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Coming into 2013, Nebraska fans looked at the softer schedule and thought this might be the year that Nebraska finally makes the leap from being a team on the fringes of the top 25 to a team with national relevance. Nebraska’s near-miss against Wyoming was a massive wake-up call and may have significantly tempered expectations amongst the fanbase.
But the game against UCLA is a true test of where Nebraska is as a program. Given the schedule that lies ahead (although Illinois doesn’t look like quite the layup it did earlier after the Illini’s 45-17 demolition of Cincinnati), a Nebraska win on Saturday could set NU up at 7-0 going into the game against Northwestern in Lincoln.
Conversely, a loss to UCLA will likely knock Nebraska out of the top 25, with no real opportunity to get back in given the caliber of opponents in September and October. So if Nebraska is ready to reach that metaphoric “next level” under Bo Pelini’s leadership, a win on Saturday would go a long way to getting there.
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