Nebraska and Michigan are next scheduled to play in 2018. If the past few days in recruiting serve as an indication, the game can't get here soon enough.
After a weekend in Ann Arbor in which Jim Harbaugh's staff flipped the commitment of Florida defensive end Reuben Jones from Nebraska to Michigan, Daishon Neal on Tuesday poured fuel on the warm embers of a budding Big Ten rivalry.
Neal, a defensive end out of Omaha (Neb.) Central, accepted a visit Monday from Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison. Committed to Nebraska since April, Neal wavered in his pledged after Bo Pelini was fired in November. As Neal worked to establish a relationship with Mike Riley's new staff in Lincoln, he flirted with Oklahoma and Oregon in recruiting, ultimately eliminating both.
This week, on the heels of his official visit to Nebraska, Neal received an offer from Michigan.
Then on Tuesday, he reaffirmed his commitment to the Huskers in a radio interview with Sharp & Benning in the Morning on Omaha's KOZN 1620-AM.
In the process, Neal and his father, Abraham Hoskins Jr., ripped the Wolverines.
"They made one bad statement," Hoskins said of the Monday visit with Mattison, "and it ruined them. They said without football, Daishon wouldn't be able to go to Michigan -- like we couldn't afford to send him there or we couldn't get him [academically eligible].
"Once he said that, we pretty much escorted him out of the house."
Neal said Mattison "basically tried to call me stupid in front of my face."
Listen to the full audio here.
A few things strike me:
Mattison and the Michigan coaches cannot respond until next week, when Neal signs with Nebraska. And by then, the Wolverines will have more important topics to address -- like their own class.
Interpret Mattison's purported comments as you wish. He wasn't necessarily insulting Neal. It's a fact Michigan is selective in the admission process and it helps a student's cause to receive a football scholarship. I doubt his statement was related to finances.
This feels a bit like Mattison walked into a trap in Omaha. Did Michigan really stand a chance here? Neal had an excellent visit to Nebraska over the weekend, by his own account, and the Huskers benefit from a victory -- perceived or real -- over Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines in recruiting.
Most notably, less than a month into the Harbaugh era, things are going just as well as hoped.
We all know Harbaugh is going to make a run at Urban Meyer and Ohio State in the way he targeted USC's Pete Carroll while at Stanford.
Of course, Harbaugh will get under the skin of Michigan State fans.
A little bad blood with Nebraska is an excellent side story. It makes sense, too.
Nebraska running backs coach Reggie Davis coached for Harbaugh with the 49ers for the past four years. Harbaugh's son, Michigan tight ends coach Jay, worked as an undergraduate assistant for Nebraska's Riley at Oregon State.
Harbaugh, in fact, played late in his NFL career for Riley with the Chargers.
The Huskers and Wolverines figure to coach with similar philosophies and covet many of the same recruits.
In fact, they're battling for another. Tight end Matt Snyder of San Ramon, California, a Nebraska pledge, visited Michigan last weekend.
Home visits from both schools to Snyder are scheduled for this week. Expect a little more sparring.
Now, if only the Big Ten could do something about that four-year wait until they play again.