After the tilt with Oklahoma in Lincoln on November 7, the Cornhuskers make the journey down to Lawrence, Kansas to face the Jayhawks.
The game with Kansas will mark the end of a very tough three-game stretch that starts with a trip down to Waco, TX to face a dangerous group of Baylor Bears with Robert Griffin, Joe Pawelek, and Jordan Lake and has the Sooners visiting Lincoln in between.
Without question the Jayhawks are led by their quarterback, Todd Reesing. Reesing will likely end his career holding most, if not all, of KU records for the quarterback position.
Reesing and Kansas will benefit considerably from the return of a very talented tandem of wide receivers in Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier.
Briscoe is a big play threat in the passing game that late last year provided a huge boost to the KU return game when he averaged nearly 28 yards per return. Meier is a great route runner with exceptional hands, a great safety valve for Reesing if you will.
The Kansas passing game also returns Jonathan Wilson who caught 43 passes in 2008.
Considering the amount of experience returning at quarterback and wide receiver, Kansas will be able to play pitch and catch.
Early in 2008, Kansas was struggling to find a running game, until Jake Sharp emerged and accounted for 860 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jake Sharp is back in 2009 and this offense should be the best offense in the Big 12 North.
On defense Kansas is looking to replace three outstanding linebackers that were the heart and soul of the defense for several years.
On the defensive front, Kansas will be looking to guys like tackle Caleb Blakesley and end Jake Laptad.
I think considering the number of very talented and experienced athletes that Kansas has coming back on offense, that the Blackshirts will have a difficult task ahead of them trying to corral Reesing and his offensive mates.
There are four or five toss up games on Nebraska's 2009 schedule and this is one of them.
I think the loss of Quentin Castille is going to cost Nebraska a game or two this year and could conceivably keep them from representing the North in the Big 12 title game.
It can't be understated or ignored how much losing a big, elusive, and fast athlete like Castille will hurt the Nebraska team. Athletes at 235 lbs with his speed pose serious problems for any defense.
Regardless of how Burkhead or anyone else steps up to replace that, they don't bring what "Q" did to the offense. That is a physical, powerful, and fast presence.
He will be missed.
I think on offense Nebraska will try to expose the underbelly of KU's defense, the trio of new linebackers, with the short to medium range passing game.
I am sure they will be tested against the run too. But, with the tight end athletes that will be getting playing time I think they will show up big against KU.
Ultimately, though, I think this is a game that Nebraska loses due to a home crowd for Kansas and the Kansas athletes returning on offense with experience.
My pick: Kansas 28-Nebraska 27