Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Big Ten media days are less than two weeks away, To get you ready, we’re running through three questions facing each Big Ten team and the potential answers we could hear at the Hilton Chicago on July 28 and 29.
1. Can the Huskers get over the hump?
Sure, it's a tired subject. But when you're Nebraska and you've gone since 1999 without a conference championship and since the 2001 season without playing in a major bowl, the question will persist. Most programs would kill to have the Huskers' recent run under Pelini: 58 wins in six years, and never fewer than nine in a season. Yet Nebraska is not most programs. Pelini appears to have one of his better defenses of late, and there is vast opportunity in the wide-open West Division. Can the Huskers get it done?
2. Is Tommy Armstrong Jr. the answer?
All in all, Armstrong performed pretty well last year for a redshirt freshman quarterback who was asked to take over for Taylor Martinez in midseason. But now he needs to be more than a solid replacement. He has to be the guy who leads the Nebraska offense, and in many ways, be the face of the team. It helps that he has outstanding veteran leadership like Abdullah and Bell to help him out. Still, he has to improve on last year's 51.9 completion percentage and stop the Huskers' maddening recent trend of losing the turnover battle in big games.
3. Is Pelini on solid footing?
And you thought No. 1 was a tired question. Pelini's job status nearly engulfed last season, and most people didn't think he'd be back for a seventh year in Lincoln. Yet the tone has changed around him since the dark days following the loss to UCLA last September. The win over Georgia in the Gator Bowl provided a nice boost to the offseason, and Pelini showed a lighter side by goofing around with Twitter parody alter ego Faux Pelini. There are good vibes around Pelini and the Husker camp now. Can that last through the fall?