Tomorrow marks the start of a new era in Nebraska football as the Bo Pelini era begins. Fans are excited, and for good reason. Last season left a bad taste in every Husker fans mouth (myself included), and we're looking for redemption.
But is redemption going to be immediate? I've predicted nine wins in 2008, but I'm not 100% sure of that. I see anything in a range from 3 to 11 wins. (Yes, I said eleven. That's an extreme upside case...and very unlikely.)
But other fans aren't quite so wishy-washy. They're convinced that under Bo, Nebraska will win nine...or ten...or eleven ... or twelve ... or more.
We all know the reasons why it won't happen. Transitions are hard. Nebraska was horrible last season. Nebraska doesn't have the talent needed to win that many games.
The critics may be right. Transitions are hard. But you know what...last season was hard too. There was something horribly wrong in the football program. Changes were made...but were those the only changes that needed to be made? Hard to say right now.
People point out that Nebraska doesn't have the talent level to win nine games in the Big XII. But that raises the question...what the hell have the so-called recruiting experts been telling us the last few years? Nebraska's recruiting rankings have been near the top of the Big XII the last few years; could it be possible that the Huskers really have a talent level near the bottom?
I'm a huge skeptic of recruiting rankings to be sure...but I'm not sure they're THAT wrong. Funny thing is that we heard much of this talk five years ago when Bo Pelini first arrived in Lincoln.
At that time, the talk was about how Nebraska didn't have the talent to compete in the Big XII. The defense got whipped badly in games at Penn State, Iowa State, and Kansas State the season previous. They looked lost on the field.
Pelini came in, and rebuilt the defense. He connected with those players, revitalized them, and got them back on track. They ended up being a top-fifteen defense. Oh, and the talent level that was supposed to be so poor? Most of them ended up playing in the NFL.
So now in 2008, we hear the story that Nebraska doesn't have 2003 talent. Isn't that ironic after all we've been told in recent years?
The truth is: we simply don't know what kind of talent exists in Lincoln. We merely know that these players have previously been poorly coached and developed. How good can this team be?
We simply don't know. But tomorrow, we begin to find out.