Five years ago, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman released a press release announcing the termination of Steve Pederson as the director of Intercollegiate Athletics. A lot of people are trying to compare Nebraska's 2012 issues with Nebraska's 2007 issues. Let's remember the issues that finally led to Steve Pederson's ouster. After a shaky September that featured a blowout loss to Southern Cal and two narrow escapes against Ball State and Iowa State, the Huskers got blown out again to Missouri and Oklahoma State. Nebraska failed to score a touchdown in over 6 quarters in those games. Missouri won 41-6, and Oklahoma State led 38-0 at halftime...in Lincoln. The canary in the coal mine, though, was the resignation of Paul Meyers as Pederson's chief fundraiser. That event got the attention of Perlman, and he finally began to look into the issues in the athletic department that seemingly everybody other than Perlman were concerned about.
Tom Osborne rode into rescue the situation, and things started to improve from there. Bill Callahan and Kevin Cosgrove were gone after the season, and Bo Pelini returned to restore the defense. The next season, Nebraska won nine games and got to a January 1st bowl game. The next two seasons, Nebraska nearly won the Big XII title. Osborne and Perlman managed to navigate through the undercurrent of conference realignment and land Nebraska a spot in the Big Ten. We could watch and giggle as the Big XII nearly imploded multiple times as Texas tried to cement their control over the operations of the conference.
Now, Nebraska's finding themselves in a bit of a rut. OK, a big rut. Nebraska football has slipped in the Big Ten, and Pelini's defense has struggled this season. Some are comparing it to 2007. They have a point; Nebraska isn't playing well in 2012, but the problems aren't nearly as bad overall as they were in 2007. The defense has played well at times (second half against Wisconsin, 1st quarter against Ohio State), and the offense has been extremely productive. Too many turnovers, though. Again, no comparison to 2007 when Nebraska was inept on both sides of the ball. There is not playing well (2012) ... and just plain BAD (2007).
That's not to say that things are all hunky dorey in 2012. A new athletic director is coming on board, and Nebraska needs to win some games down the stretch. Every game is winnable, but every game is also losable. You couldn't really say that in 2007.
Nebraska football is not back. Too many issues to say that, and being "back" at Nebraska means Nebraska needs to play at a level that they haven't played at in over ten years. But one thing is clear, Nebraska is better off today than it was five years ago.