The 2013 season sets Nebraska up for a great run and a shot for Bo Pelini to break the four-loss hex he's struggled with since coming to Lincoln. There's a good chance the Huskers will be 7-0 heading into November as top 15 team, if not top 10.
While Nebraska's schedule allows for a head of steam to build before hitting its most difficult stretch, there are five teams that have what it takes to trip the Big Red up along the way.
5. UCLA Bruins - In a game that could've gone either way, the Huskers were shell-shocked thanks to Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin in Pasadena last season. Now Nebraska gets to host the Bruins, and as it stands, it doesn't sound like Franklin's replacement has stepped to the forefront.
However, Nebraska's defensive interior is going to get a far better test against UCLA than it will against Wyoming the week prior. The Huskers will likely be double-digit favorites for this match-up, but unless the Bruins' run game can be clamped down this season, the home crowd could see another shootout.
4. Northwestern Wildcats - During a season littered with Big Red comebacks, Northwestern tasted perhaps one of the most bitter, losing 29-28. While we don't know what Pelini will put on the field in terms of defense, much of that same speedy Wildcat squad will trip to Lincoln.
Trevor Sieman, Kain Colter and Venric Mark who all gave Nebraska fits last season return, and thanks to Pat Fitzgerald, this year's The Battle of NUs has the potential to be won by the nerds in Lincoln again.
3. Michigan State Spartans - Nebraska rallied from a 10-point deficit to knock off the Spartans 28-24 in East Lansing and now-Pittsburgh Steeler Le'Veon Bell didn't approve of the referees' performance that evening. He then did what any average college football player would do.
L_Bell24: "ShoutOut to the refs…y'all won the game tonight! Touhhest team we played all year"
L_Bell24: "I expected all the hate, but idc...we legitimately lost ONE game this year...and that was Notre Dame! The black & white team beat us 4 times"
We all had a good laugh, Bell did the smart thing and deleted the tweets and all was well in the land of the Big Red. Another week, another comeback, you know how we do.
Sparty's usually a tough test, and aren't to be taken lightly, but not only did Bell depart, but one of Michigan State's defensive gems, William Gholston took his leave.
While Nebraska's trying to figure out how to stitch up the defense, MSU's working on figuring out who's going to be the starting signal-caller.
This type of contest is usually determined by turnovers.
2. @ Michigan Wolverines - Once Denard Robinson was injured last year in Lincoln, Michigan was screwed. You knew it, I knew it, everyone knew it. Brady Hoke likely had his Spotify account pumped through his headset for the rest of the game.
The Huskers travel to Ann Arbor this year in a game that may very well decide the Legends division winner. If the game were held today, how Nebraska's offense responded to Michigan's defense would define the game. The Wolverines feature a rock-solid defensive front four while Tim Beck's weaponry rivals Tony Stark's.
Michigan has been hauling in fantastic recruiting classes lately, though and Pelini hasn't historically done well on the road in larger stadiums. Yes, the Big House doesn't hold much noise in, but if that many people get whipped into a frenzy, it's still intimidating.
1. @ Penn State Nittany Lions - Let's see, team's pissed off about last year's game? Check. Home-field advantage? Check. A crowd that will likely be the absolute opposite of the last time these two met in State College? Uh, yeah.
In 2002, Penn State launched a campaign called, "Operation Visine" during the week of their tilt with Nebraska. Get it? Visine? Keep the red out? It's clever, come on.
Anyway, what resulted was a sliver of red in a sea of white. A loud sea of white. What resulted was a 40-7 beatdown of a Big Red squad that would eventually break Nebraska's streak of winning at least nine games every season.
Quarterback Matt McGloin may be gone, but 1,000-yard rusher Zach Zwinak returns. Once the QB situation gets sorted out, the Nittany Lions have a number of safety valves in their tight ends to stretch out the Huskers' defense.
If there's a game that the Huskers should hold their heads high about winning, it's this one.