Chicago, IL - During Big Ten Media Days last year, Nebraska was a large focal point of discussion. The Huskers were just joining the conference and most coaches were asked about the newest addition to the league. Bo Pelini's defensive squad featured three preseason All-Americans and many felt the Huskers could take the Big Ten Conference by storm.
Fast forward a year and Big Ten Media Days in 2012 had a new focus. While Penn State's scandal stole most of the headlines, new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and crew had plenty of attention on their program.
As for Nebraska – under the radar.
But as this writer has said multiple times…maybe that's a blessing.
"It's a blessing if you can play. I don't mean that to be a smart alack, I think Coach Pelini would say the same thing," said Fox Sports college football analyst Charles Davis. "Being under the radar is fine, if you can play. If you can't play, you are going to be under the radar anyway. But if you can, you will emerge when the time comes. You will beat the people you are supposed to.
"Nebraska is one of the most scrutinized programs in the country, just in the confines of it's own state; being under the radar nationally is probably a bit of a comfort for them. Normally you are suffocated at home and the rest of the world is looking in on you."
As for year two in the conference, the Huskers should benefit from playing opponents last year for the first time. While Pelini's opponent preview book might not be that of other schools in the conference, at least Nebraska is not playing 13 new opponents in 2012.
"I think there is definitely an element of familiarity. Not necessarily with the trips, because you haven't made all the trips, but just the idea of the rhythms of the conference," said Davis. "It's the idea of picking up the paper and realizing those are the opponents you are playing, you aren't gravitating to see what Kanas State did anymore. It's about mentally making that switch."