Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini can rest easy this fall knowing the Huskers return a potent offense and face a relatively soft schedule.
However, that does not mean he doesn't have his fair share of concerns entering the 2013 season.
The new faces that will debut on defense and the potential for the offense to relapse and return to old habits will cause Pelini anxiety heading into Saturday's opener against Wyoming.
Since taking over the starting job in 2010, quarterback Taylor Martinez has been plagued by fragility. Whether it is due to the number of hits he takes as a dual-threat quarterback or the way in which he takes them, Martinez has fought nagging injuries for much of his time in Lincoln.
Of course, the quarterback situation behind Martinez is nowhere near as dire as it once was. In previous years, the offense was electric with him and utterly stagnant without him.
However, thanks to the strong performances of Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ron Kellogg III in the 2013 spring game, Pelini does not need to be as concerned about losing Martinez as he was in the past. With that being said, there is still no question that the offense is not the same without him under center.
As in 2012, the Legends Division title will hinge on the Nebraska-Michigan game. Unfortunately for the Big Red, that showdown is scheduled to take place at The Big House.
Since joining the Big Ten, the Huskers have shown a clear inability to perform at their best on the conference's biggest stages. In 2011, it was trips to Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2012, it was visits to Ohio State and Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game.
If Nebraska hopes to rise above the nine- or 10-win plateau, it must stand strong in tough environments. It will get its chance on November 9.
One of many question marks on the 2013 Nebraska defense lies in the interior of the defensive line. Hampered by injuries last season, the blackshirts were forced to adapt, switching undersized players like Cameron Meredith to the inside. The results were clear.
The Huskers again will struggle to fill the ranks this season, particularly after Chase Rome's departure from the program and sophomore Kevin Williams' torn ACL.
Beyond veteran senior nose tackle Thad Randle, there are plenty of candidates—including sophomore Aaron Curry and redshirt freshman Vincent Valentine—to receive readily available playing time. Very few of them, however, bring much experience to the table.
The biggest shortcoming of an otherwise potent Huskers offense is its ball security.
Returning almost every starter from a year ago, Bo Pelini needs his veteran offense to show its experience by taking care of the ball. The defense will have its hands full as it tries to develop young, inexperienced talent on the fly.
If Nebraska's offense frequently puts the defense in compromising situations, as it has done in the past, then this young group of blackshirts stand little chance of improving upon the 2012 campaign.
The Huskers' linebacker corps has been the story at Nebraska since the 2012 crew was exposed at UCLA early in the season. You can bet it still sits at the forefront of Bo Pelini's mind as the 2013 season kicks off.
Last year, the blackshirts relied on wily veterans such as Will Compton, Sean Fisher and Alonzo Whaley.
All were seniors, and all struggled in the open field.
Looking at this season's group of linebackers, there is reason for excitement. The Huskers boast a talented depth chart headlined by David Santos and Zaire Anderson. Despite their clear athleticism, though, only a couple have seen meaningful game experience.
The success of the entire defensive unit could depend on how this group develops and grows throughout the 2013 season.