Nebraska football has been hyped since a 13-12 one second loss to Texas in the Big 12 Title game. Then, Nebraska handled Arizona like a child playing with a doll in a 33-0 Holiday Bowl beat down.
Then Bo Pelini made this statement, "Nebraska's back and we're here to stay!" Thus began a flurry of anticipation and anxious waiting for the 2010 season.
Immediately following Pelini's statement thousands of Husker fans envisioned a BCS title game berth in 2010. A game that would most likely pit the Huskers either against Nick Saban and the Tide of Alabama, or against future Big Ten Conference foe Ohio State. Either way, Nebraska fans were ready for it in January.
Then came March and April and Husker fans let the emotions wane and they came to the realization that questions abounded for the Huskers of 2010 and some enthusiasm was tempered. At least until the preview magazines and preseason polls were released.
Nebraska was ranked in the Top 10 in nearly all preseason polls and picked to win the Big 12 North in every credible magazine that was released. Then came the college football preview show on College Football Live on ESPN today.
At the end of the show each analyst (Desmond Howard, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit) picked their favorite to win each major conference.
The first semi-surprise of the afternoon show was Desmond Howard and Lee Corso picking Nebraska not only to win the North, but to win the Big 12 title game completely. Normally ESPN is late to jump on the Nebraska bandwagon, and for good reason, Nebraska hasn't validated any expectations since the 2001 season.
Something is different about 2010 though, and even ESPN analysts can feel it. The final act of the show was a prediction of the BCS championship winner.
Desmond Howard picked Miami and Herbstreit not surprisingly picked Ohio State, but Corso broke form the traditional mode and picked Nebraska over Florida in the BCS Championship game.
To quote Corso, "Just like 1995."
Now Corso is older and hasn't shown his same pop or expertise in previous years, but he's still a coach and can analyze talent and coaching at a high level. It was the first time Nebraska was mentioned as a national title contender since 2001 and could mean that the beginning of Pelini's statement a few months ago is coming true, "Nebraska is back," in the discussion at least.
The final question is, can Nebraska live up to the hype?
We'll find out soon enough.