No. 22 Oregon and Nebraska have both put together solid if unremarkable starts to the 2016 season. They play at Lincoln's Memorial Stadium on Saturday, and the winner should emerge solidly inside the AP Top 25. The loser, most likely, will not -- Oregon's just inside the line now, and Nebraska is among the "also receiving votes" crowd.
Neither team has played anyone of great consequence just yet, but both have scheduled respectable games. Nebraska has wins against Fresno State (on a really emotional night) and Wyoming, while Oregon has beaten UC Davis and Virginia. Neither the Ducks nor Huskers has yet to play a road game, though that's now changing for Oregon.
So far, neither team has had any trouble. Oregon's offense has scored 53 and 44 points, looking kind of like Oregon offenses of the recent past. Nebraska has avoided any real hiccups and, just maybe, has turned a corner in Mike Riley's second year. These are two teams that each could be pretty good or better, but it wouldn't hurt to see a little more evidence to that effect. Here's a chance to provide some.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC. The broadcasters are Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Brock Huard (analyst) and Allison Williams (sideline).
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Nebraska opened as a 3-point favorite.
Three big things to know
1. Watch Royce Freeman run. Oregon's running back has become the focal point of the Ducks' offense, and with good reason. He's really good. He torched Virginia for 207 rushing yards last week on just 21 carries, and he's scored four touchdowns on a 9.2-yard rushing average so far. Virginia and UC Davis are both bad, but that's still impressive, and he'll be a load for the Nebraska defensive front.
2. The continued development of Tommy Armstrong. Nebraska's senior quarterback has considerable talent, but he's still never put everything together in Lincoln. The first two games have brought some encouraging developments and some not. He'll make his 36th start on Saturday, and he'll do it having thrown just one interception on 44 attempts so far. After chucking 16 last year – one per every 25 attempts – the ball security is a big deal. His completion percentage is a career-best 56.8, but that's more an indictment of the past than anything. He could stand to do better.
3. Some series history: Oregon and Nebraska haven't played often, but they're not total strangers. Nebraska has a 5-1 all-time edge since the teams started playing in 1952. The programs haven't met since 1986, so the past is fairly meaningless. What's maybe a bit more impactful is that Riley used to coach at Oregon State, where he went 4-10 against the Ducks and lost his last seven Oregon games.