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Knee-Jerk Reactions: Ohio State – The Video Game

Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire

I’ve been a pretty big video game buff since the days when Mario was bouncing around trying to save a princess in the ’80s. What does this have to do with Nebraska football?

Well, much like the innovations in entertainment technology, the Big Red has seen some drastic changes over the past 15 years or so.

Unfortunately for me and millions of other college football fans, the last incarnation of the NCAA Football franchise came out back in 2013. I specifically keep my PS3 just to play the game once in a while.

This Ohio State team reminded me of what my college football teams would develop into by my third year in the program, more or less. Of course, as my stock went up as a coach, I became more of an ace recruiter and man, was I cut-throat when it came to development. If you were being outworked by a lowerclassman as a junior, your butt was gone.

This is modern-day Ohio State. It’s amazing, really. I never thought I’d see a team look like it was playing on “rookie mode” as much as the Buckeyes did against Nebraska.

However, it makes sense. You saw the difference between a team full of four- and five-stars that go through a grinding process only to be rolled out amongst plenty of depth and one struggling through yet another program shift — 2.5 years in, no less.

A vast majority of the fanbase is pissed with what happened at Memorial Stadium this mid-October. I get that. I’ve seen the “Make Nebraska Great Again” shirts, UCF hats, and constant retweeting of anything remotely related to UCF Football by local fans and national media alike.

There’s a term in the gaming community. It’s called “rage-quitting”. The definition of rage-quitting is “to angrily abandon an activity or pursuit that has become frustrating, especially the playing of a video game.”

I can’t tell you how many voices I hear that want to slam the reset button on the Nebraska football program right now. Unlike a video game, doing that can have some pretty stiff consequences. I’ve discussed that at length.

John Talman, one of the voices of the national Rivals.com network became curious about the Huskers’ situation this evening.

Here Talman is — who has absolutely no skin in the game about who claims the title of Nebraska’s head football coach — preaching patience. Of course, we know that’s at a premium in the Big Red Fishbowl these days. The Huskers got out-muscled in the second half by Wisconsin last week and simply didn’t belong on the same field as Ohio State.

Why have patience, you ask?

Well, we can look at Talman’s own service to see what Riley looks to bring into Lincoln — and there is more in the pipeline if he remains. The very first of his recruits will become upperclassmen next season and the sophomores look even more talented as of now. Do changes need to be made to the program? I believe so. I think the coaching staff needs to be re-evaluated, the pocketbook opened and the best brought in.

It’s hard to watch what happened against Wisconsin and Ohio State, nod your head and say “Yes, I see progress” without looking deep down at the nitty-gritty. However, that’s where you’ll find the evidence.

When Tanner Lee starts becoming more aware in the pocket and makes better choices.

When the offensive line gels bit by bit and is able to make hay where it couldn’t before.

When defensive linemen actually look like they could grow to go blow-for-blow with the usual Big Ten suspects.

And, well…JD Spielman. What else can you say about him?

Ultimately, there will be those screaming for Scott Frost or anyone but Riley and that may be where the program is headed. I don’t think it will be too long before a new athletic director is named and it would greatly surprise me if that person didn’t address the state of things one way or another. All I can say for sure right now is that it’ll be interesting to watch unfold.

If that reset button gets slammed again, it needs to be a calculated move.

The Nebraska football program as we know it can only take so many jolts before it’s “game over” in reference to relevance.

Comment below or keep up with the author by following Brandon on Twitter at @eightlaces

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