How do you win 10 games in a college football season and finish unranked? With their embarrassing 19-7 loss to a previously .500 Washington team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers might be about to find out. Heading into the Holiday Bowl the Huskers were ranked 16th and 17th respectively in the Coaches’ and AP polls; but as losers of three of their last four they could be on the outside looking in when the final polls are released. Since Bob Devaney arrived in 1962 the Huskers have never won 10 games and finished unranked, a span that includes the era where only 10 teams were ranked by the AP and UPI. Ranked or not, this season was still a success when compared to the Bill Callahan era but that’s ultimately the point: Most Husker fans thought they were beyond the Callahan comparisons. For Bo Pelini it represents the first step backward in his short tenure in Lincoln. At the start of the season the Huskers were a hot team, a dark horse national title contender. They’ll start 2011 in a new conference with their toughest schedule in decades and — in what may be the biggest loss of all — no discernible buzz whatsoever. The quarterback situation is up in the air again. The greatest kicker in school history is gone and his potential replacement — as much as there can be one — just reneged on his commitment. The offense is still the albatross around Pelini’s neck. This is supposed to be the time of the year for unbridled optimism. Most of us haven’t even had time to break our New Year’s resolutions. Ironically, resolve might be the only thing the Huskers have to build on as they prepare for the Big 10. Who saw that coming? —Creighton, on the other hand, is heading into 2011 on a wave of momentum after winning the last six games going into their Jan. 4 game with Missouri State. Following a tough non-conference schedule that saw the Jays suffer bitter losses to Iowa State, Northwestern and BYU, first-year Coach Greg McDermott has the team coming together as they enter Missouri Valley Conference play. That’s always been the Jays ticket to success and they’ll get a good test this week with three conference games in six days. The conference season is long, but this is statement time for Creighton.

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