By the end of Nebraska's Inaugural Big Ten season, the Cornhuskers finished 9-4 (5-3 Big Ten). Those numbers are exactly the same as Bo Pelini's first year as head coach of Nebraska. Four losses every season is not good.
With four straight wins, the season started off to a great start. Nebraska looked like they could be, or were the best team in the Big Ten. The defense was supposed to be outstanding. There was CB Alfonzo Denard in the secondary, LB Levonte David stopping running backs from getting into the secondary, and DL Jared Crick frightening quarterbacks across the nation. With a new offensive coordinator, Tim Beck (former Quarterbacks Coach), promising a more spread offense. Even having to play some of the top teams in the nation, the Cornhuskers we're still considered the front-runner in the first ever Big Ten Championship.
The 2011-2012 season started off as one of the regular "Big dogs" against "Little dogs" games. Tennessee-Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said, "We may have a kid or two that could get a backup role, and obviously every one of their guys could come start for us." There was your usual beat down Nebraska stomped on Tennessee-Chattanooga 40-7. After that, came the Fresno State game, which gave Husker fans everywhere quite a scare. The Bulldogs led most of the game, but Nebraska came out on top with a 42-29 win. It came to no surprise too many since Fresno is usually one of the NON-AQ teams to upset many BCS schools. We could consider the next two wins (against Washington and Wyoming) "easy" and they did seem to come with ease, but there were still some wrinkles left to iron out before Big Ten play began.
The first Big Ten game for the Huskers came with a lot of excitement. ESPN's College Gameday was down in Madison, Wisconsin and "Coach" Lee Corso even wore one of the iconic "cornheads" choosing the Huskers over the Badgers. Even after a reassuring firs quarter, Taylor Martinez ended three straight drives with interceptions and Nebraska went on to lose the game 48-17.
Then came three straight wins against Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan State. Nebraska came in a favorite against Ohio State, but apparently waited until they were down 21 points to finish the greatest comeback in Nebraska Cornhuskers football history. Minnesota was as predicted not a blow out, but a fairly easy win. Facing Michigan State, Nebraska was considered an underdog yet upset the Spartans
Nebraska became leaders of the Legends division after that, then they Northwestern. The Cornhuskers came in favorites to the game yet lost in embarrassing fashion with many mental mistakes, and turnovers. Nebraska then went on to beat Penn State in probably one of the most memorable college football games in history, not because of what happened during the game but what happened leading up to it. Nebraska went on to play Michigan who looked stronger, faster, and more disciplined and ran all over Nebraska's defense with Denard Robinson leading the way. The defeat of new rival made it seem like the loss to Michigan would be their last.
Coming in to Orlando, Florida Nebraska had to face South Carolina and Steve Spurrier. The previous time that Steve Spurrier face a Nebraska team he saw the back of a certain number 15 jersey (Tommie Frazier's) for three straight hours. Steve Spurrier made sure that he would possibly try and forget that game against Nebraska more than ten years ago and went on to win 30-13
Overall Nebraska finished with a 9-4 (5-3 Big Ten) record. Even though Bo Pelini kept up with Tom Osborne's tradition of nine wins every season. So many things went wrong this season for Nebraska to contend for the Big Ten Championship let alone the Legends division.