let's face it, Nebraska limped into the Horseshoe with a beat-up offense that's been struggling since early October.

On the other hand, Ohio State sprinted away with remarkable ease, a stunning development that seemed a little too symbolic (and uncomfortable) if you're a Husker fan.   

Will Nebraska ever catch up to OSU and Michigan? With due respect to the top teams in the Big Ten West, the biggest beasts are in the East. For the Huskers, falling too far behind has to be a concern as they battle to get back to winning conference championships on a regular basis.

* It was nice running into Jimmy Burrow before Saturday's game. The former Nebraska defensive back and graduate assistant -- now the defensive coordinator at Ohio University -- watched proudly as his son, Ohio State redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Burrow, went through warm-ups. After the game got out of hand, the younger Burrow was 6-for-6 passing for 62 yards and ran for a touchdown.

Jimmy Burrow said he felt a jolt of emotion as a few Huskers trotted onto the field for warmups. Once a Husker. …

* It's 4:15 a.m. Sunday as I finish this column. Didn't bother going to bed. So, I'm struggling to come up with the appropriate words to describe the magnificence of Ohio Stadium. Let's just say Camp Randall Stadium seems sort of ordinary in comparison.

* Line of the Weekend, Part I (from Lee Corso on ESPN's "College GameDay"): "Texas will have a letdown just going from Austin to Lubbock."

The Longhorns righted themselves in time to beat Texas Tech.

* Line of the Weekend, Part II (from our Brent Wagner): While staring up at the individual Big Ten team flags atop Ohio Stadium, he said, "Maybe they should fly Michigan State's half-staff." Ouch.

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


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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